Stop to remember the excitement of Christmas

To a four-year-old, it wasn’t a borrowed bank building at all. It must have looked a lot like Santa’s Workshop.

Our Christmas Bureau operation has been in the rented bank building for over a month already this year. Thanks to the good folks at Coast Capital Savings, we once again have a warm and dry facility to operate from. We have been registering clients, matching up sponsors, bringing in toys and donations and merrily going about the rewarding  task of extending a hand to those in need.

A lady and two little girls blew in out of the wind and rain, and as Mom pushed the stroller over to the registration desk, her four-year-old daughter stood with her hands in her coat pocket and took it all in. She walked over to where we have a model Christmas train set up and I switched it on, pointing out the presents in one of the cars and the elf on the caboose.

She watched for a minute then smiled at me and said, “Well mister, you sure have a beautiful place here.”

I took a look around and realized she was right. There were sparkling snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, a lighted Christmas tree, stuffed toys of all shapes and sizes, huge candy canes and garlands and some charming ladies with friendly smiles. To a four-year-old, it wasn’t a borrowed bank building at all. It must have looked a lot like Santa’s Workshop.

Maybe that’s the secret to managing these busy weeks we have ahead of us — we have to look at the whole season from the eyes of a four-year-old. Instead of stressing about shopping and spending and what to wear and who to please, all we have to do is stop once in awhile amid the lights and music, look up at the stars  and say, “Hey mister, you sure have a beautiful place here.”  The secret is you have to stop.

A few nights later, I was in Fort Langley for Santa’s arrival in the village. Over 200 people gathered at the dock and awaited his arrival by lighted war canoe. Most of the crowd were excited children and one little boy clutched an envelope with “To Santa” printed on the front. I asked if he had written the letter himself, and with a big toothless grin he replied, “I am giving it to Thanta as thoon as I thee him.” He was bouncing with excitement.

We cheered Santa’s arrival and followed him up the street as he shouted out Ho, Ho, Ho, and lit the big tree by the train station, and then the one in front of the community hall. The kids cheered at each magical wave of his arm and then lined up to talk to him.

We all know there is much more significance to the Christmas season than Santa Claus, but you must remember that excitement when you were kids and Santa came to the school concert or the mall.

Why don’t you write him a letter again this year? Sit down with a pen and paper and tell him what you want for this Christmas in your family. Address the envelope to Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO, and put it in the mail. Look at the season from a child’s eyes again. You will be surprised how good you feel.

Then come to the Christmas parades in Aldergrove on Dec. 10 and Langley City this weekend and see what a beautiful place we have here. At least that’s what McGregor says.