Christmas wishes ain’t what they used to be

"Of course as I grew older I realized there were all kinds of Christmas wishes, some tougher to fill than others."

There was a time when my  Christmas wishes were pretty simple. As a member of a big family on one income, you knew you couldn’t ask for a lot so you made sure you had one or two surefire requests that you hoped Santa could fulfill.

My list was pretty short actually. The latest Johnny West or G.I. Joe action figure led the way for a couple of years. A new farm set was always on the list so I could mimic my dad at work. And you couldn’t go wrong with buying me anything that had Boston Bruins colours or logo.

Of course as I grew older I realized there were all kinds of Christmas wishes, some tougher to fill than others. Tough ones were items like better health or a job during tough times. On the other hand some wishes were well within reach like simply putting a smile on my young daughter’s face or spending time with family and friends.

So with that in mind I realized when I set out to write a column on this year’s Christmas wishes that some would be much easier to grant than others but it can’t hurt to ask.

So here it goes:

I wish the constant head-butting between our communities would end. We roll our eyes at the partisan politics we see south of the border but too often in our little neck of the woods with several councils, several directors and several agendas, there never seems to be any harmony. If it’s not the airport, it’s recreation or it’s sewers or it’s schools or it’s grant money. You have to wonder if anyone ever sat down and asked, “What do you want out of this?” Perhaps trying to understand the other side of an issue would be the first step in solving an issue.

I wish someone could fix the crossing lights on Victoria St. downtown. I know I’m not the only one that has stood there through a few light cycles wondering why the walk sign hasn’t appeared. Then when it finally does, you have approximately 2.5 seconds to cross the street before the warning hand starts flashing. With the age demographic of Trail the odds of crossing Victoria St. in that short of a span are slim and none.

I wish more fans would attend the Trail Smoke Eaters games. The last few I’ve been to have been nothing short of exciting. The action is often end-to-end, the games are fairly even and the Smokies always seem to have a shot at winning it or blowing it, which keeps fans on the edge of their seats for better or worse.

I wish the next generation of volunteers would emerge in our community. We all see the same faces at every event. The smiles are still there, the enthusiasm is still there but the stamina is starting to wane. It’s not because their desire to volunteer is over, it’s just sometimes the legs can’t keep up to the heart. That’s why it’s always encouraging to see young people pitching in, whether it’s cleaning up the river bank, setting up Christmas decorations downtown or helping collect donations for the food banks.

I wish people who walk their dogs over the bridge or anywhere for that matter, have the decency to clean up after your pet. How hard can it be to push a little poop off the bridge and into the water. You should be the one getting a little dog poop on your shoes rather than everyone walking by.

I wish Red Mountain Resort continues its upswing. The early season snow has helped start the year off on a positive note. Hill expansion is underway and big plans are ahead. I don’t know if many people in the area realize what an attraction we have on our doorstep. In one day up there you can meet people from all over the world who specifically came to ski at Red Mountain. It really is a diamond in the rough.

I wish people would realize the value of shopping local. Not only does it help our communities thrive, it also creates jobs for our citizens, brings life to our downtowns and creates a sense of community support, which in turn supports so many community endeavours. The money you spend locally is part of the lifeblood that keeps our towns alive. So many businesses constantly contribute to making our towns a better place to live that the least we can do is return the favour.

Now on a grandeur scale:

I wish, and this is probably the toughest to fill, that the commercialization of Christmas would end. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the pushing, the shoving, the greed has hijacked what the season is all about. I don’t know when the shift occurred or how it can be rectified but we can all wish. Can’t we?

I must admit I have one wish granted everyday. That’s the continued support and encouragement I hear from readers and people on the street.  Times are tougher on newspapers in this day and age but supporting a local business never goes out of style. And for that I thank you.

We can all wish for peace on earth, an end to global warming and happiness for all.

But in the end, we can only control our own destiny so perhaps the only way to grant any of our wishes is to start with ourselves.

By making our own world a little brighter and happier, it begins to rub off on the people close to us and the ripple effect begins.

That’s how wishes come true.

Merry Christmas