Dear Santa: Christmas catalogues come in handy these days. They help us to describe clearly what we’d like you to bring us.

Dear Santa:

Christmas catalogues come in handy these days. They help us to describe clearly what we’d like you to bring us.

A fine plaque caught my eye in today’s arrival. “Children are such a great way to start people,” it read. I imagined it on my wall, but decided it’s better in my head — it’s priceless there, as priceless as children in a warm, loving home.

Our town is on the banks of a mighty fine river, a river that’s a beautiful green colour in summer, though it’s white now of course. One story tells us the town was only a tea stop for cheechakos heading downriver for gold. There were rapids upstream of town and it took some scary boat work to survive without losing yourself and your gear, so everyone stopped for tea to settle down once clear. Coffee breaks weren’t even in the cards then; tea was the gold-trail drink, but only when you stopped.

We, all of us — business, financial, political and social leaders along with the ubiquitous taxpayer — have just come through heavy rapids ourselves, only they’re economic, financial and political waters. Some were uncharted. Our leaders, too.

We’re at a tea stop, or a Christmas tree stop, right now with a lot more rough economic, financial and political rapids ahead — so we could use some guidance.

We were wondering if you have some kind of Economic/Financial/Word GPS system to help guide us, and our leaders, too, since they’re giving a great imitation of being as mixed up as a dog’s breakfast!

This GPS system I’m on about would need a ‘What we can do without’ lesson since the pundits keep reminding us a taste of the Dirty Thirties is in the offing.

A heavy dose of common sense might be advised, including a clawback from overpaid CEOs even as our government claws back old age pensions from Canadians who planned ahead.

Living wisdom would be needed too, something like this: “To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, to think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”

This is old hat to you, it’s from the 18th century. William Channing, clergyman, penned it to outline a program of happiness. It’s still being passed around so has, like you, stood the test of time.

Say, have you noticed when times get tough we tend to lean on hokey, perhaps because it’s practical and down-to-earth? Spending lavishly like drunken sailors is gone with the wind, we’re told, so maybe the Anonymous folk have got it right with this little ditty. It might fit in the GPS too.

Share a little, strive a little

Care a little, thrive a little

Spend a little, save a little

Brave a little, bend a little,

Don’t belittle, don’t be brittle,

Take a little, give a little.

Thanks, Santa! Enjoy all those Christmas trees and lights! Your carbon footprint will be the envy of all!

A tip of the hat to you and yours, far and wide though they may be. When you open the curtains on the new year may life’s candles burn brightly and fully all year long, and may the words of long ago Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, go with you along the trail of 2009: “Where you do not find love, put love — and then you will find love.” 

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