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A Message from Max: Chill Out this Christmas!

December 17, 2012

img_0240 You’re at the cash register, arms full of Christmas gifts. You’re sweating from wearing a winter coat. The line-up is long. And you have a lot more to do before heading home.

You step out of the store to walk to your car when you’re almost hit by an impatient driver speeding through the parking lot.

Then when you finally get to your car you face a line of cars trying to get out of the parking lot.

Your patience is wearing thin.

“I just want to get home,” you mutter to yourself.

When you finally arrive home two hours later you discover you’re running late, but you have the inlaws arriving tomorrow for a few days. You haven’t started cleaning. You need to buy a turkey and a few more gifts. But you dread returning to the jam-packed stores.

Stop the madness! Screeeeeeeeeeeeech!!!

This is not what the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about – tearing around in a panic, multi-tasking to the point of breakdown, putting up with rude people – and then having an anticlimax on December 25.

As human beings, we need to figure out how to get off this shopping orgy of greed and want.

Earlier in December on CBC Radio’s Ottawa station, the morning hosts were broadcasting live from a double decker bus downtown. They had live musicians and welcomed listeners who stopped by with coffee. But the point of the event was to raise money for The Shepherds of Good Hope, whose mission involves helping those of all faiths who are in need.

It was powerful listening to the broadcast. By 8am they had collected $37,000. And when I tuned in to the late afternoon hosts, by 6pm they had raised over $80,000, the most CBC Radio Ottawa has raised in 20 years.

Instinctively I want to say that’s what Christmas is about. Okay, sure. However, at a much bigger level we should have the Christmas spirit 365 days a year. Don’t be like George Costanza of Seinfeld. Check out this short clip:

I’m not the first to say this, but a key measure of a society’s progressiveness and state of maturity is how it cares for those most in need. On that measure, Canada and the United States are failing miserably. And it’s getting worse.

So what do we do folks? Should we get off the commercialized Christmas treadmill and hop on the community-giving, family-oriented Christmas?

Max, our six year-old Lab, would approve. Max isn’t into shopping or any of that nonsense. He’s into family and giving his undivided attention to those who enter our home. Max gives unconditional love, never asking for anything, except maybe a pat or an ear scratch. And he certainly knows how to chill out and relax. Why can’t we humans learn from him and his canine buddies?

2012-12-09 19.18.04 Let’s all try to step back and reflect on where we’re at with Christmas. I know I’ve been trying. Now that our four adult “kids” are having their own children, Sue and I have entered a new phase of our lives. Number four grandchild is on the way, due to be delivered by Mrs. Stork next May. And for those of you interested in who are the little ones featured in this photo, meet my granddaughters Lily (10), Ashley (4) and Briar (10 months).

Sue, Max and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Be safe, have fun and cherish being around those you love.

I’ll see you in January with my Leadership 2012 review.


I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
Mother Teresa

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