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Take time to embrace this holiday season

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The countdown to Christmas is on at my place! 

While my children are singing carols and fully engaged in our holiday traditions, I am beginning to feel slightly panicky about the amount of preparation I still have to do to ensure my children have the kind of holidays I enjoyed as a child. My four-year-old recently asked why we didn’t have any outdoor lights, like some of the other homes on our street.  Yes, as I write this I still haven’t hung the lights. Did my parents feel so much pressure to deliver on all fronts? Isn’t it easy to get swept up in the perfection of it all?

To gain some perspective, I simply had a conversation with St. James-Assiniboia School Division trustee Jennifer Lawson about her teenage sons’ fundraising endeavour. Devon and Jeremy Liscum are planning a mission to two extremely poor communities in Mexico this January.

The two teens began fundraising for these communities seven years ago and have travelled with their parents to volunteer and deliver their donations yearly since they were in elementary school. This year there are four students and six teachers from the St. James school division joining them on their trip. They are going to provide school supplies, educational equipment, give workshops to teachers and help build a new community library.

Community involvement in the project has been strong, with other schools in the division and the public participating. To learn about the work they are hoping to accomplish or to make a donation, please visit their website at www.ourmissiontomexico.com  

If you are like me and feel a bit harried at the pace of the season, you might enjoy the St. James Civic Centre’s free family fun night, their Winter Holiday Celebration, on Dec. 21. It is a welcome opportunity to slow down and enjoy some family time spent simply. There will be swimming, public skating and crafts, games and activities in the auditorium, along with a festive sing-a-long (that my kids will compel me to join!).  

Please call my office at 204-415-0883 for details, including times of specific activities. It should prove to be the perfect way to disengage from the to-do list and to allow ourselves to remember what is important about the holidays: time spent with those we love, connecting with the community and appreciating how fortunate we are in so many ways.  

I look forward to hearing about the St. James students’ experience in Mexico, and also to attending the St. James Civic Centre’s holiday celebration with my family — I hope you are able to do the same! Right now though, I’d better go get the ladder and unpack those outdoor lights.

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