A few years ago I asked a buddy what he was getting his wife for Christmas and he quickly remarked, "Nothing."
Wow. This guy was generous and not exactly short on dough so his reply kind of left me wondering what was up.
"Don't you celebrate Christmas?" I asked.
"Sure, we do. We'll blow our brains out on the kids. It gets stupid. But my wife and I decided a few years ago that we had everything we needed so instead of dropping God knows how much on stuff we don't need, we give a little to charity," said Scrooge turned True Meaning of Christmas Guy.
At the time, I thought good for him but never really gave it much thought. Christmas for me was about spending a little money on friends and family and a bunch of great parties. Pass the rum and eggnog and excuse me, but there's a blonde getting close to the mistletoe.
This year, however, I find myself thinking about things in a different way. My family was blessed with the addition of our little girl Lauren and while all that comes out of her mouth is some goo-goo ga-ga, she's had a profound effect on how I look at some things.
I know, everybody says stuff like this after a major life moment.
Heart attack or cancer scare? "I'm gonna live every day like it's my last," goes the usual refrain.
First baby? A new outlook on life and love.
Hey, if you want to be cynical, I hear you. Jaded is the middle name of most reporters, and lots of athletes will tell you sports writers get their jollies being negative.
But this is my column and I'm feeling this Christmas Spirit right now.
Big Luke Fritz and his drive to raise money for babies that aren't being fed drove it home for me.
Fritz was telling me about his goal to win a contest with other CFL players and then give the $50,000 prize to Winnipeg Harvest's Hunger for Hope, which is a program dedicated to ending child hunger in Manitoba.
I went home that night and looked at my baby. She was laughing and fed and clothed and warm. Maybe I got a little misty, maybe I didn't. Only the dog knows for sure, and she's not ratting on the guy who feeds her at six in the morning.
Manitobans and Blue Bomber fans put Fritz over the top and he won his contest and passed the cheque over to Hunger for Hope. I saw him at the Grey Cup and he was glowing. Fritz had that look of a man who had discovered the secret of life. For him it was giving and helping those who can't do for themselves.
So, I'm not just gonna blithely say pass the mulled wine this year and worry about myself. Hey, I got that little girl. I got it all.
I'm asking for lots this year but not for me. Find a little room in your heart and give to the Spirit of Christmas Fund and make someone else's holiday.
Believe me, if you can have a fraction of the joy Fritz is feeling these days, you'll have a helluva Christmas.
Please send your donations to The Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
They have the spirit:
In Memory of Clifford
& Lois Burgess $50.00
In Memory of Olive Barnard & $50.00
Margaret Belanger $35.00
Doreen C. Kerr $100.00
In Memory of R.C. Caswill $50.00
W. Halpenny $40.00
Joyce Frandsen $20.00
Elizabeth L. Lodewyks $50.00
S.I. of Winnipeg $48.00
In Memory of Bert
& Eloise Patterson $25.00
In Memory of Jim Register & $100.00
Vincent Petrachek $50.00
Margaret Goodman $100.00
Arabian Horse Guard $200.00
Golf Association $300.00
Beryl Sawkins $25.00
E. Barlow $50.00
Anna Kidd $25.00
Gladys Anderson $100.00
L.S. & Helen Hamende $25.00
Golf Manitoba Inc. $100.00
K.D. Powers/G.R. Arbez $300.00
Niki Partridge $50.00
In Memory of Jack
& Janet Livingstone $100.00
Evelyn Kantor $100.00
Gladys & George Delkers $400.00
Victor & Wilma Funk $50.00
Ladies Rossmere 60 Plus
Handicraft Group $50.00
Keith G. McNamee $50.00
Hailey & Lori $50.00
John & Barbara Dempster $100.00
In Memory of Blake Batchelor $100.00
Tom Heisinger $200.00
Wayne & Helen LeBlanc $75.00
In Memory of Stu & Jim Busch $100.00
Tom & Marianne McClusky $50.00
Gary & Marge Campbell $100.00
In Memory of Suse
& Tim Griffiths $40.00
Treffle Bruneau $50.00
William Gillespie $30.00
Nick Belinsky $500.00
In Memory of Ivy Land $20.00
In Memory of Doris Chapman $20.00
Earle & Catharine Ferguson $50.00
In Memory of Gordon
& Kay Nordgren $300.00
In Memory of Orville & Flo McLennan
In Memory of Allan & Bea McLennan
In Memory of
Hilda Louise Towers $50.00
In Memory of Robert Wieler $150.00
In Memory of Fred Anderson $100.00
Geraldine & Gordon Moodie $100.00
In Memory of Herman
& Lorene Magnus $100.00
Carol J. Cox $100.00
June & Gordon Saunders $100.00
Colin McEachern $100.00
The Campbell Family $100.00
J. Thunder $100.00
Chris Finnbogason $100.00
Michael B. O'Hara $150.00
Dave & Beverley Swan $50.00
Paul Platz in Memory of Dorothy $100.00
In Memory of Nick, Alex & Mary $50.00
Mary E. Shabbits $20.00
Inis Sawjak $50.00
In Memory of Peggy Hiebert $150.00
Hopkinson Agencies ltd. $50.00
Robert W. Harder $300.00
D. Carruthers $100.00
In Memory of Grant Anderson $25.00
Marilyn & Bob Forcand $100.00
Thelma J. Paterson $50.00
In Memory of
Leif Thomas McLure $100.00
In Memory of Wayne Hallonquist $50.00
Anonymous (five donations) $1,925.00
Previous Total $4,415.00
Today's Total $8,798.00
Grand Total $13,213.00