HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge – Deck the halls – and anything else you can find

Deck the halls – and anything else you can find


By Charlie Hodge

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.

Christmas spirit has already joyful arrived, not only at the Hodge House, but apparently around our community.

Everywhere I look (driving about town, on the internet …) Christmas decorations flourish in great abundance and colour at a level more profuse and earlier than normal. Considering it’s still mid-November the outbreak of lights and tinsel is pleasantly surprising. In these dark and deadly days of Covid19 we need all the joy and positive energy one can muster.

Decking our halls early makes sense. Humans are remarkably adaptable and resilient so kick starting Christmas with decorations is an easy way of creating a sense of hope and joy during such negative times. For most of us that’s what Christmas represents – joy, hope, love, forgiveness, family.

Each of us have need for such emotional fulfillment, something to hold onto and inspire us to struggle forward through harsh, unpredictable, scary times. We already acknowledge that for some Christmas is a double-edge sword. The joy of the festive seasons is diminished by a sense of sorrow, loneliness and loss. Christmas can reflect the painful realities of  age and time, a reminder of lost joys and healthier, happier times. For some it is a reminder of former spouses, family members, friends or financial fortunes. The cold, stormy weather of winter does not aid the angst of loneliness or depression.

This year that sorrow will likely be compounded by Covid19 as it interrupts our interaction. Our ability to physically touch or hold others is damaging – hugs and kisses no longer possible. In addition travelling home or to relatives for Christmas dinner won’t happen. Neither will Christmas parties, gatherings with co-workers, community organized Christmas dinners for homeless, seniors, or those with nowhere to go.

Therefore such increased negative pressure stirs the need for greater effort to overcome our depression, to mentally push through with survival techniques, to find light in the dark. (I’m fortunate in having gained some skill in such positive energy mind games over the past few years.)

Happiness is not always easy – it often takes a lot of work. However it’s worth it.

Covid’s cold cloak kindles all the more reason for each of us to make that extra effort. It can start simply enough by decorating our homes which in itself inspires some joy. However why not add some more decor outdoors for others to enjoy?

Tez and I are determined to make the most of these difficult times and work around the barriers we face. Like many other Canadians we are doing a lot of our Christmas shopping online.. In addition we are already setting up a hobby craft area in the shed in hopes of making some fun Christmas ornaments as gifts to friends and family.

Some ideas you may wish to incorporate into your household to make the best of what is include: hooking up your computer to the TV screen then facebook chat, or Zoom family members and friends for Christmas dinner or day. (We are going to put the TV at the end of the dining room table and share dinner that way.

Add some fun by making decorations the old fashioned way: popcorn chains, colour paper ring chains, handcrafted snowmen or centre pieces, baked dough then hand-painted tree ornaments, homemade Christmas cards …

Why not actually send Christmas cards again? You probably have the time.

Perhaps dig out or buy some board games and have a Christmas games tournament.

Take a drive around town in the evening and enjoy all the lights. (Don’t forget hot chocolate in a thermos.)

I love Christmas and always have, though I admit to having struggled through a few very sad ones. Long ago I learned life is largely what we make it, how we deal with what we are given or served, how we respond to the challenges we are presented. I am a firm believer that life is all about choice.

This Christmas I choose to be thankful for still being alive and able to function, diminished as that may be.

I choose to make it the best Christmas I can and to help as many others as possible have a joyful holiday season as well. I may not have a choice in the cards that are dealt me, but I do have a choice in how I play them.

I choose faith, hope, charity and most of all – love.

After all, that really is what Christmas is all about.

So go ahead deck the halls … and the walls, tree, hearth, stair railings, windows …

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


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