2020 Christmas President’s Message

By Leslie DeGagne, TGCA President

I watch Home Alone and Home Alone 2 faithfully every Christmas season. I also watch The Charlie Brown Christmas and many other offerings that bring the meaning of Christmas to light.  

The Home Alone movies are interesting as they are filled with the chaos many of us face as the season approaches. The bright lights, the constant upbeat music and the overproduced tinsel and material expectations that are on display every time we turn on the television. What draws me to the movies is not the chaos and violence that is used to create comedy, it is the times in the movie where it gets quiet. The first movie has a scene where Kevin goes to the church and hears the choir sing. He encounters his scary neighbor there and has a conversation. I see the message of Christmas here, and if I don’t see the rest of the movie, I am not unhappy.  

In the second Home Alone movie the quiet piece happens when Kevin has a conversation with the bird lady in New York’s Central Park. Again, the movie quietens, and the message is sent. A movie made for children will reach the child inside us all, if we allow it. Christmas is the one time of year where emotion overrides logic and faith in the unknown brings joy.  

Many people see their problems become magnified at this time of year; the lights, the constant music and the hustle and bustle of the season overwhelm them. The message of faith, hope and charity are lost amidst the chaos and a hopeless feeling overcomes them. The message of family and love should sound loud and clear during the season, but it takes the ability to shut out the noise and let those positive feelings shine through. 

This year feels like a real-life Home Alone. We all are being forced to be creative in the ways we celebrate the season. Staying at home and reaching out virtually to loved ones seems like a major hardship and very unnatural as human connections are so important, especially at this time of the year. The ability to bring out the fun during these times is important. Like Kevin in Home Alone, you are only alone if you choose to be. We all have the ability to be creative about staying in touch and creating fun in dark times. Our society is actually very lucky to have the technology that allows connections, and we need to ensure that the Christmas spirit is not lost even though the cold nights are lasting longer and the curtain of winter is descending. 

When I see the lights, hear the songs and feel the warmth that sounds of children’s laughter brings, my heart seems to grow and I feel joy. I am an optimist. I like to look for a half-full glass and see good in the world. A realist would use logic and make the world into a pragmatic cold place. I on the other hand, and many like me, believe in the power of good and that people will choose kindness and fraternity and the world will become a kinder gentler place where people spread the joy of Christmas all year long.  

The message of Home Alone is just that. A kind deed will pay back a hundred-fold. We can make a difference if we choose to. Inclusion, charity and family are the reality of Christmas. Let the lights light up your spirit, let the carols fill your heart and let the smiles bring joy not just to you but to those you encounter. The child inside of each of us will defeat the darkness that lurks if we just believe. 

TGCA created an Adopt-a-Family program this year to help people in need have a family Christmas. Thank you to all who opened your hearts and contributed. This act of kindness is what the Christmas season is about. Your combined efforts brought hope and joy to fellow community members.  

2020 has been a stressful year for everyone. TGCA has been beset with AHS protocols and procedures that have limited our ability to operate at 100%. The light up of our facility was one way in which we brought the Christmas season to light and the Adopt-a-Family was the other. As we had to cancel our TGWL Christmas craft fair and the children’s party, we felt it important to find a way to give Christmas to the members and residents to let the light of Christmas shine through. It is nice that we have found a way to bring joy to our members during the holiday season. My thanks to all those who worked at making these projects succeed. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish each family a blessed Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year. The Directors are talking and planning for a celebration of community when we are able to fully open. May 2021 be a year of hope and let’s continue to work hard at making community a priority. 

TGCA Programming & Community Engagement Coordinator

Programming and Community Engagement Coordinator at the TGCA, v.gillard@tgcacalgary.com

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