WHAT does Christmas mean to you? That’s the question the Wimmera Mail-Times posed to more than 70 residents of all ages across the past week.
And the answers we received are as diverse as our community itself.
For our youngest Wimmera residents, naturally, there’s a focus on Santa and presents and the summer break from school.
As those we interviewed got older, the focus turned to seeing the festive season through the eyes of children as well as the odd cheeky Christmas beverage or getting dressed up.
Of course, there was the ever-strong theme of the religious meaning of Christmas as many in our community celebrate the birth of Jesus.
But the strongest theme of all was that Christmas is a time for family and friends.
December often brings with it an extra level of stress – of battling big crowds while purchasing food and presents, of fitting in catch-ups with almost everyone you know and, for the lucky ones, of working feverishly to close the loop of the busy working year ahead of a Christmas break.
Paired with an often high level of food consumption, it’s no wonder those after-lunch Christmas naps are so popular – we’re pooped from all the preparation by the time the day finally arrives.
Unfortunately, Christmas is not a celebration for all members of our community. In fact, for some, it is the toughest time of the year. Spare a thought for those who are experiencing hardship during this period and, if you can, reach out and let them know you’re there.
It’s heartening to hear our community has banded together to help those most in need this festive season.
Wimmera charities say this year is one of the biggest they’ve seen in terms of donations – of food and cash contributions and particularly donations of presents for people of all ages. These organisations do a wonderful job to ensure as many people as possible are included and their role should never be underestimated.
On behalf of the team at the Mail-Times we wish you a merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.
Like many professions, the news – and our team – doesn’t stop across the Christmas and New Year period. We look forward to continuing our role as the voice of the Wimmera into 2018 and beyond.
Jessica Grimble, editor