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Don't let the Grinch steal Christmas

Don't let the Grinch steal Christmas

Christmas is on the horizon once again, making us all wonder where on earth the last year went.

It’s a time when we gather together with friends and family.

There are work functions, parades and all manner of fetes, fairs and celebrations.

It is, by all accounts, a time of joy and gratitude.

It’s also a time that can be emotionally charged, lonely and financially difficult.

This is nothing new.

Family feuds can float to the surface like bubbles in a festive champagne glass, loneliness is magnified, and finances can be stretched to breaking.

For farming families, the work doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas day, and all the complications of succession planning can surface when families gather around the dinner table.

That, on top of one of the most challenging years farming has faced in decades, means tensions could be running high.

All of this can become incredibly stressful, but only if we lose sight of what this day is supposed to be about.

There are universal Christmas values that go beyond the religious and the material.

Inclusivity, kindness, connection, gratitude and sharing.

We need to distil Christmas down to what matters, and once we do that, much of the stress dissipates.

We can leave the family disputes at the back door with the red bands for one day.

We can gather those who, for whatever reason, are alone at Christmas and welcome them to our table.

We can explain to our children that the gifts might be lighter this year, but there will be pancakes for breakfast and laughter and games all day long.

We can take a moment to remember those we have lost, those who should be with us but aren’t.

We can remind ourselves that it’s okay to feel sad and that Christmas can be tricky like that, but we will get through and try to savour what we have in this moment.

And we can be proud.

The milk children leave out for Santa came from a New Zealand farmer.

As New Zealanders sit down for Christmas dinner this year, they share food that New Zealand farmers have produced.

From all of us at the Rural Guardian, we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

Thank you for all your support.

“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.

Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

-Dr Suess, How the Grinch stole Christmas

By Claire Inkson