Five sleeps until Christmas. The rush is almost over and this time next week, we’ll be pushing our way through the Boxing Day sales.
I can only imagine the last-minute letters Santa is receiving.
Wouldn’t it be something to peek at Santa’s naughty and nice list right now? We can guess who would be in the various columns.
First the naughty — and there are no shortage of candidates from the federal and provincial scenes.
Let’s see. There’s a name I recognize. Stephen Harper. Surprise! Well, not really. Even Santa would have to take issue with a political leader who refuses to take responsibility for a scandal in his own office. Refusing to own up to a political coverup is just plain, well, naughty.
Naturally, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and other senators who have been accused of breaking spending rules are on the same list, but for different reasons. Coal in all their stockings.
Look, there’s Rob Ford’s name. He is taking lessons from Stephen Harper on responsibility. Santa can’t be pleased with the black mark on the city of Toronto.
There are some names on the naughty list that I don’t recognize, but I do understand the notations next to them. Bureaucrats and military leaders responsible for failing to push their political bosses on things like help for our war veterans. One suicide was one too many.
There are the names of those people who make decisions on programs such as employment insurance and pensions without taking into account “who does this hurt?” instead of only the bottom line.
I don’t see Kathy Dunderdale’s name on the naughty list, which I am sure will come as welcome news to her. Santa appears satisfied that she is at least trying to improve things.
Even if Muskrat Falls is a bust, she did help convince the feds to save us a billion dollars. We’d be on the hook for that if the loan guarantee was not in place.
The premier also managed to reach a deal with the public service unions, avoiding what would have been a lot of disruption in services and people’s lives. No naughty Kathy this year.
The biker gangs and those involved in organized crime are on the naughty list. A year of violent acts in our community has prompted Santa to say enough is enough. The only thing they are getting for Christmas is a watchful eye.
Which leads me to the nice list.
There’s RNC Chief Bob Johnston. Santa’s notes read that the chief and his officers, along with the RCMP, have decreed the streets of this province will be safe and are hunting down crooks with renewed vigilance.
There are a bunch of names on the nice list for good deeds, like the volunteers of the Gathering Place and similar groups that will go out of their way in the coming days to provide help for those who can use a hand up.
There are those who made donations for victims of natural disasters in the Philippines and other places. Santa is always warmed by such gestures.
I see the names of people who have reported impaired drivers, and others who have tried to stop animal abuse.
Santa also has a special place for all those who work over Christmas. I see the names of doctors and nurses, emergency responders and store clerks, pharmacists and municipal crews. Even a scattered journalist makes the list.
But the nice list is especially long because of the children. Santa believes children make the world a better place, bringing their curiosity and true love of life to everything they do. If only every day could deliver the smiles our children gift us with on Christmas morning, what a different place this would be.
If only we could convince the naughty that nice is nicer. We should never stop trying.
Over the next few days, take some time to relax and enjoy life. Say hi to a stranger, call someone who might be lonely and hug those you love.
And may this Christmas be all the good things you dreamed it would be. Merry Christmas.
Gerry Phelan is a journalist and former
broadcaster. He can be reached