T’was the morning after and all through the night, all creatures were stirring, dancing to fiddle music and laughing with delight. The party had ended and the old folks went home, content with the thought of knowing, that, yes, they can stay out all night, too. The sound of the last ski-doo, revving away, making me wonder, if I can play, a little longer. The Emcee’s last wish, at the community hall, was to tell everyone to return, to cajole, all. T’was the first night of festivities, with twelve more to go, until good ol’ St. Nick, had enough of it all. Yes, it’s Christmas Holidays in Eeyou Istchee, when dancers and prancers dance away all, (night long). The sound of a scratchy fiddle, and the call of the lead man, dip to dee and do the dip, swing your partners round and round, clap your hands to the beat.

This scene has been re-enacted since the fiddle was introduced to the Cree of James Bay, of course, not as a whimsical poem plagiarized, reworded and ineptly projected into your imagination. But, we Cree love to dance, play and party when we have enough spare time from the drudgery of the office or home. Usually, this happens during Christmas to New Year’s morning and then a few days off, exhausted and tied, to face the office and work day.

But for some, Christmas seasons are less than joyous. Some must face the uncertainty of whether or not their parents will return from their festivities in time to tuck them into bed. Some face strangers (who are well meaning and kind) who whisk them away in the Social Services vehicle to another stranger’s home, who then welcome them with a warm bed to sleep in and warm food to eat. Yes, although Christmas is the season to be joyous, like all other things in the world, there is a dark side. Often you hear of leaders and others who embark on missions to save the children, but when it comes to actually offering their own homes as havens for those very children they cry and deplore about, they are not available to help in terms of real love and caring.

It is a season of paradoxes, where everyone is in favour of the fun side, and I too, enjoy the fun side and wish that others would do the same, instead of leaving the little ones with only memories and visions of toys and gifts, stockings and family. It is the grimy side of Christmas that really shows who can practice what they preach, the good will and tidings for all mankind. It is the side that no one really wants to talk about, why our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, care so little for the season that they carelessly indulge in with abandon.

Christmas isn’t all about shopping and giving, or waiting and receiving the ultimate toy, gadget, vehicle, sled, etc… it is about love and caring. It has to be above the rhetorical ramblings of a well-meaning man, it has to be above the price tag on sale night, it has to be about walking the talk. Unlike Scrooge, who learned his lessons from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, we as a nation of people still have to learn those hard lessons of life; that too much fun and too much of a good thing can actually be bad for you.

So, drink with moderation, come home to your children who are anxiously waiting for Santa (and even more so, their mother, father, guardian and others) to be there for them on that special day that comes only once a year.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, and to all, a good night.