Every Christmas, I encourage people to open their hearts and wallets for those less fortunate.Letters to Santa Claus

According to a Facebook post, Oujé-Bougoumou Chief Curtis Bosum thinks much the same way.

“Some thoughts as we enter the holiday season,” Bosum wrote. “It is important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now.”

That’s one way to open our hearts. We think of this as the holiday season but others know it as the suicide season. Surrounded by the joy of others it can be hard on those who do not have anyone to share that joy with. Just as bad is when you cannot afford to have a joyous time.

Some books have come out recently that show this is not a new problem. For example, Dear Santa: Children’s Christmas Letters and Wish Lists, 1870-1920 (Chronicle Books; $14.95) has gift requests that were published in newspapers around the world.

The letters sadly state, “Mama says that Santa Claus does not come to poor people” and “I am afraid you may forget me, like last year.” Another book containing letters from the 1930s include confided secrets: “Mama cries at night when she thinks we are asleep, because she has no money.” That’s in Letters to Santa Claus (Indiana University Press; $16).

Let us all try to make this a thing of the past in our communities. Some of you may have been the recipients of food baskets, Christmas gifts and such in the past. You can understand this better than most. You may have one of the new jobs in mining or other businesses that have opened up lately. Or you may have never had a problem making ends meet.

I’m asking all of you to contribute to your local organizations, such as the Wreath of Hope in Mistissini. Money, food and gifts are given out to those who can use a helping hand. Any extra money is used throughout the year to ensure no one has to cry themselves to sleep because they have no money or hope. Let’s give the greatest gifts of all – hope, comfort and joy.

Merry Christmas to one and all from everyone here at the Nation.