Don't tell me there isn't a Santa Claus...


Yes, I am well aware that our current and most popular iteration of Santa Claus is the result of the Coca Cola Company wanting to sell more sweet, syrupy, fizzy water. And for almost a century this beloved icon has been perfected for fundamentally no other reason than the top line on the ledger — although you have to admit he’s jolly, friendly and conjures up the desire to share your Christmas list.

Although it’s obvious why any capitalist would like Santa, even for those who aren’t in the business of making money find the fella will inherently bring a smile to your face (it’s just his way). I suppose the staunchest of detractors may suggest that he’s nothing but a pagan god to capitalist, consumerism, and the pursuit of money; all hidden behind a gossamer of lies — I mean there may be a case for this, but it won’t come from me.

Just recently I’ve seen someone help a struggling neighbour put up her Christmas lights, had a request for used clothing as part of an annual event, seen small gifts given for no particular reason, added to the Salvation Army collection pot already full of donations, enthusiastically received hugs and well wishes for the season, seen more smiles than usual, and because of it, smiled more than usual — all gifts unto themselves. All something Santa Claus would give, albeit sometimes humble.

Sure we should be doing this all year round but we don’t (I guess maybe it’s because Santa is busy, building toys). Call me naive but there is enough proof that he is very real, although I will admit that it would be nice if he got much more efficient at toy making so we could see him more than one day a year. And as the big day fades and the man in red is gone for another year, we look to 2019.

So here’s to —

  • Good health

  • Making the most of the promotion you worked so hard for

  • Listening to the good news a little more than the bad

  • Hugs and connection

  • Learning a little more than you did in 2018

  • Courage

  • Traveling to that place you keep saying you want to go

  • Compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness

  • Taking on the challenge

  • Living life because it’s the only one we have

All very “Santaesque endeavours” if you ask me. But what do I know, I just believe.

iamgpe (Santa wannabe)

The best gift I've ever received...

In the convoluted filing system that is my computer I have a file that is simply labelled “sayings” — it is the home of a collection of quotes and sayings. They were curated over almost a year; a dear friend would send them to me and I faithfully saved them. The topics range the motivational and inspirational spectrum: travel, inspiration, life, love, friendship, success, work, adversity, pithy quotes, and pithy insight. The file encompasses the human condition. Over the years I have used these quotes for inspiration, source material, motivation, and fond memories; sometimes I share them and sometimes I keep them for myself.


It’s a very dull day today, and although nothing is going wrong, nothing is really going right either so I found myself scouring my favourite file — as always it invoked grand memories of a deep friendship, and still inspires me to something bigger than myself. It has never failed me.

I settled on this quote today for no particular reason other than it felt right —

The greatest battle is not physical but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet the steady dignity that refuses to give in. Courage. We all suffer. Keep going. — Graeme Fife

As I ponder this I find myself focusing in on the words, “… answered by the quiet the steady dignity that refuses to give in”. A reminder of a strong character trait to be sure, but also a reminder of a cherished friendship that even after all of these years still encourages me be a better man. Innes was always good that way.

I have always cherished my friendships but at this time of the year I honour these gifts even more — some of my friends are no longer with us; some, because of time and distance, have become buried with my past; some are a phone call away — all have shaped who I have become, and I believe they have done a very good job.

A sincere thank you.


Moments — a most human endeavour...

As good friends are apt to do I enjoyed a good meal and honest conversation the other night; when we weren’t serious we were laughing out loud. And being the generous type, we are also apt to invite others into the conversation,


We are familiar enough with the people who have to endure our questions, our dietary considerations, and the lapses in memory when it comes to our usual wine that the connection has moved beyond the pleasantries of simply ordering a meal.

“How is your back doing?”

“How are the wedding plans coming along?”

As always the wine was perfect (whatever it’s called), the chef was spot on, and because it was a little quiet there was ample time for conversation that went beyond the table.

“I have learned that chemistry in a relationship is everything…”

“Don’t you think it would be fun to surprise my boyfriend with a Nerf Gun fight?”

“Yes, I work all day, and then come here and work until eleven…”

“I was married thirteen years…”

“Send each other love letters…”

“No… I really appreciate your insight…”

The conversation ebbed and flowed; broke off and then came back together. Generations and gender engaging, sharing, and connecting — perspectives to savour and connections that left me smiling as I said goodbye and headed into the night.

I wonder if I will get invited to the wedding?