Thompson has a reputation for being a violent crime hotspot and the Hub of the North for nefarious activities as well as grocery and Christmas shopping, but that reputation, earned though it may be, does not tell the whole tale of the city.
It is also the home of the people who organize and contribute to the annual community Christmas dinner, which provides an opportunity for those with nowhere else to go, as well as those who just enjoy the company of their fellow citizens, to gather together on a day that can be lonely for some, whose family and friends have passed on or are far way, or who don’t even have a kitchen to cook a turkey in, let alone money to afford the bird and all the trimmings. And while this is a high-profile event at a time of year when a lot of people feel a little more generous than usual, the spirit that compels people to volunteer is certainly not limited to the month of December.
For many of us, our Christmas traditions are insular and inward-looking, based around being at home with family and friends, not out in the world interacting with strangers. And there isn’t anything wrong with that. Those sort of activities can rekindle good memories of Christmases past, and of time spent with loved ones who are no longer among us, or even just the joy of seeing children excitedly unwrap their gifts. However you want to celebrate Christmas, if you do celebrate it, is up to you. But, regardless of whether we ourselves need or will ever attend an event like the community Christmas dinner, we should all be thankful that there are people in our community who are willing to give up all or some of their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to make the holiday season brighter for people with nowhere else to go. These volunteers are the type of people who truly appreciate, and live out, the sentiment that it is better to give than to receive and that, in the end, it’s really the thought that counts.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s to everyone in Thompson and Northern Manitoba.
Editor’s Note: The next print edition of the Thompson Citizen will be combined with the Nickel Belt News and distributed on Jan. 3. The last paper before Christmas is the Dec. 20 Nickel Belt News on Friday.