Claire Martin

Walk Amongst The Stars – by Claire

Image: CBC Television


It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Right? Where you simply want to share some time with your loved ones?

No gifts. Just time. Precious hours just enjoying the company of others.


For many of us, it wasn’t always so simple.

It was all about presents. Me included..

Let’s go back to that time, when I, as a child, wrote list after list. I honed the list-writing skill; in fact I owned the list-writing skill. There was not enough paper in my house to contain the list of my “wants”!

Easy-bake oven


Dress and matching shoes




The list could go on and on..

Just 10 years ago, I was still excruciatingly explicit:

Nivea extended moisture body lotion, dry to very dry skin, 500 ml.

Fruit of the Loom, women’s basic white shirt (vee neck) XS-S, pack of two.



Looking back, it was kinda sad and rather rude – not to mention ultimately, utterly disappointing. You see – if I got exactly what I asked for, well, there’s no surprise and if I didn’t get what I was after, I would wonder why the hell I wrote the list in the first place?!

I wholeheartedly and unabashedly apologize to the recipients of those lists. You were all in a no-win situation, trying to appease someone who didn’t get the “gift giving” rule.

Here’s the rule (which, for the record, I now get!):

The gift-giving rule is: a gift is from the heart. A gift, once given, means as much to the recipient as it does to the giver. That gift is more about an expression of love than it is the material thing being handed over.

Gord Downie knows more about this sentiment right now than most.

Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip and an advocate for First Nations people, was honoured at the Assembly of First Nations gathering Tuesday for his work highlighting the victims of residential schools.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde presented Downie with an eagle feather — a gift from the creator above — and he was given an Indigenous spirit name, which can be roughly translated as “Man who walks amongst the stars”

Downie wept through part of the ceremony as he received the eagle feather compliments of The Creator, and so did I.  It just goes to show how small a token of love can mean so much.

This is the time of year when we all focus on gift-giving. My wish-list this year is simple:

Let’s, in honour of great people like Gord and SOTW’s John Mann (and so many others) having an almost unimaginably tough year, make sure that this Christmas we give from the heart.


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  • Reply Jane December 7, 2016 at 10:13 am

    You “get it”, Claire! By paying attention 364 days a year, gift giving becomes less onerous. Picking up on comments and actions of the recipient when we are with them provides ample ideas for the “perfect gift”. And listening to others is a treasure beyond compare!

    As I grow older, I know the importance of saying “I love you” and spending as much time connected with those I love, no matter how far away they are.

    If only I had learned that lesson decades ago…

    But it has all been part of the learning process so no regrets. Moving forward is always better than trying to go back.

    Bless you, Claire, as we all know that you have had an “interesting and challenging” year, too.

    • Reply Claire December 8, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Jane. Lovely note and a powerful sentiment. And yes, funnily enough, after having such a rotten year, I’m so grateful for the chance to spend quality time with friends and family.. it’s true “the simple things of life are the real ones after all”.

  • Reply Jo-Ann Roberts December 7, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Dear Claire, Sending you the gift of love and friendship. Looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.
    Love, Jo
    PS I was also a list maker.

    • Reply Claire December 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Hi Jo-Ann.. I knew there was yet another reason that tied us together! Have a great Christmas my friend, love to the family.. here’s to 2017.

  • Reply Wendy Beckett December 7, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Well said Claire but we were all guilty of the sin of wanting everything and were we not encouraged in this?. Christmas as a grown up is nicer in many ways…….we do think of others much more than we used to and still agonize over the “right gift ” sometimes. Christmas should be a simple time of love between family members and close friends…..a good meal shared with people we love.

  • Reply Claire December 8, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Wendy – you’re so right. And yes, absolutely, Christmas as a grown-up can be far more magical! Thanks for the comment.

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