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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Tis the season of cash registers

BY Sonny Orr Dec 16, 2023

The sound of Christmas and holidays is everywhere, making me wish for things I can’t afford and for time off from the daily workload. But the bells keep chiming (or tolling) to lift my spirits higher than usual. I suspect it’s subliminal uplifting music drifting in and out of my subconsciousness that is driving me to work harder. 

Okay Santa, you’re the world’s biggest inciter for making the average Joe beg for more work to pay off that battery-run toy for the only child or a huge Lego set you can divide up amongst all the grandchildren. Oh, the logistics of trying to make a seasonal holiday a real holiday.

Take for instance, the little-known self-guided flying drone, the toy that no one owned or could call a toy a year ago and that you needed a special operator’s permit just to use. A year later that unobtainable drone toy can now fit into a Christmas stocking. It can be used to video you in a selfie while jumping off cliffs, skydiving or better yet, used as a hunting aid to track that giant bull moose you’ve been trying to bag for the last several years. 

Today, the drone is everywhere and will soon become an everyday sighting. It’s the latest fad for the millions of kids who still believe in Santa and who are smart enough to know that persistent pressure on the wage earners in the family will get them a drone sooner than later.

Then there’s the stuck-to-the-screen kids, whose world is no longer real unless endorsed by some other kid with 10 million views on TikTok doing a five-second imitation of Lady Gaga. The final game avatar that everyone wants to be now flashes over the screen with a message demanding that a copy of that game be in the email inbox at midnight, Christmas Eve. 

Of course, the response is that the internet is overloaded with everyone asking billions of questions per second – where’s Santa or where’s that last-minute online purchase? Also, deciding to wait for Boxing Day to return the gifts you wrongfully purchased for that kid who used to be six years old, but now, a year later, is no longer interested in things they absolutely had to have only months ago.

The hard part of this annual ritual that heats up the self-serve stations at local shopping malls, is trying to decide which gift is the right one. Can I go against reason this year or do I stick with the tried-and-true method of handing out cash instead of gifts. It would save me from a few visits to the local shrink and begging for them to spare no expense on the medication they hand out to looney tuners like me. 

Yep, let the little ones choose for themselves and hopefully it will prepare them for future shopping forays and experience the shock of price stickers. Yes, my little ones, experience the true meaning and bodily aches that accompany this season. 

Speaking of bodily aches, a trip to the pharmacy gives me great joy when the treatment states “stay off your feet and relax for six hours” while listening to jazzy renditions of Christmas music. If that Christmas wish happens, it will be right up there next to miracle births and moving lights in the skies above.

Now, I prepare myself and the elves for the annual trip south where Santa dwells for most of the year. I call the airport to help dig out my shopping vehicle, ready to travel long distances to save a few bucks and endure the tradition of jostling with other Santas and their elves for the last mini-drone so I can check yet another item off my list. 

Next year, I’m thinking of using a game of chance to help the kids decide what they want for Christmas. I’ll give them a pair of dice and say, “Come up with a pair of sevens and you can have anything you want!” 

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.