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Today is December 24. From what I’ve experienced myself, and what I’ve seen on social media and heard around town, it really hasn’t felt like Christmas this year. Maybe it’s the weather – we didn’t get any real snow until a couple of weeks ago – or just the general feeling of the year, but I am definitely not alone in feeling a bit disoriented that tomorrow is December 25.

However you choose to celebrate the holidays – in churches or synagogues, with family and friends, with gifts or parties, or just wanting to avoid them altogether – there is no denying that there are certain seasonal treats to enjoy. From lights in store windows to carols on the radio to all of the food that’s consumed… it all got me to thinking that the holidays are truly a multi-sensory experience for everyone. Bells can be heard everywhere, the scents of great food and hot wintry drinks fill the air, trees big and small are decorated simply or elaborately… and you don’t have to be blind to feel, shake, or otherwise try and guess at what those presents are.

But I also got to thinking… isn’t a blind person’s life always lived this way? Sure, there aren’t bells ringing in May, and no one’s drinking hot apple cider in July (in this part of the world, anyway). But the holiday season (for some reason) seems to be the only time of the year when no one comments how sorry they are because I can’t see. Ask the same person in July, and they’ll tell you that they feel bad that my life is so colourless. But is that really true?

Those of us who can see some light can use the sight we have to navigate (to whatever degree we can), and definitely use our other senses to explore the world around us. I’ve advised people before in a previous blog post to walk into a bead shop and hold the strands of beads in their hands. How about going to a hockey game and taking note of the scent of the ice? And everyone enjoys good food and good music…

Christmas (if you’re politically incorrect; the holidays if you’re not) is a wonderful time of the year, whether you celebrate it for religious, familial or personal reasons. Even those of my friends who don’t celebrate really enjoy the food and drink you can only seem to get this time of the year. So while you’re sitting down to your holiday dinner, all of those senses that seem to be brought to the forefront this time of year… we use them every day, and perhaps after all there is something magical about that…