Means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

That’s what everyone is saying this Christmas.  I see it all over my Facebook feed, it’s all over Reddit and Twitter and almost any other social media site you care to browse.  Ohana.  Family.  Let’s spread the love.

We miss people and we are showing everyone just how much we love and care by spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on them.  We throw extravagant parties and liquor flows freely.  Food abounds and tables groan under the weight of the luxury of choice.  Family we see but once a year, barring weddings and funerals, are given access to our homes and lives and we spend and spend and spend.

How else can we prove that  we love them?  That they are actually important even though we never have time through the year?

Ohana.  It means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

What about our human family in Syria?  Those families being torn apart by war.  Those who are sending out what they feel are their last messages to the world.  We have forgotten them.

What about the child brides in Niger?  The legal age for marriage there is 15.  76% of the girls there are married before 18.  We have forgotten them.

What about the increasing rape statistics in our universities and the increasing soft sentences that are being handed out?  We are telling women that it is okay for men to rape them, that it is in a man’s nature to act that way.  We are telling men that if a woman is incapable of saying no, that it is okay to go ahead anyway.  We have forgotten them.

What about the lonely neighbour next door who won’t have a family member come and visit this coming weekend?  Or the aged person in the frail care whose family is too busy with their own celebrations to worry about their aged parents who really doesn’t remember them anyway?  Or, yes, that homeless person on the street that maybe just needs a kind word or a smile today and a hand to the nearest shelter.  We have forgotten them.

Ohana.  It means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.

It used to be de rigeur when I was growing up that we spent Christmas with family.  There was no argument, fuck there wasn’t even a discussion.  It was just understood that the family would get together over that period and that would be that.  When I had a family of my own, we pretty much had everyone over at my place.  All the family, everyone brought something to the table and we spent the day together.  It was the one day when a truce was called and we all got together.  In-laws, out-laws, hated or loved – Christmas was a family day.

These days it takes monumental organisational skills just to get people together.  Oh I get that it’s not the same and honestly there are times when I just want to say, fuck it I’m done!!  Yet, for me it’s still my family day.  No matter what I would still like to have that truce and be with my family.  I’m getting Christmas Eve and that works for me, while the other family gets Christmas.

Still I wonder why I am so het up over one day.  It’s just a day. I will have other lunches and dinners to be with my family.  Each and everyone is, and should be, special.  This is what is important.  To try and boil everything down to one, or two, days in a year places people in a quandry.  It places unnecessary pressure on what is just a day.  Yes, I get that it is a special day in the calendar for those who celebrate, but it is still a day.

Still we come back to Ohana, and here is the crux, in placing so much pressure on this one day we end up leaving people behind.  We create debt.  We create anxiety.  We create fear that we cannot measure up to someone else’s offering(s) on the day.  We forget that which is truly important – that there are people involved.

It should be about family.  Both near and far. Both blood and human.  We should be as people reaching out and helping each other because without each other there is no family.

Ohana – means family and family means no one is left behind or forgotten.

Who have you forgotten or left behind this Christmas?


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