Can you believe it’s the week before Christmas already? My tree is up and outside the snow is flying. I love these cold nights when I can curl up in the house with a blanket and a good movie. If I’m being totally honest I also love that it’s hot chocolate season. Tim Horton’s is always one of the last stop’s I make to order my hot chocolate as I head to the arena.
For many parents Christmas is a stressful time because trying to budget for gifts and hockey can prove to be a challenge. For others it also means that you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to see all of your relatives over the Christmas break because you know you’ll be heading out to a tournament on Boxing Day. For many years I used to host Christmas and I’d be pushing my family out the door while they were still trying to finish their Christmas pudding. I usually still had packing to do so we could be on the road the next day to my son’s hockey tournament.
In some cases, this also tends to be a time when, we, as parents, are trying desperately to find the perfect gift for our kids. There is nothing more stressful than shopping for that one and only present that will make our kids say, “You’re the best Mom in the world!” on Christmas morning. Being raised the youngest of nine in a Catholic family meant that you didn’t always get the exact gift you put on your list. Like the year I asked for the Sunice jacket. As I opened my present I realized Santa had brought me a Sunrise jacket from K-Mart instead.
My Mother used to always say that Christmas isn’t about material gifts it’s about looking back on the past year and being thankful for all that you have. Pretty sure she lived by this one because our stockings were actual sports socks and it wasn’t uncommon to get fruit in them on Christmas morning. I guess Santa was on a diet when he hit our home. Growing up I didn’t always like her way of thinking but now that I’m a Mom I’ve realized she was right. She’d tell us that the relationships in our lives, our health, our children’s happiness, and most importantly our families were the real gifts. So, as I sit typing away on my laptop in my quiet living room, waiting to hear my son come through the door from practice, I can’t help but think of all I’m thankful for. One of the greatest gifts that comes to mind is hockey, not just in this past year but in all the years we’ve been blessed to enjoy it as a family. Hockey has created incredible friendships for my son, daughter, husband, and I. We’ve had so many good times with our hockey family, including Christmas parties and many New Year’s Eve celebrations in a hotel somewhere singing “Auld Lang Syne” with our hockey friends. I have to wonder if we would have ever met these incredible people had we not stood next to them to cheer on our kids in the rink. Would I have known all these great ladies if we hadn’t sold raffle tickets together for our team’s fundraisers? Would my son have had such a bond with these boys had they not been teammates for so many years. More importantly, would I have had the time with my kids that hockey has provided had it not been for our nations beloved sport. All the times my son and I drove to the rink together, listening to music, and talking about whatever came to mind, all the nights my daughter and I curled up to watch a chick flick because my son and husband were off to hockey practice, and all the dinners, card games, and carpools my husband and I shared with the other hockey parents. Yes, as I look back Hockey is one of the things I’m the most thankful for this Christmas.
In the spirit of giving this holiday season, perhaps you could offer your child a present that may turn out to be the best gift of all. Promise your kids that for the remainder of the hockey season you’ll be on our best behaviour in the rink. Promise them that you will do your best to keep hockey fun. I know it’s a tall order and it makes going over budget on a materialistic gift seem pretty good, but in the end it will make the hockey experience for both you and your young player so much better. What do you think your kids would actually say? For some, I bet they’d go as far as to trade a new hockey stick for the gift of their Dad no longer going over the play by play on the way home. They may even opt to give up the new NHL 2017 game if it meant that their Mom would stop yelling in the stands. There’s only one condition Mom and Dad, this gift is non-refundable.
From one hockey parent to another I wish you an incredible Christmas with your family. Enjoy every rosy cheek smile through their face mask, enjoy every early morning ride to the rink because before you know it they’ll be driving themselves, enjoy that Christmas tournament because one day you’ll be sharing your kids with their spouses family over the holidays, and most of all enjoy being part of Canada’s number one sport. Hockey is a gift, be thankful that you’re a part of it.
About the author:
Allyson Tufts is a new author that has had many meaningful careers to date in non-profit, social work, and human resources. Her proudest accomplishment is that of being a wife and mother. She spent many years watching her son and daughter enjoy their extra curricular activities. Nothing could prepare her for the stress of standing behind her son's net for his debut as a goalie. As her experiences as a Hockey Mom started to pile up, she realized that not only were they funny, most importantly, they could be helpful to other parents going through their own experiences watching their kids play. She decided to take the leap and put her stories into her first book and so was born, “Lessons from Behind the Glass”.
Since the launch of the book in 2015, she’s sold thousands of copies in both Canada and the United States. She’s had the opportunity to speak to the senior staff and President of Hockey Canada. Most recently she has partnered with BC Hockey and Hockey Eastern Ontario to create a video series for parents based on the lessons from her book.
To learn more about Allyson Tufts or to purchase your copy of Lessons from Behind the Glass go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.