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19 SEPTEMBER 2018

 

George Foreman on Christmas




By Thomas Hauser
Traditions evolve in a particularly nice way. Two years ago, I authored a poem entitled "A Christmas Eve Visit From George Foreman." Last December, as the holidays approached, I wrote an article entitled "Two Conversations with George Foreman" and closed with the thought, "He's a good messenger for this holiday season and every other day of the year." Now, as we await another Christmas, it seems appropriate to turn again to one of the most popular men in boxing. Here are some of George Foreman's thoughts on Christmas.

I'm low key about the holidays. In fact, I put all the holidays into one basket. Everyone has been so prosperous in recent years that the buying and gift giving never stops. People are overly generous. The machinery of giving expensive things has gotten so well-established that nothing stops it. It starts with birthdays and goes on through Christmas and every other day of the year. It's "let's see how much we can buy," and a lot of people have forgotten about giving of themselves instead of giving things.

I got a giant music box from Motown last Christmas. Very expensive. You could see it was something they sent to the elite. But not a letter asking, "How are you? What's happening?"

I get Christmas cards in the mail from people I hardly know, and I know it's "let's send him a card and him a card." My parents are dead and gone, and they still get Christmas cards from people who haven't checked for years to see how they're doing. I send out hellos and how-you-doings all the time. There's never one day a year that people have to wait for to hear from me.

You know, when I was growing up, Christmas was the most dangerous time of the year for me. We didn't have a tree or anything like that. We were poor. In the summer, we had a choice between electricity and gas, and we chose electricity. In the winter, we chose heat. Christmas trees cost money and, once you had a tree, you had to put something on it; so no tree at Christmas. But when I was young, I'd hear people saying, "I'm giving my mother this; I'm giving my girlfriend that." So I'd go out and prowl the streets; fourteen, fifteen years old, a mugger, to outdo people and get money for presents.

Even now, I don't have a tree at Christmas. Why not? Just because. And I don't get into gift-giving at Christmas. The only gift that really matters is the gift of love.

So if a young child asked me what Christmas is about, I wouldn't say anything; I'd just hug him. Words can mess up anything, but a hug is always good. I'd hug him and spend the day with him. And the wonderful thing about a hug is, you don't have to wait for Christmas to give it. You can give hugs every day of the year.



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