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Wednesday / May 22.
HomemifeatureSo This is Christmas…

So This is Christmas…

Christmas seems to come along faster and faster with each passing year, rushed in by the many retailers that begin their promotions earlier and earlier. Sometimes I wonder whether the decorations in the shops have time to gather dust before they’re put back on display.

Beyond the commercialisation, what does Christmas really mean to people these days? We asked a number of our regular and most loyal contributors for their thoughts… and their hopes for the New Year.

Finola Carey


“Every Christmas our extended family of 30 travels to my husband’s sheep station 25km west of Coonabarabran to enjoy a bush Christmas – a very different celebration to growing up in Ireland where we often had a white Christmas.

“I hope 2012 will see wholesalers, eye care professionals, and retailers alike working more closely together to deal with the challenges in the market place. Challenges, like the internet and discount advertising, have heightened the perception among consumers that glasses are just a commodity not an individually tailored eye care solution.”

My hope is for some good news for a change! Seriously – I hope for some peace in our troubled world

Tim Grant

Alcon Vision Care Asia Pacific,

Professional Marketing

“Over Christmas I like to sit back, relax and visit my family in the bush. A half-day drive but so very different to the city with the evening stars and an adult beverage after a hard day on the farm. I like this, as I don’t need to watch what eat. I once read Christmas is where we put on weight, we overindulge then never quite get around to taking off the extra grams, then next year do the same.

“Next year, beside world peace, I hope to make my personal and professional life simple. In the past year there has been too much information for too little gain.

Next year I will only do the things that have an impact.”

Jim Papas

Eyeclarity Director

“Christmas is about kids with anxious faces, paper, presents, laughter left right and centre. It’s priceless!
“Embarking on a new year I’m optimistic about the direction of our industry despite the economic downturn. I’ll introduce some new initiatives for eyeclarity… and hope to make those to do lists a bit shorter!”

Mark Overton

Ideology Consulting Managing Director

“For me, Christmas is a time of total focus on family, remembering just how good life really is, and the opportunity to make someone really happy.

“Most of all this Christmas, I want my son to get well, my daughter home safely from Europe and to spend more time with my fabulous wife (and catch a monster Brown Trout on dry fly).”

Kate Mulcahy

Transitions Optical Marketing Manager ANZ

“To me, Christmas is taking time to give and share with friends and family. Of course it’s also about shameless indulgence in food and drink, and the laughter that comes with that.

“On a professional level, the New Year brings excitement for a fresh year of activity and growth. It also brings some trepidation because success comes from trying new things and pushing boundaries.”

John Lees

Specialist Sales and Marketing Consultant

“Christmas to me is many nice things, especially concerning children and their outlook… but it is also a time of great expenditure on gifts for adult relatives and friends. To cut costs down this year I am planning to buy shattered glass in

bulk, which I will then put into gift packs with fragile stickers on them and send these to people I know… which should go down well, plus there could be a large insurance claim involved.

“My resolution for this coming year will be to stop procrastinating, because I wrote the book on procrastination… or at least I will when I get time, and find a pen and paper. Business wise I am hoping that 2012 will be better than 2011, and certainly nowhere near as bad as 2010 despite the plans I made in 2009, following the catastrophe of 2008. 2012 might prove difficult for me because for tax reasons I will have to spend most of the year dead.”

Andrew McKinnon


“Maybe I’m getting more introspective as I get older, but I find myself enjoying the wonderful spirit of goodwill that seems to emerge at this time of year.
“Heading into the New Year, I’ve embarked on a concerted campaign to be fit again – I hope that I succeed! Professionally I want to see the profession get to grips with the issue of rural workforce planning. We have a shortage of practitioners looming and an ever-decreasing window of opportunity to respond.”

Kylie Liddell

Allergan Australia Eye Care ANZ Product Manager

“To me, Christmas means family, friends and living in the moment – seeing the excitement on the faces of my little nieces and nephew when they discover Santa has visited. This year will be extra special because I’m off to Europe to experience my first white Christmas… I can’t wait!

“Next year already promises to be very exciting on many levels, but my hopes and dreams are to build on the success of 2011, focus on what’s really important in life, to be open to new opportunities, and having as much fun as possible along the way!”

Simon Ward

mivision Designer

Christmas is a time to focus on family and fun and relaxation. A reminder of what life’s really about – to stop rushing, relax and just be present – to let go of some of the “have to’s” for a while and enjoy more of the “want to’s”… a full stop to the year; a reference point – something to look forward to, and away from (New Year’s resolutions)… an enforced break from the routine… a time to take a breather, reflect and gather yourself for the next round.
In the New Year, I hope for more time for myself and my family. A song on JJJ. A chance to do some road trips on my motorbike. A lottery win. Peace on Earth.

Dr. Gerard Sutton

Ophthalmologist and Professor, Uni of Sydney Medical School

“We always tried to bring anyone that would otherwise be alone into our house at Christmas. One year we even had an ophthalmologist who was going through a tough divorce. He slotted straight in and we have been friends ever since. No-one should be alone at Christmas.

“To be honest, I hope 2012 brings a few less challenges than 2011. Professionally I hope to advance our Keratoconus research. Personally I want to continue enjoying my family life, enjoy BBQs with friends, complete my first triathlon and get over to NZ as often as possible to lose myself in the beautiful South Island, fly-fishing on a braided river somewhere.”

Mark Cushway

mivision Editor / Founder

“Christmas is about Jesus; hanging with family; watching my little girl go nuts over her presents; taking a punt on gifts; grazing over long lunches; zoning out in front of the box watching the Test and chatting with Daisy the cow at my brother’s property.
“In the New Year I’m hoping for good health and finishing our reno early in the year, under budget. Producing mivision has always been fun, rewarding and about making a difference. I want more of the same for me, the team and our readers.”

Nikki Byrne

mivision Production Manager

“Christmas to me is definitely family time. It’s so worthwhile to see the excitement on my son’s face as he opens his presents and finds all the things he so, so wanted. I’m from a close family – I lost my only brother at a young age and my father fairly recently – so it’s always great to be together with my Mum as well as my sisters and their families. We always put ourselves under pressure to ensure we have plenty of gifts and food (as a result there’s always enough to feed an army) yet what really means the most to me is being together.

“In the New Year, I hope to be able to give more time to my son and to be more patient. From a professional perspective, I enjoy my work and workmates (they are my second family) so I’m looking forward to another great fun, successful year with them.

Terri Smith


“Christmas is not my favourite time of year. I have to be patient and keep smiling through the weeks leading up to Christmas. In my early years as a youth worker it was heartbreaking to see how tough Christmas is for people without loving families, close friends and money to burn. And these days, chaos and consumerism further taints Christmas for me. That said come Boxing Day the world turns and I love the calm that descends on Melbourne.

“My hopes and dreams for the coming year are that every single Australian over 40 will have their eyes tested, that no one will unnecessarily lose their vision and that the community will come to truly appreciate the important role our members play in maintaining eye health across, and beyond, the Australian community. And I’m still hoping for world peace.”

Geoff Lawson

Optometrist, Cricket and Social Commentator

“Growing up in rural Australia with 13 aunties and uncles (just on mum’s side), and all the cousins, meant huge family Christmases. It’s the one time of year when my brother, sister and now just mum make sure we are together. Then I head to Melbourne late on Christmas day or very early Boxing Day to be part of the cricket – that peculiar Australian festival that’s almost religious in its observance.

“Over the years I have experienced many different New Year and Christmas celebrations around the globe. I love going to India to celebrate New Year or Pakistan to celebrate the Islamic “Christmas” of Eid. Eid in Pakistan at the end of Ramazan is so much like the family Christmas we enjoy in Australia with feasts and family and good will dominating.

“There is always the hope that the idyll of peace, health and education will come to the troubled nations in the new year. I can assure you we live in the lucky country… we should all be thankful for living in such a peaceful nation and we should all work very hard to keep it that way.”

Todd Tai

mivision Corporate Communications

/ Founder

For me Christmas means time for adventure and time to explore:

On land – I’ll throw my 4wd on to the Spirit of Tasmania and cruise down to one of my favourite parts of the world…

On water – I like to pack my kayak with camping gear and supplies, and explore a wilderness river system for a few days. The more remote, the better…

Under water – I like to dive the oceans looking for sharks (I recommend Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea).

In the New Year I’m really looking forward to spending plenty of time with my gorgeous girlfriend… oh,and of course building more business for mivision.

Tony Martella


“To me, Christmas is all about family – it’s our chance to spend time with family and friends, forget about the day-to-day routine and focus on each other for a change. I come from an ethnic family so it’s always good to get together as a unit – although in truth we find any opportunity to get together!

“For the New Year, from a professional level I’m looking forward to building on the success we’ve had in recent times and continuing to offer services to members. I also hope to continue to meet as many of our members as possible.”

Gail Hoole

Mondottica Director

“Christmas for me is all about family and friends getting together and it is also all about tradition – the dog always gets to unwrap the first gift…
“My hope is for some good news for a change! Seriously – I hope for some peace in our troubled world.”

Dr. Laura Downie

Optometrist and Clinical instructor

“To me, Christmas means family; it is a special time when my family is always together to share mum’s delicious food, exchange gifts and enjoy each other’s company. Even our family pet poodle and cat are included in the festivities, with their own stockings hung over the fire-place!
“I hope that 2012 sees my family and friends safe, happy and healthy. On a personal note, I can’t wait to be an Easter bride next year and to start my new life with my husband Andy!”

And for Mel Kell?

For me, Christmas is a time of mixed emotions. I’m filled with excitement when I find the perfect gift for a friend or family member but exhausted by the frenetic consumerism that lasts right up until Christmas Eve – then begins again unabated on Boxing Day. I love watching my kids unwrap their presents but am torn between spending the day with my husband’s family in Australia, my orphan friends, and my own family in NZ – including my grandmother who in February will be 101.

In the New Year, I’m hoping for positive change – for people to feel more at ease with the economy, for way fewer deaths than I’ve experienced in 2011 and for my children to have more time to be, well… children. I’m also looking forward to working on more great stories for mivision.

Merry Christmas and have a great New Year!