The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)
The Christmas Touch
The Christmas Touch
The part played by transport in the Christmas period becomes increasingly important with the increase in facilities and speed, and the decrease in costs, of travel.
Part of the very spirit of Christmas lies in the comings and goings associated with the celebration of that more than nineteen-hundred year old advent for which the wise men from the East made their memorable pilgrimage.
The most charming custom of present surprises and other evidences of goodwill and good cheer, have grown around the Christmastide until it has become the pivotal point about which swing family reunions, holiday gatherings, relaxations from toil, renewals of energy and revivals of hope.
“Home for Christmas” is the highest pleasure which any exile can aspire to, and transport, which gave the opportunity for spreading out and settling in distant parts, comes to the rescue when that homing instinct which Christmas actuates begins to exercise its tractive power.
The railwayman finds the Christmas period a time of intense activity. His privilege it is to wield the Fairy wand which wafts the wanderer home—to make travel happy and comfortable, quick and dependable, safe and satisfying. His compensation comes from the sight of joyous travellers thronging the railway stations, rushing the refreshment rooms, besieging the bookstalls, and filling the trains arranged to carry every traveller to the place of his heart's desire.
The railways have an elasticity at holiday times which other forms of transport might well envy, but cannot emulate.
When it comes to a question of moving the people en masse there is nothing to compare with the railways for handling the situation, and at no time is the demand for accommodation more sudden and insistent than in the brief days before Christmas.
There are fortunate individuals to whom every Christmastime means Christmas holidays—who have never known the self-abnegation which steady, strenuous work through this period of festivity means. These we would ask to have a thought for the men of the far-reaching railway organisation, who deal so efficiently with their transport requirements —gauge their numbers, plan their trains, book their seats, provide their refreshments, handle their luggage, and deliver them, all safe and sound, in their hundreds of thousands at their desired destinations, and to cast a kindly thought in the direction of these genii of the rail, when enjoying the pleasures which a Christmas destination has in store for all who make holiday at this time. The Christmas touch is the kindly thought, the friendly word, the helping hand, and the goodwill gift—the touch which gladdens by its evidence of thoughtfulness for others and lets brightness shine through the grey clouds of care.