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What we do and why

Saturday, December 25, 2010

There is a temptation to say that we overdo Christmas. That’s an almost all-compassing we, not the editorial we that editorial writers often employ.

In this case, we extends beyond the newspaper, beyond other media, beyond stores large and small, beyond the consumers who crowd the aisles.

It’s just about all of us.

For nearly a month, our lives become a blur of Christmas cards, Christmas crafts, Christmas decorations, Christmas recipes, Christmas shopping, Christmas songs, stories, movies and TV shows, all of which have the potential for becoming Christmas traditions.

To be sure, the secular “happy holidays” has taken its place alongside “merry Christmas,” but if you keep count, it doesn’t even run a close second.

People still say merry Christmas, almost regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof, because the spirit of the season has surrounded almost anyone living in America in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Along side all the commercialism that is so easy to deplore (even if it helps drive the economy and provides people with jobs) is a spirit of Christmas sharing that is displayed every day in so many ways that they can’t be counted.

A week’s recap

A quick look back over just a week of Vindicators in late December shows stories about a toy and coat giveaway at the Crime Watch Center, the Gleaners Food Bank dinner at St. Patrick Church, cafeteria workers at Austintown Middle School helping the less fortunate, bereavement ministries to help those who have lost loved ones to get through the holidays, collections for the Salvation Army and disbursements by the same, a Choffin Career & Technical Center show to benefit Toys for Tots, a Rescue Mission raffle, students getting together to send greetings to soldiers in Afghanistan, (or helping a student make a computer connection with a parent serving abroad), Second Harvest Food Bank being helped and helping, the joy of playing Santa’s helper, a high school show choir entertaining elementary students and even one church providing a Christmas tree for a neighboring church on Youngstown’s South Side.

And those are only some of the stories about some of the things going on as reported in one Ohio newspaper.

Multiply those stories by the tens of the thousands, and you have the answer to why we celebrate Christmas the way we do. And why that’s a good thing.

The spirit of Christmas is much like the quality of mercy as described by Shakespeare, it blesses he who gives and he who receives.

Enjoy it.