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The Best Of The Season

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doug_thompsonMerry Christmas. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then happy holiday, whichever one you celebrate on or around the winter solstice. If you don’t have that, then happy winter.

It’s been a tough year for most of us. There’s no changing that. Now is not the time for lectures and second-guessing, either. I’m just going to say that there’s a lot of truth to that cliché that says what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

We’re never going to believe that good times will never end again. We’re going to know to hold something back, to not get into that kind of debt again.

These are good things to know. It was a hard knock learning it, but now we know.

Some of us knew that going in. Others were just luckier than the rest. Nobody’s gloating, however. It’s just not that kind of year.

I write a lot about politics in this space. I’m pretty bored with it. I don’t wake up in the morning, slap my forehead and let the fact that Barack Obama is president ruin my whole day. I don’t wake up and get depressed that we don’t have the public option in health care, either.

For those of you who do — lighten up, people. It’s Christmas. The rest of us don’t want to hear it again, at least not until some time after New Year’s.

I will make one exception. A lot of us are going to have friends and family over. The chances that all of them got through the last year unscathed is pretty thin. If griping about Obama or Republican filibusters or both will help them keep their mind off their own troubles, then let ‘em rip. Fortunately, we don’t have to pay close attention. Just nod and say “That’s right” once in a while. You don’t even have to sound convincing.

Don’t willingly go any farther than that. If forced and if they’re conservatives, tell them the pendulum is swinging. If they’re liberal, tell them a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Again, though, don’t initiate that. Keep nodding and saying “That’s right” as long as you can.

One thing to consider, and I’m being serious here, is holding a Christmas celebration in somebody’s house that they paid too much for. That can be pretty touchy. You have to know somebody pretty well to know if you can get away with it. Still, it would be nice if it worked.

Take over some chairs, some tables, a few wreaths and a lot of food. Remind them that a house is more than an investment. Remind them why it’s good to have a home, and what it’s supposed to be. Get a huge tree and put it right in the middle of that big room with no furniture in it and let some joy ring off those bare walls.

And if you know somebody who has a loved one overseas, don’t forget them.

Don’t get bent out of shape about political correctness and whether this should be Christmas or Happy Holidays. Be reverent if you want to. Use this as just an excuse to have a party if you want to. Do whatever you want to somewhere in between.

This Christmas, remember what’s important and be glad to have it. If you’re alone, ask yourself why and what you can do about it. Go find somebody. Be somebody people will be glad to have around.

And if all else fails, you’ve got to admit that while Christmas jingles may drive you nuts, Christmas carols include some of the most beautiful music ever composed. No less of an authority that Leo Tolstoy once said that no great art comes without a religious feeling. Well, Christmas provides plenty of that.

May you have a merry, politics-free Christmas.

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