Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Bring back the spirit of Christmas

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    Dakota Szabo, 9, whispers to Santa what he wants for Christmas during a visit to the ProMedica Children's Hospital in Toledo. He was visiting his sister, Evelyn, 8, who is a patient.

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    THE BLADE
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THE BLADE
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Charlie Brown speaks for all of us in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving when he gloomily proclaims, “We’ve got another holiday to worry about.”

Yes, the Thanksgiving turkey and dressing are barely cold and already many of us are in full Christmas/holiday mode with the arrival of Black Friday’s bargains galore. (Shameless promotion: See my “Tech Gift Guide” that ran Thursday.)

With Dec. 25 only a month away, it’s now that annual mad sprint to the holiday finish line.

There are gifts to find and buy. Homes to decorate. Parties to attend. Cards to mail. And festive demeanors to maintain throughout the madness.

Oh, and let's not forget that the holiday season brings with it the war to end all wars: The War on Christmas. This long-fought battle happens around this time each year and always delivers the same casualties: our collective common sense.

What we need is a way not just to survive the holiday season, but to enjoy it.

And so I modestly propose the following suggestions to get us back in the spirit of the season:

■ X the “Merry Christmas” outrage.

This means no longer demanding that "Merry Christmas" is a government mandate — especially in a country founded by those seeking freedom from persecution over their religious beliefs.

■ Keep “Christ in Christmas” — stop being a jerk.

I’ve never known anyone to be offended by a “Merry Christmas” greeting. In fact, one of the great qualities of the phrase is its interchangeability as a religious and nonreligious greeting that means whatever Christmas is to someone: a celebration of the birth of Christ, a festive holiday, a visit from Santa, or even a time when you let that car switch into your lane without telling the driver he/she is No. 1.

■ Celebrate the season and only the season.

Christmas is like the McRib: It comes once a year, which is more than enough for those who appreciate it; any more days, weeks, and months than that and it loses its specialness. So let’s stop with playing Christmas music while we're still stuffing ourselves with leftover Halloween candy. Or having Christmas sales in July. There is a season, turn, turn, turn ...

■ More holiday parties.

Remember those years when corporations and employers would go to great lengths to celebrate their employees with a big holiday party — even without a magical tax cut to help pay for it? Yeah, me neither.

■ Traditions — yours or someone else’s.

Christmas is a time to share stories about your family. If you don’t have any of your own, then borrow them from elsewhere: like when the dogs next door ate the family turkey or the time Mom broke Dad's favorite lamp or how you nearly shot your eye out with a BB-gun after repeated warnings.

■ It’s Wonderful to watch.

Forget having to say “Merry Christmas.” A viewing of the 1946 Frank Capra classic It’s A Wonderful Life is what’s mandatory during the holidays. As part of the viewing, a snack tray of beef log, cheese, and crackers is optional but highly recommended. Also, drunken boob “Uncle Billy” is the film’s real villain.

■ Be social without the media.

During family get-togethers, put down the phones and tablets and communicate the way nature intended: eye to eye. Memories are much better when they’re made in real life and not in front of a screen.

■ Be kind.

Give generously when you can and be friendly to everyone. ’Tis only a season, after all. As Charlie Brown and The Peanuts sang:

“Christmas time is here, families drawing near

oh that we could always see

such spirit in the year.”

Contact Kirk Baird at: kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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