• Last modified 228 days ago (Dec. 7, 2023)


Getting in the spirit

Maybe it was the Thanksgiving weekend snowstorm or the foggy, soggy weather this past weekend. Or, perhaps, people are afraid authorities might raid their homes if they don’t like the lights they choose.

For whatever reason, there’s a serious dearth of celebration of Christ’s birth in the form of Christmas decorations — and, for that matter, Christmas spirit.

I sympathize with those who take some time to get in the spirit. Personally, I can’t think of decorating or shopping until I’ve viewed at least one, preferably two, versions of “Miracle on 34th St.”

I was such a nerd about the movie back before streaming services, satellites, DVRs, and even VCRs that I used to bribe two clerks who created custom TV listings for the metro daily where I worked to let me know whenever and wherever the movie would be on.

I even was known to rent a motel room outside the local TV market is the only place showing the movie was there.

This year, it’s been extra hard to get into the spirit, though it helps having my cat — who has more toys than I ever did as a kid — drag old pieces of package ribbons from a box of extra, ersatz toys I’ve provided.

I’m also the type who, if possible, would do all my shopping on Christmas Eve — not because I’m a procrastinator but because workers in old-time department stores were always at their jolliest that day. There actually was a small club of people who did that. “Tonight Show” sidekick Ed McMahon was among them. So was the district attorney, whom I always ran into at Gimbels in Milwaukee.

That said, it’s probably not such a good thing for others to do as I do instead of as I say. This community should be heeding the age-old advice about brightening the corner where we are and raising our spirits by raising a few strings of lights.

Otherwise, we descend into the pit that people elsewhere in the country seem to think we perpetually live in.

I’m happy to report that, unlike last year, Marion’s downtown Christmas lights seem to be functioning in every block almost every night.

It’s too bad that new streetlights take away much of the impact of lining building tops with white lights. Downtown streets cry out for something more, even if it’s just a simple red-and-white candy-cane wrap of light posts. Hillsboro has done both rooftop lighting and light pole decorations, and its downtown appears much more festive.

We and a group of sponsoring merchants are starting a contest this week for the best residential Christmas decorations in the county. I urge you not only to nominate your favorite but also to praise those who already have decorated and encourage others to follow.

Beautiful street scenes may not be a substitute for “Miracle on 34th St.” or even for fixing a government that seems intent hiding everything it can. But it’s a necessary start on the long road to recovery.

— Eric Meyer

Last modified Dec. 7, 2023