Holidays have no pity. — Eugenio Montale



Where has the time gone? I looked up one day and saw a lit Christmas tree, and the first thought that came into my head was “Why are they doing this so soon?” A glance at the calendar gave me my answer — it wasn’t that soon; in fact it was me who was late.

I’m not into the holiday spirit yet, and there is a good chance I won’t get there, gentle reader, because the holidays haven’t been the same festive event for a couple of years. I’m halfway contemplating putting out some lights this year though, but I dunno. Perhaps something will motivate me to do it.

I think my feelings about the whole magilla have become a bit jaded after hearing how some things have changed regarding certain ways we try to avoid “stepping on toes.” More than a few folks are teed off at Wal-Mart because their Web site doesn’t have a Christmas page. Instead any hits are shunted to a generic “Happy Holidays” site.

Because of this era of “political correctness” we tend to bend over backwards in an attempt not to offend anyone. We can’t say “Merry Christmas” anymore because somebody may take umbrage in the workplace and sue. Granted, a lot of folks don’t celebrate holidays for religious reasons, and I get that. It may be a part of their teachings. Even so, I knew a person who married into one of those situations. As a result, her son had to endure ridicule from his peers because they would flaunt their new toys in front of him on Christmas. I recall her relating the joy she saw in his eyes after she divorced her husband and she was able to finally give him a proper celebration with her family, who had been pretty much cut out of her life before, complete with a tree and presents.

Another thing that happened this time of year are the people in dire need of help. Of course they need assistance 364 other days, but an unfortunate side effect of this situation are the number of scam artists who seemingly come out of the woodwork to prey on those generous souls who have a genuine desire to do the right thing. Unfortunately, because of all the crooks out and about those who really need aid may slip through the cracks. How can one tell which situation is legit? We’ve already heard reports of scum trying to get hurricane relief money. In fact, I read about two women who tried to get a hold of some of that cash by declaring themselves as victims. Turns out they were inmates, and they were caught by giving the address of the prison they were incarcerated in for the government to send the money to. Talk about dumb!

While we enjoy this period of merriment, we shouldn’t forget the legitimate agencies that service those in need. Donate time or money if you’re so inclined, but be watchful of who gets your hard-earned dollars.

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Ken Hall is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Thursdays and Sundays. He may be reached via e-mail at kendubh1@hotmail.com

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