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Spirit Of Christmas

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NEWS
December 24, 1992
For all its splendors, the holiday season lends itself t disillusionment. The build-up is too great, the expectations too high. The reality almost never matches the myth.We dream of white Christmases, but it never snows. We sing of peace while relatives squabble around the dinner table. We take the spirit of giving to a mall and lose it among the crowds of shoppers.And yet, there is reason to believe.All through the metropolitan area, hundreds of ordinary people are working without thought of reward to make Christmas truly a time of generosity and goodwill.
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NEWS
By Garrison Keillor | December 2, 2009
I n Phoenix, the bougainvillea is blooming red against a landscape of buttes and rocks outside my hotel window and interesting cacti that look like cell phone base stations or Modigliani sculptures. Midwesterners who came here long ago slapped grass down on the desert, hoping to make it more like Indianapolis, but Phoenicians have come to accept aridity. If you enjoy rocks, you will love Arizona. But for me, it's weird to walk outdoors and hear "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" from little speakers hidden among the cacti and "Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh."
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NEWS
By Knight-Ridder News Service | December 23, 1994
For the 15th consecutive year, the SCROOGE Society is hoping you will dramatically curtail your Christmas gift-giving -- or at least your holiday spending -- and give more thought to the meaning of the season. Stop wasting mega-sums on stuffnobody wants, says SCROOGE, and focus on the spirit of giving."Remember," says the society's 1994 newsletter, "that a merry Christmas isn't for sale in any store for any amount of money."The Society to Curtail Ridiculous, Outrageous and Ostentatious Gift Exchanges -- SCROOGE -- was founded in 1979 and is still run single-handedly by Chuck Langham, a retired writer of Army technical manuals.
FEATURES
By LIZ SMITH and LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services | December 25, 2007
Let's hear a third-generation atheist of Jewish ancestry speak of Christmas. Blake Gopnik says: "The wonderfully secular, partly pagan solstice celebration that is Dec. 25 also had a tie to Christ for about 2,000 years. The link is too well forged to try to break it now without diminishing the whole event. I find beauty in the most clearly Christian parts of Christmas, and I'm not willing to lose out on it, or let the Christians keep it for themselves. I'll buy `In God We Trust' as crucial decoration on the dollar bill, and I'll use `Merry Christmas' as the right words to usher in the solstice season, so in the full spirit of the holiday, I'd like to wish us one and all, Christians and Jews, Muslims and Zoroastrians (even my fellow atheists)
FEATURES
By J. Wynn Rousuck and J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC | December 18, 1997
At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, a little "Christmas Carol" can go a long way at this time of year, so Fell's Point Corner Theatre deserves credit for bucking the trend and mounting an original Christmas play.Granted, as the title suggests, "Whatever Happened to Jacob Marley?" is a sequel to Dickens' classic tale. And not only is the staging more pageant-like than dramatic, but the context is extremely contrived -- spooning a generous dollop of Fells Point history over Dickens' traditional Christmas pudding.
FEATURES
By LIZ SMITH and LIZ SMITH,Tribune Media Services | December 25, 2007
Let's hear a third-generation atheist of Jewish ancestry speak of Christmas. Blake Gopnik says: "The wonderfully secular, partly pagan solstice celebration that is Dec. 25 also had a tie to Christ for about 2,000 years. The link is too well forged to try to break it now without diminishing the whole event. I find beauty in the most clearly Christian parts of Christmas, and I'm not willing to lose out on it, or let the Christians keep it for themselves. I'll buy `In God We Trust' as crucial decoration on the dollar bill, and I'll use `Merry Christmas' as the right words to usher in the solstice season, so in the full spirit of the holiday, I'd like to wish us one and all, Christians and Jews, Muslims and Zoroastrians (even my fellow atheists)
NEWS
By Rosalie Falter and Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 21, 1997
AT THIS TIME OF year, you're bound to hear and read a lot about the "spirit of Christmas." If that overworked phrase is shorthand for love, sharing, giving and helping our neighbors, then Pauline and George Bottiger are a living definition."
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 7, 2000
The true joy of Sunday's Christmas concert presented by conductor Glenette Schumacher and the Arundel Vocal Arts Society didn't come via sterling vocal technique or interpretive thunderbolts hurled at will from the podium. It was articulated late in the program when narrator Michael Gilles put his finger on one of the most profoundly endearing aspects of any Christmas season. "At this time of year," he said, "we sing to each other." That's what it all came down to Sunday before the audience that packed St. Martin's Church in Annapolis.
NEWS
By ROBERT LITTLE and ROBERT LITTLE,SUN REPORTER | December 25, 2005
NEW ORLEANS -- Father James Tarantino tried all week to compose his Christmas homily, searching for the right message of thankfulness and hope. He'd lived through the flood with his congregation, watched men climb the tower to ring the bells with a hammer after the power went out, seen families slog through the muck to hold Mass in a darkened chapel. He wanted a sermon of particular relevance and poignancy this year. But Tarantino also had the broken furnace to deal with, and the organist lost her home and hadn't returned.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 4, 1997
Ebenezer Scrooge might not rival Santa Claus in holiday popularity, but Charles Dickens' miserly curmudgeon, who is visited by ghosts of the past, present and future on Christmas Eve, has held a favored status ever since he was introduced in 1843.Many of us have childhood memories of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Mine go back to when I was frightened out of my wits every Christmas season by Lionel Barrymore's radio Scrooge.Barrymore was followed by generations of actors in the role, including some singing Scrooges.
NEWS
By ROBERT LITTLE and ROBERT LITTLE,SUN REPORTER | December 25, 2005
NEW ORLEANS -- Father James Tarantino tried all week to compose his Christmas homily, searching for the right message of thankfulness and hope. He'd lived through the flood with his congregation, watched men climb the tower to ring the bells with a hammer after the power went out, seen families slog through the muck to hold Mass in a darkened chapel. He wanted a sermon of particular relevance and poignancy this year. But Tarantino also had the broken furnace to deal with, and the organist lost her home and hadn't returned.
FEATURES
By MICHAEL SRAGOW | November 25, 2005
On the one hand, we have Christmas perennials like It's a Wonderful Life, which seem ubiquitous every Yuletide. These have come to include naughty anti-Santa spectacles like Bad Santa - my favorite in the have-a-caustic-little-Christmas vein - and Gremlins, best-loved for Phoebe Cates' show-stopping monologue about a fatal incident involving Santa and a chimney. On the other hand, there are movies that use a Christmas backdrop as instant irony for mayhem, like the first two Die Hard movies.
NEWS
By William Hyder and William Hyder,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 16, 2004
The familiar story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, mixed with clowning, tumbling, juggling, dancing, singing, even a little magic -- that's A Christmas Carol as performed at Howard Community College. This variation on Charles Dickens' novel was created many years ago for a theater in Los Angeles. The adapter, Doris Baizley, conceived the idea of presenting a Victorian English story in a Renaissance Italian style. Commedia dell'arte troupes were popular in Italy in the 16th century and later.
NEWS
By Kevin Cardin | December 25, 2003
CHRISTMAS DAY is still slated to arrive on schedule, but Santa Claus may not be coming to your town. As the holiday mobilized into full swing, so did the war between the traditionalists and secularists - or the battle of Christmas and the two Clauses. Our Constitution, having been crafted largely on the basis of Judeo-Christian philosophy, has for better or worse inseparably linked the country's inception with certain aspects of religious heritage and values. But today there is tremendous controversy over what place, if any, that religious tradition should have in a secular society.
NEWS
By Michael Alvear | December 25, 2003
IWAS 9 years old when I experienced my first American Christmas. I was at a loss to describe my reaction because my English wasn't very good. When I became completely fluent, I realized the word I was looking for was "bummer." That's because I had the disadvantage of experiencing eight Latino Christmases before celebrating my ninth with an Anglo one. A Latino Christmas is a wonder to behold. If American families are nuclear, then Latino families are electromagnetic, pulling every relative, no matter how distant, into their orbit.
FEATURES
By Larry Bingham and Larry Bingham,SUN STAFF | December 24, 2003
WILLIAMSPORT - The man who has played Santa Claus for nearly 40 years was digging in his back yard this past summer when he got so tired he had to stop and sit down. Charles Fischer tried to brush it off. He told himself he was almost 69 years old, and these things happen as you age. But the truth was he had been reminded of his limitations before. Last year, around this time, he caught the flu and wasn't able to wear the red suit with white fur, the hat and gloves, the beard and the curly, white-haired wig. It was the first year since the early 1960s that Fischer, who lost his 35-year job at a label-making factory when it closed in 1992, had not been Santa by his choosing.
NEWS
December 24, 1999
ANNAPOLIS' official Christmas tree has been described as an ugly, out-of-place jumble. That may be a charitable impression.Rakes and pitchforks poke through the pine branches instead of candy canes and popcorn balls. Corn, soybeans, sorghum and tobacco replace garland, icicles, ornaments and tinsel. It's as if "It's a Wonderful Life" has been preempted by "Green Acres."Famously tasteful Annapolitans are aghast. Some contend this is worse than last year, when a mannequin in a rain slicker adorned the tree near City Dock.
NEWS
By Cal Thomas | December 3, 2003
ARLINGTON, Va. - I'm not sure it's worth keeping Christmas anymore. Oh, it is fine for those apparently dwindling numbers of us who still believe in the "original cast" of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men and the animals. They, as any post-Thanksgiving (not to mention postmodern) shopper knows, have been replaced by the road show of reindeer, winter scenes, elves and the God substitute, Santa Claus, who serves as a front for merchants seeking to play on the guilt some parents bear for ignoring their kids the rest of the year.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | December 5, 2002
Charles Dickens' miserly curmudgeon, who is visited by ghosts of the past, present and future on Christmas Eve, has held unique appeal since he was introduced in 1843. Gaining added musical charm recently, Ebenezer Scrooge now rivals Santa Claus as a holiday favorite. Like Santa, Scrooge is ubiquitous at holiday time, popping up simultaneously at several locations. One singing Scrooge opened Saturday to a full house at Chesapeake Music Hall. Another opens tonight at Colonial Players and a third opens at Chesapeake Arts Center tomorrow.
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