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Down the Road

Oh Christmas
By Milton M. Gross
Dec 20, 2015 - 3:15:33 AM

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One of many Christmas trees that have graced our living rooms over many years. Milt Gross photo.
Christmas is here again. Oh joy, oh Christmas....for those with money and their kids.

I remember my childhood Christmases, the train trips to Philadelphia, the heavy shopping, buying a tree over in the town and dragging it home since my father had quit driving due to a health problem, putting it up....the tons of presents under it.

Those were great Christmases. Of course, looking back, we had the ingredient that made it all possible and And a family with mother, father, and three children.

But there are too many without those ingredients, older and retired and alone as well as the kids of the less fortunate.

I recall frantically shopping in the Lewiston Mall for Christmas gifts at the last minute. Why did we put it off? Money, or the lack of it. Relatives sent us Christmas gifts, including money, which arrived just in time for that trip to Santa's hangout, the mall where all kinds of gifts awaited.

Of course, we drove 500 miles to visit both our sets of parents right after Christmas, so, another Christmas of course, we kind of jammed our family Christmas in before we left. Up with the Christmas tree, down with the presents. Quick, open them before we leave -- tomorrow? I forget when. We had our Christmas and then struck out, following Santa's path south, only on the turnpike rather than in a sleigh. We arrived tired, or course, got a couple of hours sleep, and then dealt with -- the proper term for "enjoyed" -- two Christmases at two sets of parents and grandparents.

Then, as today, part of me just wanted it all done.

Today we're living in a nice apartment house, but the other inhabitants are kind of beyond everything. Their kids are grown up and gone. Their spouses are dead or gone to a better world of after divorce. The manager tries to make things pleasant, putting up that fake Christmas tree and spreading words of cheer. How do you find words of cheer to a group that is basically beyond cheer?

Today's Christmas has many blatant ads for where to spend your Christmas bucks. Which must make it hard for the many many who are beyond a pleasant Christmas because of a lack of Christmas bucks. And those ads on TV are a real nuisance, mostly because with all their hype, cheer, and nonsense, you know they want your money.

The advertisers' Christmas present is your money.

There are the crowds who drive and fly many miles for Christmas. God bless them for all the turmoil they have caused themselves and their thousands of fellow Christmas travelers. Okay, the young ones heading home for Christmas probably enjoy the whole thing -- if they have enough money to do it right. But most don't have all that money.

They just spend what they have.

Poor old Santa in his cubicle in the store, where the not yet awake-to-the facts line up to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

But wait! There's a real Christmas story buried just behind all this commotion. Mary and Joseph, with little money, found a stable where she could place their baby. Their baby, remember him, the one who was born in a stall somewhere -- because his parents had no money.

Then came the wise men, a year or two later, so historians tell us. They brought those gifts that we can't even pronounce.

That Christmas baby grew up to become the Savior or the world...all the people in that world whether or not they had or have money or can enjoy their Christmases.

Now if you're not Christian, you follow some other mid-winter holiday tradition, which is okay.

But for those of us who are...really Christians....that Christmas message was brought to us by the poor, for the poor....and everyone else while they were at it.

So, whether you're poor or wealthy and no matter where you are for this year's biggest and most expensive holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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