Gary Harmon Column December 25, 2009

Christmas spirit lives all year long, we hope

In case you’re wondering, that unshaven, sleepless, craggy face that you awoke to in the mirror this morning is that of the spirit of Christmas.

Yep, we’re talking about you there, Bucko. Stay with me, it’s Christmas and unlike Chuck Dickens, we haven’t got all night.

As you might have noted, the country is in a recession, one that the most pessimistic of us say will grow only more deep and long.

You have heard those pernicious prognostications and, appropriately enough, scaled back a bit this Yuletide season.

But not so much that the neighbors think you’ve gone agnostic, or worse. No, there still are gifts underneath the tree, which happens to have plenty of sparkling, twinkling lights. Your front yard is just as well-decorated as it ever was, even if you have decided against updating the icicle lights that are getting a bit musty.

To be sure, all the boy and girl elves who labor daily at MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express are cheering your name as they collate and staple together the multiple pages of your charges for all the events that lead up to this paper-ripping crescendo we call Christmas morning.

Come Friday morning, you’re expected to get back to it, cooking spuds, spudding wells, gearing up for cold calls, driving trucks, hauling rock, taking notes, taking names, taking temperatures, giving shots, laying brick — you know the drill as well as anyone.

That’s because you know a few truths, the first of which is that we’re all counting on you.

Someone has to be good for the $700 billion that is being handed out from Washington, D.C., to everyone, even the United Auto Workers and the corn-ethanol cartel.

That’s right, and it makes no sense.

The butcher, baker or candlestick maker, however, will get nothing but the credit-card bill in the end.

If you, Mr. and Mrs. Christmas Spirit, don’t keep plugging along, the entire deal grinds to a halt. If, on the other hand, you keep earning — and you buy well and with care — you keep the wheels of the economy spinning.

The more the economy spins, the more work there is and the more people are needed to get all the work done.

You live in the country that first came to the simple realization that the key thing is the transaction. The more business that’s done, the more there is to do.

All the Christmas scolds who wring their hands and complain about the crass commercialization of the season can’t wait to also bemoan the slowing economy.

Some people are even whining that Christmas lights harm the Earth.

That’s Scrooge’s territory and Dickens needed three helpers to guide everyone’s favorite squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner out of that darkness.

Here’s the fact: To attack commercialism is to undermine the economy, the very thing no one wants to see South Pole-bound this time of year.

We all want to see another cheery Christmas in 365 days. To accomplish that, you, and the rest of us, will have to do what we’ve been doing: keeping the Christmas spirit all year long.

Merry Christmas.


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