, Newburyport, MA

December 6, 2013

Take some of the green out of Christmas

Newburyport Daily News

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It's Wednesday, Dec. 4 of 2013 at this writing. The sky is light gray and the weather people are telling us that rain is in the offing.

Mother Nature has been keeping us mighty dry and there are only 20 more shopping days until Christmas.

Locally, the high water mark of Quill'sPond on Hay Street is still down some two feet.

Contrarily, Little River appears to be flooding low spots on Newman Road more frequently at high tides, and all such matters have relevance.

But to Christmas ?

Christmas is said to be more about business and less about its religious importance, but don't try to sell that to tens of hundreds of millions.

There is, however, the health of our economic climate involved, as well as the what the weather might be to give Santa Claus fits.

If it's to be a Christmas snow where snow is possible, then it's for Rudolf and the rest of Santa's team to have a great time getting around.

If it's to be rain, he will have to make other arrangements.

As for what shoppers had in mind, many apparently didn't wait for Black Friday nationally, even as sales reports show they were spending a little less this year than last even though they started earlier.

It could be that the weather just hasn't been Christmas like in too many places, but more than likely it's a sign of people fastening their belts a notch or two.

National totals are all inclusive, and the average individual expenditure was down from last year.

The economic conditions of some states, however, are mixed and some, as we use to say in Great Depression days, are ''up against it" and so are many of their residents.

We heard "up against it" a lot during the Great Depression when so many families were struggling just to keep a roof over their heads.

Business, like the weather, is local as well as national.

Christmas is what we make of it, and for many, the world around, it is among the holiest of days.

We can't do anything about the weather, but we can about Christmas.

Most of us find a way to do it. We do it for family members and friends.

None do it better than those who give of themselves to others as an outpouring of spirituality.

We, unlike the forecasters, can make more of the Christmas climate then they when we reach from our hearts more than from our wallets.

As for the weather, if our spirits are warm enough, it really doesn't matter.

Bill Plante is a staff columnist.