This month the Hood River News has published the first edition of “12 Columns of Christmas,” a booklet containing editorials written by Editor Kirby Neumann-Rea from our Christmas papers between 2000 and 2012.
Each bears a Christmas message, drawn from adult, juvenile and children’s literature, folklore, song lyrics, Scripture and other sources.
David Marvin designed “12 Columns,” and Deb Jones, Tony Methvin and Rick Ursprung of Columbia Gorge Press oversaw its printing.
All proceeds from the sale of “12 Columns of Christmas” go to Hood River Warming Shelter.
Copies are available for $5 at Hood River News, Waucoma Bookstore, and at the participating Warming Shelter supporting churches and organizations: Riverside Community Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hood River Nazarene, Mid-Columbia Center for Living, St. Mark’s Episcopal, and Hood River Valley Christian Church.
Call Neumann-Rea at 541-386-1234 if you would like multiple copies.
Christmas in its purest form is an observance both solemn and celebratory. In Christmas there are two sides that do sometimes seem to contradict: the poverty of Mary and Joseph and the social realities underlining Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” countered by the joviality of the modern Santa Claus and our predilection for bulging stockings.
This is the time “to be of good cheer,” yet any Christmas season is tinged with gravity as well as gaiety. Christmas and the New Year celebration bring out contemplation on the trials of the year behind us.
Yet it is not a slight on Christmas to point out its own tinsel; Christmas literature can help us laugh.
“I am in a holiday humor,” wrote William Shakespeare.
What parent or child can’t relate to Marcelene Cox’s comment: “Our children await Christmas presents like politicians getting election returns; there’s the Uncle Fred precinct and the Aunt Ruth district still to come in.”
Our most popular Christmas writings featured “a little old driver so lively and quick,” who names his reindeer things like Donder and Blitzen. Saint Nick has “cheeks like roses and a nose like a cherry.”
Christmas gives us the chance to laugh — a gift we often forget to give ourselves. “How many old recollections, and how many dormant sympathies, does Christmas time awaken!” wrote Dickens.