Truly the most satisfying part of being a journalist is coming up with timely, meaningful topics about which to write passionately. Journalists take great pride in finding an issue – homelessness, hunger, corruption, for examples – and writing or producing a product that sheds light on that issue and positively affects the people in their audience.
This is not one of those instances.
Instead, this is a case of a journalist recycling a handful of holiday columns, because, well, he can. Over the next couple of days I will present those holiday columns I wrote years ago. These are not particularly poignant tales of redemption or reunion. For the most part, these were columns I wrote on deadline to fill a hole on a page. (There! I admitted it!)
But there may be nuggets of wit here and there, so I urge you to read on just for fun.
Holiday spirit takes off
Editor’s note: The author was the opinion page editor of The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., when this column was first published on Dec. 10, 2003.
By Keith Michaud
It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas around Vacaville – the Christmas tree downtown and garland on the lampposts, holiday decorations at every turn, and the throng of holiday shoppers have arrived from parts far and wide.
Yep, there’s nothing quite like seeing grown folks wrestling in the aisles of local department stores pitted in battle over an $8.99 toy or a $2.99 Christmas ribbon.
Ah, even I’m beginning to feel that holiday spirit growin’ inside me. Or it could be heartburn from my breakfast burrito.
At any rate, I’m thinking about perhaps possibly beginning my holiday shopping list to be checked not once, but twice. And I might actually get to the actual shopping by, say, Christmas Eve. Boxing Day at the latest.
I’m not one to rush into such things. After all, I’ve had all year to plot my holiday shopping strategy. I don’t want to blow it now by rushing it at the end.
Of course, first on my holiday shopping list will be my Mom and sister and her family. Shipping packages back to the Deep Dark North Woods of Maine requires planning and timing. It also requires knowing plane, train and stagecoach schedules in order to get the packages there on time. But after living in California for the past 20 years, I think I may have mastered the technique. I think.
More on that later …
* * *
California lawmakers should feel fortunate. They only have to deal with a state budget that looks much like Swiss cheese and a governor the size of a Swiss, er, Austrian mountain. They don’t have to deal with a Christmas tree scandal.
The speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Tom Craddick, put up a plastic, made-in-China Christmas tree in the House and now has the state’s Christmas tree farmers up in arms, according to a Reuters story.
“I think people can deduce for themselves about what it means to have a plastic Christmas tree from China in the Texas State House,” the story quoted Lanny Dreesen, a Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association spokesman.
Hm, Mr. Dreesen seems to have a Texas-size temper.
I’ve been in this business a while now and I deduced a couple of things – don’t mess with Texas, and don’t mess with Texas Christmas tree farmers.
If I had my choices, I’d want to deal with budget woes over fending off an attack by Christmas tree growers. Imagine the political clout these growers have, especially at this time of the year. Imagine the lawsuits they could bring.
Yep, I’m getting that holiday spirit.