One word sums up Christmas in the homes of many families: tradition.
Traditions, however, can be as different as each household. But whatever evolves into tradition does so because it’s important to a family or person.
One tradition in my house is the revival of a Christmas village I fondly remember from when I was a child.
Then, it was mother’s sparkling, snow-covered cardboard village nestled on her sideboard between mountains of cotton-batting snowbanks. I loved looking at that village and wondering about the imaginary people who lived inside the little lighted-up houses.
Now, it’s a ceramic English village that sparks my grandchildren’s imagination as they stare at snow-covered shops and houses and villagers scurrying about town, singing carols, shopping for their Christmas goose, riding the stage from Victoria station.
It’s all make-believe, but this tradition warms my heart as I watch others step back into time a couple of hundred years and imagine Christmas as some of us think it should be celebrated.
There are other, more practical traditions equally important to Spokane families, like helping others enjoy a happy Christmas in the here-and-now by donating to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund.
That’s what Ray and Ann Sampson, 304 W. Spruce Court, did this month when they mailed a $100 check to the Christmas Fund with this note:
“We are once again contributing to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund hoping it will help many families enjoy the holiday season.”
So far, a total of $4,156.81 has been received.
It seems one of the best ways to receive Christmas joy is to share a bit of your own.
Some have given to the Christmas Fund their entire adult lives, following a tradition begun by their parents. Some widowers carry on the tradition of giving to the fund because their now-deceased wives thought it important and enjoyed giving to it. The men traditionally give in the memories of the women they loved and shared their lives with.
The late Clarence Colby, a phar macist and photographer, started giving to the Christmas Fund years ago, and he wanted that tradition to outlive him. So, when he drew up his will, he directed that the Christmas Fund should receive a portion of his estate for years to come.
This year, the Clarence Colby Memorial Fund donated $387 to benefit Spokane children whose parents find themselves in a financial bind this Christmas.
Even businesses have traditions. Burlington Northern traditionally matches its employees’ charitable contributions.
Last year, Tony Tecca, a member of RAILPAC, the company’s political action committee, donated $240, which the company matched with a check after the 1994 contributions had been tallied. The money, of course, was saved to be used this year.
Last year, Spokane’s Mildred Jensen sent a $200 check after the closing date, so her gift has been recorded for this year’s drive.
Star Rentals of Seattle matched the $25 gift of Don J. Miller, a Spokane employee; and an anonymous Spokesman-Review subscriber gave another $25.
The seven students in the sixth grade 1993-94 APPLE class at Franklin Elementary, 2626 E. 17th, gave $25 so other children their age could have a happy holiday.
If you want to start - or continue - a worthy Christmas tradition by supporting The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, here are a few incentives for you to consider:
Every bit of your gift will help pay for food vouchers for needy families and help buy toys for their children, up to 18 years old.
Nothing is withheld to pay salaries, rent or overhead of any kind.
The Spokesman-Review only collects the money, which is all turned over to the three non-profit agencies operating the bureau: the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and the Volunteers of America.
Your gift is tax-exempt.
Each donor’s name, address and gift amount is published in the newspaper, unless anonymity is requested, as a way to say “thank you.”
Every donor, every gift and every recipient is computerized and accounted for.