Waking up on Christmas morning is one of life’s great moments.
There’s the excitement you had as a child quietly sneaking to the living room while the rest of the house slept, hoping for a glimpse of the joy that would soon be unwrapped.
Or the time a little mistletoe helped out with your true love.
Maybe it’s the warm feeling that comes over you as you close your eyes in prayer on a day so central to your faith.
There’s even the emptiness of experiencing the holiday for the first time without the person who always held your hand or shared a smile with you while doing something so simple, but so enjoyable, like sitting on the couch together while others opened gifts.
These are the moments that make a life well lived. And this is the day on the calendar that often etches memories some place deeper.
When I was just a puppy, my parents got me wonderful Christmas presents. Yet all I remember are the moments.
Well, and that amazing light-up X-Wing Fighter.
I grew up in a three-newspaper house. Our morning paper was The Topeka Capital-Journal. Our afternoon paper was either The Ottawa Herald or Emporia Gazette, depending on which had the best deal at renewal time. And our weekly newspaper was the Osage City Free-Press.
The one thing every one of them had in common was that they all basically had nothing in them on Christmas morning. On a day when our whole family could really enjoy the paper, there wasn’t much in it to enjoy.
I always thought that was a shame.
Reading a newspaper on Christmas morning is a treasure. And a newspaper published on Dec. 25 should feel different. Because it is different.
On a typical weekday morning, you take in the paper at your breakfast table, probably with a great cup of coffee. And you lean in. On Sunday morning, you spread the paper out, find all the good stuff, hope that new computer or recliner you want is finally on sale. And you lean in.
But everything feels different today. Maybe it’s that the pace is more comfortable. Or maybe it’s that the monthslong buildup to this exact day is now over.
For whatever reason, when you finally grab your copy of The Spokesman-Review, you head for your favorite chair. And you lean back.
You see, that’s what makes a great read on Christmas – something you can savor and enjoy. On this day, you want a “lean-back” newspaper, not a “lean-forward” newspaper.
So, when you finally get a chance to sit down with us today, I hope you’re in a comfortable place and ready to lean back, because we’ve worked hard over the past several weeks to make sure this morning’s Spokesman-Review is something you can really relax with.
Please take a little closer look at our front page today.
It’s such a beautiful image taken by one of our senior photographers, Colin Mulvany. Colin is among this nation’s great newspaper photographers. Spokane is his home. He recently won one of the more prestigious awards a photographer can get in this area of the country.
A photo like what Colin took for today’s front page just doesn’t happen. The work and thought that went into capturing that amazing image was fascinating and inspirational to watch from my desk.
Scouting the location. Working with several people in our newsroom to secure the props. Finding the perfect Santa costume. Figuring out how to light a Christmas tree when you don’t have electricity. Our photo staff all rallied behind the cause.
Yes, it’s literally a Christmas card to all of our readers. But look even closer.
Our city looks wonderful, right? The lights are practically twinkling downtown, the falls are rushing, and the snow is exactly where it is supposed to be. And for some reason, that Santa sure seems familiar.
He is. That’s because it’s Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal as the perfect Saint Nick, totally going over Spokane’s naughty-and-nice list, along with his marshmallow-roasting elf, Eliza Manz. Eliza is the daughter of our newspaper’s Voices editor, Kimberly Lusk.
It wasn’t just that all those involved in taking that magical photo were great sports, because it was much more than that.
You see, this is one of those life moments that all of us involved with will never forget.
And when you turn the page, you can’t help but notice the inside pages are different than they normally look. When you pull it all apart, you see these beautiful pieces of art from our newspaper’s incredibly talented illustrator, Molly Quinn.
Then there’s the writing. The words on that page are as beautiful as Molly’s artwork.
Shawn makes a great Santa. But trying to convince him not to shave for several weeks, wear some red robes in a public park on an extremely cold day, and strongly consider a 5,000-calorie daily diet while trying to get into the perfect shape for this role was a lot harder than asking him to write about what giving really means to us.
After you read his essay, you’ll understand how the warm feelings that cover us today like our favorite blanket don’t need to go away.
Paul Turner is such a familiar face and friend to many here in the Inland Northwest. For many of us, a day doesn’t begin until we’ve read Paul’s column.
Today, Paul takes us to a place many of us have only seen in pictures.
He vividly transports us back to this day in Spokane, but generations ago. His words are filled with so much that is good and wise. And, in his characteristic voice, makes us smile. But his words also are a love letter to Spokane, lightly scented with gingerbread, peppermint and hot cocoa.
Then there is the reason for the season.
We’re blessed to have the Rev. Kate LePard, a pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Spokane, remind us what today is really all about. It’s a story we’ve all heard many times before, yet reading it in a newspaper somehow makes it feel a little different.
It’s because these are the moments that move us. Our friends and family. Our memories of another time. And our beliefs.
All of us at The Spokesman-Review are so grateful that you invite us into your homes. We want to wish you all a very merry Christmas. And we hope you’ll enjoy today’s special holiday paper while leaning back in your favorite chair, surrounded by all of your favorite people.
Rob Curley is the editor of The Spokesman-Review.
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