Christmas can bring out the best in people

December 06, 2010|By BILL KOHLER |

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go ...”
OK, OK, so it’s really been looking a lot like Christmas since before Halloween, but I’m not talking about the stores and the malls.
What I’m talking about requires some Christmas concentration, some opening of your eyes beyond the interstate.
Here’s the cool thing about Christmas, in addition to celebrating its true meaning:
Christmas tends to bring out the best in people and if you look around, you can see the signs.
Businesses throughout the Tri-State area — and the country, I figure — are supporting worthy causes this holiday season. You can’t turn around without seeing a Toys for Tots sign in a window or on a marquee.
Grocery stores and department stores are asking customers if they’d like to “donate a dollar today” to some worthy cause like the Make-A-Wish Foundation or Children’s Miracle Network.
Plus, individuals and businesses are a big part of the free dinners in the area during the holidays, volunteering, and donating food and money.
And what about the dedicated folks who are out in the cold ringing the bell for The Salvation Army? That’s noble and a show of love for your fellow man.
Local church parishioners empty their pocketbooks in support of the needy in their communities and around the world.
So why is it that people talk a little sweeter, act a little kinder and love a little deeper come yuletide season?
I think it’s a combination of things.
First, I think the season of giving tends to bring out the best in most people. You know, the part that’s deep within us all that wants to be the good Samaritan, the do-gooder, the one who shares what he has with those in need at this time of year.
Second, it’s the end of the year and people get reflective. For me, 2010 was a weird year healthwise, and I made a vow to get healthier and take better care of myself as I head into 2011. It also made me think about others who have less, and how I was pretty self-centered (shocking, I know).
People tend to want to end the year on a giving note and Christmas is a perfect time to find worthy causes.
Third, our emotions are vulnerable. Sappy Christmas music (which I kind of like), holiday movies that tug on the heartstrings and the thought that all of your family (even the dog and cat) will be around the Christmas tree on Dec. 25 can transform even the greenest Grinch. It makes you long for better, simpler days when loved ones were alive and well.
Fran Britsch, the very cool lady who organizes the 12 Days of Christmas charity effort for the Waynesboro (Pa.) Area YMCA, summed it up nicely for me the other day.
“People just want to help,” she said. “They are just looking for a way to give to others who need it.”
Thanks, Fran.
Too bad that Christmas feeling can’t stick around all year long.
Speaking of Christmas gifts, my family and I received one Friday night.
We attended the Waynesboro Children’s Theater Troupe production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
This weekend’s play was the 15th by the group. It was directed by Steve Kulla and Melody Gober, and featured 102 performers, all 18 and younger.
“Wow” is the best word to describe it. “Joseph” is not an easy play to pull off and the kids looked like pros up there. The sets, costumes and music were excellent, and the performance by Mat Levine as Joseph was superb.
The pit band was tight and talented and the sound was great for a middle school auditorium.
I think every town has its share of best-kept secrets, and the Children’s Theater Troupe now joins the ranks of Antietam Dairy as two of Waynesboro’s finest in my book.
Four stars to all involved.

Bill Kohler is Tri-State Editor of The Herald-Mail. His columns appear regularly and also are available online at Reach him at or 800-626-6397, ext. 7281.

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