Every year at this time there is a certain amount of hand wringing that the holidays should be less commercial and focused more on the family. Layoffs, fear of layoffs, tight credit and declining home values continue to cast a pall over the economy and the spirits of many of us during this holiday season, just as last year.
Christmas 2009 is hardly the minimalist event the Puritans envisioned and vainly sought to enforce, but most people say they are spending less this year on gifts, food, entertainment and travel, all those things synonymous with a holiday.
This is not good for the economy, although this holiday season seems better thus far than last year's, which was the poorest in nearly 40 years. Charities continue to hold their breath that the gray times do not pinch Americans' traditional generosity.
We said in this space last year that we hoped that we could look back on it as the last Christmas of the recession. That obviously has not come to pass, unfortunately. We utter the same hope for this Christmas, however.
And what we all need is a strong dose of Christmas, with its ecumenical spirit of rebirth and hope and the embrace of the possibility that one day there will truly be, as the angel said, "peace on earth, good will toward men."