Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 8:03 am | Overcast 65º


Ron Fink: Christmas Has Always Meant Good Will and Happiness

 Christmas is one of the best holidays of the year; it is an iconic day celebrating the birth of Christ.
When I was young, Christmas morning was the long-awaited culmination of a boy’s hopes and dreams. I lived in the San Fernando Valley where we saw angels, mangers, tumbleweed snowmen and Santa’s sleighs erected in front of City Hall, the library and many other public places.
My mom and dad always took us to Wilshire Avenue along the “miracle mile” in downtown Los Angeles where all the stores were alight with merry displays.

Some of the store windows had elaborate religious scenes complete with moving figures, huge Lionel train sets looping through miniature towns, and seemingly live reindeer pulling gift-laden sleighs through the winter sky.
Those were the good old days — no 24-hour news networks, no Internet to bombard us with more information than we could possibly process and no cell phones. And, only a handful of black-and-white TV stations to entertain us.
I still remember the first time I saw snow on Christmas. Coming from southern California, the only snow we saw was on our TV screen. One winter it snowed, but then it was quickly gone as the winter sun came up.
A few years later, I was stationed with the U.S. Air Force at Rhine-Main Air Base, just outside of Frankfurt, Germany, and it snowed several inches of big fluffy flakes on the night before Christmas. To an 18-year-old far from home, it was an amazing sight.

I took a long walk in the pine forest surrounding our air base that morning, then went to the mess hall for dinner.
The military always has a big feast on Thanksgiving and Christmas, especially overseas where the young men and women are so far from home. This was no different; we ate turkey, stuffing, gravy and lots of baked goods.
As I grew older, I remember Christmas parties where people gathered and exchanged small gifts, ate lots of food and shared some cheer. Church celebrations were always full of smiling and singing people who were all very happy with life and brimming with good cheer.

There were Christmas plays in schools and Jimmy Stewart always saved Christmas from the Grinch.
Yes, Christmas has always meant good will and happiness.
A few years ago, the displays in public places started disappearing. A handful of misguided people have ruled the day and are trying to exclude this joyous holiday from “official” public discussion.

Christmas parties have now been replaced with the more politically correct “holiday gatherings,” school children take a “winter break,” we have “holiday parades” or a parade of lights, and mangers now only appear in our neighbors’ yards.  
Our grandchildren are not allowed to sing or hum carols in many schools for fear they will somehow be tainted by the positive message of Christmas. And those Christmas skits and plays are mostly gone.
Here in Lompoc there are some encouraging signs. Some brave shopkeepers have erected Christmas-themed displays in our storefronts.

Most developers have done away with the large windows that used to house the colorful displays in their anchor stores probably because of “security reasons,” but some remain and many are decorated.
But, Christmas lights and displays are a common sight in the yards of Lompoc. Hundreds of houses are lit up with icicles, Santas, reindeer and snowmen.  The power lines must hum throughout the month of December as local residents erect even larger displays than the year before.  
Thankfully, the city still places illuminated Christmas trees on all the light poles on the main thoroughfares and there are those Christmas trees all over town which is really sentimental. And a couple of years ago, the City Council reinstated the Christmas Parade.
Lately, I've noticed that Christmas carols are returning to the lineup on radio stations after a multi-year hiatus. Finally, we are slowly getting back to the traditions I remember as a young man.
Some traditions shouldn’t be sacrificed to political correctness,and Christmas is one of those special times that should be left alone.

Merry Christmas to all! Are those sleigh bells I hear in the night sky?
Now, get ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl game.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >