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Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2009

Happy holidays, readers!

I hope that area residents had a delightful Hanukkah celebration last week and that area folks will have a joyous Christmas celebration this week. It's always fun when the festive holiday observances coincide, and this is a wonderful season, as countless songwriters have stated over the years.

The economic woes that have occurred this year have made holiday celebrations more restrained in most quarters. The economists contend that improvement is on the way, although many folks have yet to see much, if any, benefit of the anticipated "upturn."

Despite the dire predictions and grim realities, the spirit of the season remains intact. Fortunately, generosity and goodness continue to prevail. Concern for one's neighbor, whether someone down the street or around the globe, continues to be expressed, with corresponding action taken by good people everywhere. Area residents are still helping those in need this holiday season, as evidenced by the donations and voluntary service to various causes, ranging from Boatsie's Boxes and the Free Wheelchair Mission to churches' outreach programs and community endeavors. Individuals might not have as much cash available to help those in need, but they are finding creative ways to stretch their dollars and give as much as they can to area charities.

On the retail front, area stores seem as busy as ever. People might be buying less and watching their funds more closely, but people are shopping. The so-called experts had warned that consumer goods would be in short supply and that "sales" would be almost non-existent this holiday season as retailers took a more conservative approach to stocking their shelves. So far, I haven't noticed any shortages of merchandise, and it seems that retailers are having just as many "sales" events as in past years. Perhaps the bargains aren't as much of a "bargain" as in the past, or the selection isn't as broad, but good deals continue to be offered by our local merchants.

Even as people "shop until they drop," most folks realize that the real meaning of this wondrous season isn't found amid the colorful wrappings or the bright baubles. The true meaning of the holiday can be found in one's heart and, most importantly, in people's relationship with their God. May you find, enjoy and share that true joy.

The contents of the Herndon Room at the former Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy in Wheeling have been moved to the state archives in Charleston. With the consent of the Herndon family, the Sisters of the Visitation have transferred the artifacts to the state archives, which is part of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

We're told that the state archivist was thrilled to receive the documents and papers related to the life and work of the late Judith Herndon, who was a distinguished state senator from Wheeling and a Mount de Chantal graduate. The archivist indicated that the state collection doesn't often receive materials related to former legislators, so the Herndon items will be a valuable addition.

Meanwhile, the fate of the many other valuable artifacts at Mount de Chantal is yet to be determined. Many area residents are concerned that Wheeling-related items remain in the city, but whether that wish becomes a reality is still unknown.

The annual eggnog party and open house at Elmhurst, The House of Friendship, in Wheeling was a smashing success last Sunday afternoon. Residents and guests remarked that it seemed that the ranks of guests were larger than ever.

Of course, this year marks the first holiday season for many new residents who have moved into Elmhurst's attractive new wing or into its lovely renovated older sections. With the addition of more residents, the number of guests at the holiday soiree appears to have increased exponentially.

Executive Director Jamie Crow and her staff outdid themselves this year, with a record number of Christmas trees erected throughout Elmhurst for the holiday season.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at:

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