You’d better hurry down (up) to the corner of Lehmer and Hannah to catch the penguins and Santa before they all leave for the South and North Poles. The little fellows usually come back to Forest Park for Christmas and then go back home early in January. Santa is already waving good-bye, so hurry before he goes.

You may also catch the picture of energetic, dependable Mauricio Valdovinos who was out early Christmas morning shoveling snow.

There lives in Forest Park a couple who shall be nameless. They are very good neighbors; they welcome neighbors, dogs, children, anyone, into their home. On Christmas Eve, I happened to be one such neighbor. The house was alive with grandchildren, Lego’s, floor games, toys, etc. The in-laws had arrived from all over the land to be together, as many families did that day. I tried to diplomatically ask quietly about how they fielded Santa questions. One of the young mothers told me they do not “do” Santa or gift giving at Christmas. That’s not what Christmas is about and they do not want the young ones to associate Christmas with greed and “getting.” Later in the day, after dark, all the family bundles up and goes out into the yard where grandpa has built a fire in the fire pot, and they all have a snow picnic with s’mores They run and play in the snow until everyone gets too cold, then they all go in to bed with happy memories that will last a lifetime. Long after the toys from Walmart will have rotted away on the shelf. Sorry, plastic never rots, does it? As I walked home I thought about how much of our economy depends on instilling the greed of Christmas “getting” into the minds and hearts of innocent young children. The rest of the economy comes from war. What those little ones really want is time spent with them, listening to them, telling them stories. Santa, ornaments, candy canes, Evergreens and jingle bells all are a happy part of the background of Christmas; they are the essence of what Christmas is in the mind.

It’s a sad day at the Journal/Review. We are losing our beautiful young editor, Katie Drews. Katie, we hardly knew ye. She’s going back to her old job, which didn’t have the money to keep her around full-time. They got more funding and loyal Katie is going back. She worked for Chicago Catholic News, a rather new online publication, run by young Catholics with a new perspective on events in the church. Good luck, Katie. Everyone here will miss you.

Happy anniversary to Doug and Nancy Deuchler, Bob and Barbara Sullivan, Mark and Tammy Vabornik. Happy birthday to Butch Jargstorf, Angela Spinelli, Tom Ahern, Mario Tricoci, Hunta Treiber, Mark Rice, Brenda Powers, Tom Cannon, Ryan Neff, Lauren Trage, Amy Hocheimer, Carol O’Donnell, Rich Gray, Rita Trage, Caitlin Miller, Vic Bisluk, Jenni Jargstorf, Alice and Lara Mellin.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.