The View from the Pines: Suggestions to make the holidays less gloomy


By JIM COLEMAN, Special to The Paper

I guess we have all experienced the new phenomenon by now…SHORTAGES.  Last year it was toilet paper.  Then when the “angel of death” seemed to have passed us by, we started hearing of more shortages. 

Nobody wants to come to work.  Truck drivers are in desperate demand.  Grocery store shelves are empty of items that are hard to relate back to the pandemic.  Toys have been flying off the Walmart shelves (not that I’d know from personal experience), gasoline is soaring and so is inflation.  A few years ago, I would have never guessed that we would be in this situation.  We hear things like this about third world countries but who knew we’d be next?  The good news is, we are not on the brink of World War III.  We know this because France hasn’t surrendered to anybody yet!

In the midst of the holidays, I just refuse to be dragged down by all this gloomy news and this ridiculous situation in which we find ourselves.  It occurred to me the other day that this could just be a test from the Great Christmas Spirit in the sky to force us to refocus on the things that are important.  If you take a step back, it seems trite and shallow and that we are allowing the spirit of Christmas to be dampened by the lack of toys on the shelves and backorders from Amazon.  Maybe in retrospect, 2021 will be the year that we collectively realign our approach and our values and pay attention to things that are really important.

I have a couple of suggestions:

Get off the internet.  Get out and shop locally.  Visit with local shopkeepers and with other customers in the store.  Invite a neighbor to have a cup of coffee on the square.  Bake cookies and invite kids to decorate them without caring what they look like when they are finished.  Remember that the Food Network and HGTV are fake.  Those shows have taken our attention off the experience and forced us to subconsciously believe that as soon as time is up, we are going to be adjudicated by a little man in a sequined jacket and mean lady from England and will subsequently be forced to get our stuff and leave. Remember that your house should be a reflection of you and your family and it should not look like Joanna Gaines threw up in it.

My personal favorite thing to focus on is ART.  We are surrounded by extremely talented people who paint, sculpt, make pottery, make music and make delicious and beautiful things to eat.  These folks are often covered up by all the noise, but they continue to pursue their talent or craft because they love it.  Their love and dedication are in each piece they create.  These guys are a constant.  We are the ones who need to slow down and pay attention to what they do.  Try to imagine Florence without the great masterpieces of art and sculpture, but remember that they were financed by the great bankers and businesses of the city.  Art makes us human … but it’s not free.

So this year, I intend to entertain family and friends in my home, decorate cookies with kids from the neighborhood and my family, have twice as many fires in the fireplace as I did last year, make contributions in honor or memory of special people, buy a new painting or piece of pottery from somebody in town and eat fried pies from Bolton’s Bakery.  Remember, you must ALLOW shortages at Wallyworld to ruin your day!  

Regardless of your religious or ethnic background, there is an ever present message for everyone in the Christmas experience.  Peace comes to men who are of Good Will.

Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationist, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jim chose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.


  1. Peggy 9 December, 2021 at 10:33 Reply
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    Good article. If everyone would just heed this advice

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