It’s not about that…


Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

The winter holidays are here! Everybody knows at least three of them, probably more. Here’s my top three:

  • Hanukkah: December 10-18.
  • Christmas: December 25.
  • Kwanzaa: December 26-January 1.

And best of all, each one comes with its own celebration. The dictionary says a celebration is “an occasion on which people mark an important date or memory with enjoyable social activities.” But that’s just to stuffy.

What I’m really talking about here is, we love PARTIES! Whether it’s a festive family gathering or a jubilant throng downtown in the streets, if somebody says PARTY, we’re all there!

Parties almost always mean special, wonderful foods and treats, music made for the day, and everybody coming together with a single heart and mind.

Yet most parties tend to drift away, sometimes far, far away from what they were all about. After all, conversations at any holiday party—especially office holiday parties—are famous for going to places that even Star Trek fans would agree, “go where no one has gone before.”

Comic Phyllis Diller once said, “What I hate most about office parties is looking for a new job the next day.”

We even have lists of things to never say at parties, created simply because we always do!

Here’s a list—one of hundreds you can find—of what your party’s not about. If these topics come up, just remember, it’s not about that…

  • Politics—Ask anyone who goes home for the holidays how well talking frankly about politics works out for them.
  • Religion—Second verse, same as the first.
  • Personal Finances—neither yours nor anybody else’s.
  • Health—especially the “organ recitals” about which of your organs is out of tune.
  • Family and relationship issues—get a shrink instead.
  • Gossip—no need to explain why.

So, this holiday season, your Jamestown Gazette offers you a simple thought that we hope will enrich your holiday celebrations, especially of Hanukkah (now just past, but there’s always next year), Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Give a few moments of thought for what it’s really about instead of what it’s not.

  • Holidays have become about spending too much just to say “I love you.” But it’s not about that. The words themselves are a priceless gift.
  • Holidays are for parties. But it’s not about that. Holidays are for paying tribute to the best in our past and for looking forward to more.
  • Religious holidays are being made civil. But they’re not about that. There’s a deeper meaning in them worth celebrating, too.
  • Christmas is about Santa Clause and snowmen. But it’s not about them. Throughout history, some men have sought to become gods, but Christmas is about the God who sought to become a man.
  • Hannukah is said by many to be the “Jewish Christmas.” But it’s not that at all. It’s about a rich and complex history commemorating victory over oppression and sincere worship restored.
  • Some people call Kwanzaa a “knock-off” of Christmas. But it’s clearly not that. Kwanzaa is a secular celebration of Pan-African family and community, in no way disrespectful of anybody’s faith.

Reflecting now on what really is real about our holiday season, please join us in celebrating their meanings this year, too. Our holiday parties, once again and as always, will be wonderful, of course. We’re just adding our own gift this week—and for all the weeks to come in 2023—a moment for reflection on how our holidays came to be.

We wish all of our readers, community leaders, and faithful advertisers a blessed, joy-filled, and reflective holiday season 2022, and a New Year that prospers all your plans for 2023.

Enjoy the read,

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.