12 Columns of Christmas: To benefit the Hood River Warming Shelter

This month the Hood River News has published the first edition of “12 Columns of Christmas,” a booklet containing editorials written by Editor Kirby Neumann-Rea from our Christmas papers between 2000 and 2012.

Each bears a Christmas message, drawn from adult, juvenile and children’s literature, folklore, song lyrics, Scripture and other sources.

David Marvin designed “12 Columns,” and Deb Jones, Tony Methvin and Rick Ursprung of Columbia Gorge Press oversaw its printing.

All proceeds from the sale of “12 Columns of Christmas” go to Hood River Warming Shelter.

Copies are available for $5 at Hood River News, Waucoma Bookstore, and at the participating Warming Shelter supporting churches and organizations: Riverside Community Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hood River Nazarene, Mid-Columbia Center for Living, St. Mark’s Episcopal, and Hood River Valley Christian Church.

Call Neumann-Rea at 541-386-1234 if you would like multiple copies.

An excerpt:

Christmas in its purest form is an observance both solemn and celebratory. In Christmas there are two sides that do sometimes seem to contradict: the poverty of Mary and Joseph and the social realities underlining Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” countered by the joviality of the modern Santa Claus and our predilection for bulging stockings.

This is the time “to be of good cheer,” yet any Christmas season is tinged with gravity as well as gaiety. Christmas and the New Year celebration bring out contemplation on the trials of the year behind us.

Yet it is not a slight on Christmas to point out its own tinsel; Christmas literature can help us laugh.

“I am in a holiday humor,” wrote William Shakespeare.

What parent or child can’t relate to Marcelene Cox’s comment: “Our children await Christmas presents like politicians getting election returns; there’s the Uncle Fred precinct and the Aunt Ruth district still to come in.”

Our most popular Christmas writings featured “a little old driver so lively and quick,” who names his reindeer things like Donder and Blitzen. Saint Nick has “cheeks like roses and a nose like a cherry.”

Christmas gives us the chance to laugh — a gift we often forget to give ourselves. “How many old recollections, and how many dormant sympathies, does Christmas time awaken!” wrote Dickens.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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