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Op-ed: Common Sense- ‘Tis the season

I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My wife Janet and I were visiting family in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The weather was warm, the company great and the food good. What more could you want for Thanksgiving?

I did manage to get a few Christmas items on sale for Black Friday that in my case was on Tuesday. Even the Black Friday sales are being moved up. I suppose in this cyber world, where everyone — including me — finds themselves buying more and more things online, the retail community must take every opportunity to push its wares. For what it is worth, there are many items that are best not purchased online and probably never will be.

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Having come clean on my current shopping habits, I will be shopping locally for all sorts of items, ranging from wine to books as well as candy and cookies. Our avenues are populated with small businesses owned and operated by individuals who reside locally or nearby. There are plenty of bargains for high-quality wares. More importantly, our small businesses depend on your patronage to remain viable. Do plan to do some of your holiday shopping locally.

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It appears due to the efforts of Councilmember Brannan, with strong support from the Dyker Heights Civic Association and community, that street vendors will not be a part of this year’s Dyker Christmas light show. I grew up on 80th Street between 10th and Seventh avenues at a time when the lights were considered a tribute to the birth of Christ.

Dyker simply had bigger displays. You would take visiting family to see the lights and some visitors would come from other communities, but a tourist attraction it was not.

I realize we will not be able to turn the clock back to this quieter time. With that in mind, losing the vendors and having an improved plan in effect for the tourist buses is a good thing. What we also need is a bit more of a police presence seven evenings a week, directing traffic and managing what can be a crushing crowd.    

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Let us not forget that Christ is the reason for the season! Shopping, gifts, great food, holiday parties and cheer are all nice. Of course, for Christians this is all secondary to the Dec. 25 celebration of the birth of Christ followed by the Epiphany on January 6. We should all make an effort to honor the season’s true meaning.

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Next Monday, Dec. 8, marks the 31st year of my writing this weekly column. I have not missed a single week and, as such, not a single column. I wish once again to thank my editors, the publisher and my readers for allowing me each week to express my views on a variety of topics. Thank you.

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