Every few years, the dateline of The Press falls right on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. That leaves the space below wide open for Christmas memories, anecdotes and commentary. Having read most of the other community columns in two editions for this week, it seems to be a theme this year especially.One columnist’s holiday theme caught my attention: Neil Salvaggio, who writes about the greater Westhampton area (and heads up our classifieds department), named his top ten holiday movies. It’s a great list and, I think, his top three are pretty spot on—3.“Christmas Vacation,” 2. “A Christmas Story,” and 1. “Elf.”
“A Christmas Story” is just an amazing Christmas classic, so much so that it runs in a loop all day on Christmas on one channel. I’m not a huge silly comedy fan but the other two movies are such fun that I could not help laughing along with my husband and son, who are much more easily amused than I.
But when I saw Neil on Monday after reading his column, I asked whether he had seen “A Christmas Carol,” the newer version starring Patrick Stewart. This would be my top pick, pushing Neil’s number one and two down a notch. The Dickens story of transformation is well worth revisiting each year. It is said by some to be the start of the tradition of giving that is associated with Christmas but, more important, it is about taking the time to notice the plight of others around you … and if you have the means, do something to help.
In the made-for-TV holiday lineup, I’d have to give “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the nod for my all time favorite. I still get a lump in my throat when Linus responds to Charlie Brown’s lament: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
He quotes scripture from Luke in the New Testament of the Bible, something that was controversial even then in 1965 when it first aired. Peanuts creator insisted that it be included. Linus’s passionate response even turns around the cynical Snoopy, who epitomized the over-commercialization of the holiday. And you can’t beat the soundtrack.
If you’ve spent lots of time indoors at holiday parties this week, then you might want to head out for the (Night After) Full Cold Moon Hike on Saturday, December 26. The walk, from 6 to 7 p.m., is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Long Pond Greebelt and the South Fork Natural History Museum. It will be a leisurely paced hike in Vineyard Field, the field behind the SoFo Museum, followed by a gathering afterward to enjoy the moonlight. Meet at the SoFo Museum parking lot, 377 Bridgehampton Turnpike, 200 yards north of the railroad tracks. For reservations, call the museum at 537-9735 or, on the night of the event, contact leader Jean Dodds at (631) 599-2391.
And did you know that the Earth will be graced with a rare sight this Christmas? The first full moon in almost 40 years will rise on the holiday.
According to NASA, the moon will reach its peak at 6:11 a.m. EST on Christmas morning. The last time this happened was in 1977 and it won’t happen again until 2034. It is called a Full Cold Moon because it coincides with the beginning of winter.
There’s another hiking opportunity, better for the morning people, on Sunday, December 27, of the Long Pond Greenbelt North Circuit from 10 a.m. until noon. The 4-mile hike will offer spectacular views of Long Pond, Little Long Pond and Crooked Pond. Meet at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor. For more information, call hike leader Dai Dayton at (631) 745-0689.
And so, this concludes Grist for the Mill for 2015. As always, I appreciate the input I get from readers and hope I hear from many of you in 2016. Merry Christmas and wishes for a prosperous New Year!