By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: Finding the best holiday message

“Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”

We often join those sentiments into one greeting about two very different celebrations: One observes the birth of Christ augmented by the human warmth of good cheer among family, friends and neighbors; the other acknowledges a global calendar change that prompts departures from the past and promises for the future.

Throughout this year-end season we spread all manner of holiday wishes via cards and letters and personal greetings. With thanks to the photo-sharing platform Shutterfly, here are just a few suggestions:

“We wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.”

“We hope your holidays will be filled with joy and laughter through the New Year.”

“Wishing you a joyous holiday season with peace & cheer in the New Year!”

“Wishing you all the joys of the season and happiness throughout the coming year.”

“May the holiday spirit be with you and your family today and throughout the New Year.”

Historians have identified thousands of years of human traditions and celebrations surrounding the eight days of Christmas through New Year’s. Writers and artists have commemorated the season with meaningful sounds and images that deliver fulfilling messages.

One message — one wish — most appropriate in 2024 comes from the surprisingly recent Christmas carol, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

What many assume is an age-old Christmas classic actually was written in October 1962 by husband and wife Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Bing Crosby popularized its lilting melody and timeless message, followed from the wind to the lamb, the lamb to the shepherd boy and the boy to the mighty king:

“Said the king to the people everywhere

Listen to what I say! (Listen to what I say!)

Pray for peace, people, everywhere

Listen to what I say! (Listen to what I say!)

The Child, the Child sleeping in the night

He will bring us goodness and light

He will bring us goodness and light.”

Thoughts go immediately to Ukraine, Israel and the State of Palestine. However, the heartrending sights and sounds from those countries obscure similarly disturbing situations in Sudan, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Mali, Somalia, Niger, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of the Congo — all identified on among “Top 10 crises the world can’t ignore in 2024.”

Do you see, the song asks; do you hear, do you know? To be sung “With a voice as big as the sea.”

After that, trivial as it may seem, here’s wishing all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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