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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 71.0° F  Overcast
The Paper


Merry Whathaveyou!

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I can see by the menorah next to the decorated tree in our lobby "holiday" display that it's more than half past Hanukkah and about a quarter to Christmas. 'Tis the season!

It's become the public euphemism to fudge the lines and the philosophical import between the various religious and ethnic celebrations at this time of year and simply make reference to "the holiday season." We do this to avoid offending non-Christian denominations and to de-emphasize the fact that Christmas overwhelms even the secular culture of these United States. Some people looking for a fight call this attempt at restraint "the war on Christmas," when it is really just an effort not to offend and to at least pay lip service to the constitutional ideal of the separation of church and state.

But the phenomenon of Christmas is overwhelming here and in other places in the world. And the vast majority of nonbelievers seem to have no problem connecting with the nonsectarian spirit of the season and enjoying the general holiday cheer. And there is no religious test that excludes atheists and Jews and anybody else from participating in the holiday's multitudinous commercial opportunities.

I guess everyone makes their own Christmas or attendant celebration, and it is this concept of a joyful time of goodwill that we look forward to each year with such traditions as the annual Christmas, or holiday, party. We don't care what you call it. We like having it.

As you might imagine, the folks of Isthmus know how, and where, to throw a party. We move it around. This year it was at The Brink Lounge, a new destination among Madison's night spots - one that has had a little trouble defining itself so far in its short life, but which turned out to be the perfect spot for a Christmas bash last Saturday night.

After 30 years in business, the best part of these events are the friends and former employees, usually one and the same, who show up. It emulates family. And there are generations within that family. There are children and, increasingly, grandchildren to hear about; and new jobs, old loves, fresh starts and stale acts to catch up on. It shows you that your company is more than just a place to work; it's a meaningful connection among people's lives.

And our audience is part of the family too. Know that the folks of Isthmus appreciate your readership and support and wish you a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to celebrating again next year under whatever name you wish to hang on it, but in the same spirit.

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