For the past several years, I've been reprinting what I've come to think of as "my Christmas column" -- a tradition. I hope you enjoy it.
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
After over 25 years of working in libraries, I've made an important discovery. Our key asset isn't buildings or books. Those things are important -- even very important.
But even more important is staff. Even if a library's buildings and books are nothing to shout about, good people can make you glad you stopped by.
We have many beautiful library buildings in Douglas County. And we're getting to the point where our collections are impressive. But our core strength is, and remains, the people who work here.
Now this is a curious thing. I do, of course, remember my childhood Christmases. But strain though I might, I can't think of a single childhood Christmas gift.
No, I take that back. No sooner did I write that than I remembered three of them. The first one was a football. The only reason I remember that is that I was responsible for gathering up all the wrapping paper and trash that year. I threw out my football.
Yes, yes, it's good to spend time with family. And there are many magical moments around the holidays. There's the sound of Christmas carols, possibly the best music in the world. There's the moment when the last present is assembled, boxed, wrapped, and placed under the tree. There's the excited screech of the children, stampeding down the steps. There's that moment when all the opened presents are stacked, all the trash has been picked up, and that glazed look of satiation appears on every face.