Friday, December 8, 2023

Keeping Warm: Heating Resources for Windham Residents

By State Rep. Jane Pringle

Now that the holiday season is here, we can look forward to gathering with friends and family to celebrate traditions, new and old. The warmth of the season's festivities can often feel like a sharp contrast to the drop in temperatures outside. While gearing up for winter is never easy, there is positive news: the cost of heating your home will likely be lower this year than the previous two years. However, Maine still has some of the highest home energy costs in the country, due largely to our cold weather and reliance on oil as a heating source.

State Rep. Jane Pringle
To ease this financial burden, there are several state and local energy aide programs to help folks in need of heating assistance this winter. The first is the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides money to eligible low-income homeowners and renters to help manage the cost of heating. The state administers the program via the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) in conjunction with Community Action Agencies like the Opportunity Alliance, which handles the application process for Cumberland County.

Another resource available is the Low-Income Assistance Program, which assists homeowners and renters with their electricity costs by providing a credit on monthly electricity bills. The MSHA also established a Weatherization Program that provides grants to eligible individuals to help make homes airtight and more energy efficient. In order to apply, a home must be structurally sound and the household must be eligible for HEAP. For more information about the relief programs mentioned above, please visit

Efficacy Maine Trust (EMT) also has resources for folks looking for help heating their homes. The agency was established to help provide incentives and rebates for those looking to lower their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. EMT helps thousands of Mainers afford efficiency and cost-saving tools like heat pumps and solar panels, which lower energy costs in the long run. To learn how you can utilize their services, go to

If your home relies on wood as a heating source, it is essential to remember a few cautionary steps to remain safe and comfortable all season long. With safety in mind, first and foremost, it is vital to ensure that your smoke detectors are up to date. Next, schedule a chimney sweep and double-check that your wood-burning system is appropriately installed. Finally, the state has compiled a list of firewood dealers that can be found on the Forest Service webpage. While it is not a comprehensive list, it is meant to be a starting point for those looking to use local or heat-treated wood to stay warm.

Locally, we are fortunate to have a resource like Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors (WNHN). The nonprofit, which can be contacted at 207-749-1336, was established by a number of Windham volunteers who work together to provide one-time emergency assistance to our neighbors who are critically low on heating fuel. All contributions to the organization go directly back to those who need it most. While it is not a long-term solution, the WNHN has a history of helping those in crisis and directing individuals toward further assistance from state and local agencies. If you are able, please consider donating to WNHN so they can continue providing emergency fuel services to our neighbors in need.

Looking toward the upcoming second session of the 131st Legislature that begins in January, I promise to continue working with my colleagues to develop and improve cost-effective methods to help Mainers remain safe and comfortable in their homes this winter. From my family to yours, happy holidays and stay warm!

State Rep. Jane Pringle is serving her second non-consecutive term in the Maine House, representing a portion of Windham. She is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Coverage. Contact her at <


Insight: Age before beauty

By Ed Pierce

When I first started following baseball, my interest was for my hometown team, the Rochester Red Wings, who were a minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles at the time.

1963 Rochester Red Wings baseball cards
show Joe Altobelli, top, Luke Easter, bottom
left, and Steve Bilko. All three players
shared the first base position that season
for the Red Wings. COURTESY PHOTOS   
Back in 1963, Triple A affiliates had some local autonomy to acquire players and competed at the highest level of minor league play. Most of Rochester’s roster were younger players competing for a chance to make the major leagues with a sprinkling of older players trying to return to the majors.

Some of those older players were well past their prime playing days and had little to no hope of ever playing in another major league game but were signed nevertheless for their experience and ability to be role models for the younger players.

During my first year following the Red Wings, not one but three such older players were on the team and not surprisingly became some of my favorites. First baseman Luke Easter, first baseman Steve Bilko, and first baseman-outfielder Joe Altobelli had all played in the major leagues but suited up for Rochester to continue playing.

Easter, age 47 in 1963, stood 6-foot-4, weighed 240 pounds, and batted left-handed. He had served in the Army during World War II and had played for the Homestead Grays in the Negro League, leading the Grays to the 1948 Negro League World Series title. His towering home runs drew the attention of the owner of the Cleveland Indians, Bill Veeck, who signed Easter to play first base as a 34-year-old rookie in 1950.

His first three years with the Indians showed promise, with Easter among the league leaders in home runs and runs batted in, but ongoing knee and ankle injuries limited his time on the field and by 1954, he was sent to the minors, waiting for another opportunity. Determined to keep playing, Easter wore the uniforms of the Ottawa Athletics, Charleston Senators, and Buffalo Bisons, and was International League Most Valuable Player for Buffalo in 1957, before joining the Red Wings in 1959.

He was beloved by Red Wings fans and players alike for his perseverance and love for the game. But after playing in 77 games for Rochester that year, Easter chose to give up his roster spot and become the first base coach for the Red Wings for several seasons before returning to Cleveland for work as a union steward there. In 1979, Easter was shot and killed by two armed robbers in Cleveland after refusing to give them $5,000 in payroll checks he was carrying to the bank.

Steve Bilko, age 34 in 1963, grew up in a coal mining town in Pennsylvania and rose to prominence as a power hitting first baseman in the Pacific Coast League in the 1950s. His major league playing career included stints as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, and he was the original first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. But by 1963, he was a Rochester Red Wing, appearing in 101 games but only mustering 8 home runs that year and by the following spring he was out of baseball for good. He died at age 49 in 1978.

Joe Altobelli, age 31 in 1963, grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and had parlayed strong defensive and batting skills to slowly work his way up through the minor league system of the Cleveland Indians in the 1950s. He did eventually play for the Indians from 1955 to 1957, but by 1958, he was once again a minor leaguer. He played for Triple A teams in Indianapolis, Toronto, Montreal, Syracuse, and Omaha before signing with the Red Wings and replacing Easter as a fan favorite for his clutch hitting and ability to drive in runs.

Altobelli remained a Red Wing through 1966 and eventually became a minor league manager, leading Rochester to four league titles. He managed the San Francisco Giants for three seasons and then when Baltimore manager Earl Weaver retired, Altobelli led the Orioles to the 1983 World Series championship as manager.

In 1991, Altobelli agreed to serve as general manager of the Rochester team and in 1997 began work as a color analyst on the Red Wings radio broadcasts, a job he held through 2009, when he retired for good. Through the years he became known as “Mr. Baseball” in Rochester and in 2010, a statue of him was placed on the ballpark concourse there. He passed away in 2021 at the age of 88.

By all accounts, 1963 wasn’t an exceptional season for Rochester as the team finished in third place with a record of 75-76 overall. But when you combine the stats of the three men who played first base for the Red Wings that year – Luke Easter, Steve Bilko, and Joe Altobelli – it’s not too shabby with a combined total of 29 home runs, 116 runs batted in and a batting average of .258.

These days minor league baseball is strictly a pipeline for developing talent for major league teams and the days when older players could continue their careers as journeymen are long gone. I’m truly fortunate to have watched some of these all-time greats. <

Andy Young:: The New England Patriots are wrecking my life!

By Andy Young

The New England Patriots are awful this year, and I’m not happy about it.

It’s not like I’m a longtime devoted follower of New England’s National Football League team, or even a casual one, for that matter. Unlike legions of other people in this neck of the woods, I haven’t had to leap from the Patriot bandwagon this season, since I never climbed aboard in the first place.

And please don’t think I resent Philadelphia Eagle fans who currently plan their Sundays around their favorite team’s schedule, the way people around here used to do with the Patriots. If they’re enjoying their squad’s success, more power to them.

It’s been many years since I’ve followed professional football. In fact, I find the contemporary game actively off-putting. The NFL’s uber-rich team owners shamelessly exploit their performers, and indirectly the thousands of wannabes who aspire (but never get) to play in the league. Significant numbers of these modern-day gladiators end up physically and/or cognitively compromised, and often at alarmingly early ages.

But my attitude regarding professional football clearly isn’t typical. Most red-blooded American men (and also disquieting numbers of red-blooded women) can’t get enough of the NFL. Brutal or not, their product has been brilliantly marketed for decades; that’s why owning any of the league’s 32 franchises constitutes a virtual license to print money.

However, what bothers me even more is that the Patriots’ incompetence is playing havoc with what had, until recently, been my carefully orchestrated, extremely efficient personal schedule.

Like many who work full time Monday through Friday, I have to do my grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday, when the stores are mobbed, the checkout lines are endless, and the parking lot resembles a demolition derby.

But for years I was able to avoid the chaos involved with picking up provisions on weekends by finding out exactly when the Patriots were playing and heading for the grocery store right at kickoff time.

As long as Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and their pals were winning (or threatening to win) Super Bowls, my ingenious plan worked like a charm. Casually piloting my shopping cart down virtually deserted aisles at the local supermarket, I even had time for leisurely chats with the half-dozen or so other non-football fans who planned their weekly food shopping trips the same way I did.

But this year the Patriots are terrible, and the stores around here are packed every Sunday, regardless of the hour. What’s worse, it doesn’t appear things are going to improve for New England’s professional football team any time soon. It’s too bad they can’t play all their games against teams based in New York, since their two lonely victories have come at the expense of the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets.

Two weeks ago, the Patriots had a golden opportunity to win a third game against an Empire State team, but somehow managed to lose to the dreadful New York Giants, whose quarterbacks have performed nearly as ineptly as New England’s have this year.

The Pats still have return engagements with the two teams they’ve beaten, but Buffalo is much better than their record indicates, and the Jets are one of only two teams with a victory this season against the Eagles, who own the league’s best record at 10-2.

Professional football (and yes, this includes the big-time college programs) is a dirty, exploitative, obscenely profitable business that I want no part of. But I wish the Patriots would become relevant again, because it’s getting awfully expensive (not to mention time-consuming) to drive to Philadelphia every Sunday to grocery shop. <

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Rookie Mama: The hap-hap-happiest holiday hacks and the passing of the tourtiere torch

By Michelle Cote

It’s a great one, this time of year.

And never do I appreciate my working toward preparedness more than during this yuletide blitz that stamps the last month of the calendar.

Michelle Cote
Over the years, I’ve learned through trial and much error that it’s helpful to plan ahead for budgets and organization as I ready myself to dive in to the fa-la-la fantastic time of year.

I’ll start with something I admittedly never put into practice until only this past year – and what a game changer – I created a savings account fund specifically for contributing a bit monthly in the lead up toward eventual Christmas shopping.

For the past several years, I’ve done this for various ‘adulting’ expenditures if you will – plowing, heating, summer travel adventures, the like – all fund buckets into which I deposit small amounts monthly so when big payments are needed, I’m ready to rock.

How did we manage before online banking, anyway?

During the last quarter of the calendar, costs for many of us increase because we’re inundated in holiday shopping here and there all around the square, and so it’s easy for our December-end balances to creep up.

So for anyone who could use that same ease during the holidays; just add an approximate twelfth of what you think you’ll spend into a Christmas fund beginning in January – 12 months prior – and your credit card statement will give you holly jolly vibes when Christmas comes around, rather than a heavy figgy pudding dread.

I suppose this is theoretically layaway for yourself, with the purpose to leave you in fiscally cheerier bliss.

Other ways to plan ahead for the holidays –
• Create a spreadsheet early to help stay on budget, list gift ideas, people, and keep track of purchases.

• Prepare crafty, creative gifts first – Handmade presents require the most care and time, and are most meaningful. Save store-bought purchases for afterward. Our family loves to make photo gifts, hand-made ornaments, canned goods from our family farm, painted signs, to name a few. Sincere and expressive, but time-consuming on the creation end.

• Designate and organize a space for Christmas gift prep – Make Post-Its your best friend.

• Buy holiday wrap on clearance Dec. 26 to prepare for the following year.

• Don’t buy gift bags. If you know, you know.

Plan ahead for what you can so you can allow yourself room to adapt when plans go awry – I’m looking at you, unexpected cold and flu and that other illness named for a beer.

Finish your Christmas shopping early so you can spend quality time all December long doing what you really love, surrounded by the joy and cheer of those you hold dear. Our family prefers to spend these ‘Advent-ageous’ weeks soaking up traditions – making gingerbread houses, watching old Christmas movies, baking seasonal goods to deliver to neighbors as we tour locales lit up for holidays.

If I can get the Amazonian task of shopping out of the way ahead of time, these days will sure be merry and bright.

Joy and cheer and quality time segues perfectly into this next segment – Keeping holiday traditions alive folks, as we weave them in with new customs!

My family’s French-Canadian heritage celebrates Christmas with tourtiere – or pork pie. It’s the traditional dish passed down through generations of our Quebecois family, the showcase of many dinner tables as, say, turkey reigns supreme a month earlier.

My husband and I both come from French-Canadian ancestry, so tourtiere was a staple at both our Christmas tables throughout childhood. We are also partial toward mustard on pork pie, which gives it a spicy kick, much to the chagrin of, well, most people we know.

Traditionally, diners of tourtiere prefer ketchup as the condiment of choice.

I find this revolting.

And the debate that ensues each time we mention the spiced brownish-yellow goodness is always a deeply controversial one for the ages.

But however everyone chooses to consume this delicious, hearty pie, there’s no denying what makes this tradition truly treasured is that it’s unique to our heritage, warmly passed through the generations.

Many traditions and customs forever changed in 2020 for all of us. My husband and I made the most of our lockdown times by inviting grandmothers, aunts and uncles to join us for a ‘Pork Pie Zoom,’ where we each Zoomed from our kitchens and baked our pies as we shared stories, recipe deviations and hacks, among other family traditions. It was a positive and modern spin on a years-long tradition, which we continued for three holiday seasons – a Covid-era cooking show that allowed us all to bond like potatoes, pork, onion and garlic in a whole new way.

Last week, I asked my mother when she planned to make her pies.

She sighed subtly; I braced myself.

She asked if I wouldn’t mind making the pies this year, since I had brought it up.

And with that, she had slowly, gently tiptoed out of a decades-long role she’d owned and maintained so proficiently.

She was ready to pass the tourtiere baton, with an unspoken understanding between us that I’d too one day pass it along, lest my boys and their eventual partners become inevitable vegetarians.

As soon as she walked away, I was left with a counter-full of rolled pie crusts, spices, and a whole bunch of meats, taunting me. The pressure was real.

Here we go.

I baked tourtiere pies solo, folded in the comfort of knowing that this curated tradition will carry on, among other holiday conventions we’ve made our own.

So cheers to making time for your traditions, the old and the new, and glad tidings and wishes of pork pie with mustard to you!

­­– Michelle Cote lives in southern Maine with her husband and four sons, and enjoys camping, distance running, biking, gardening, road trips to new regions, arts and crafts, soccer, and singing to musical showtunes – often several or more at the same time!

Insight: No sugarcoating candy and Christmas

By Ed Pierce
Managing Editor

For those who are inclined to have a sweet tooth, like me, we are entering the most favorable time of the year as candy is everywhere and baked goods are in plentiful supply as the holidays are celebrated.

Since I was young, my favorite candy treat that shows up each year during the holiday season has always been colorful ribbon candy. It’s hard to find, but well worth the search. I remember receiving a small box of ribbon candy in my Christmas stocking when I was 7 and thinking I had hit the proverbial jackpot, while my parents envisioned a huge future dentist bill.

Over the decades since, I’ve sampled many other candies made exclusively for the holidays, but none can match the taste and texture of ribbon candy for me, and it just wouldn’t be the holidays without receiving a box of ribbon candy from my family.

Before her passing in 2018 at the age of 95, my mother preferred receiving a different type of candy each Christmas and it wasn’t hard candy. She enjoyed chocolate covered cherries and her personal favorite was dark chocolate covered cherries instead of milk chocolate. The box didn’t need to be gift wrapped and it was a product that was always offered in stores every Christmas season.

Like many other people, I enjoy marshmallow Peeps at Easter, but for some reason, I can’t get into Peeps for Christmas or during Halloween for that matter. I suppose it’s difficult for me to envision Peeps as anything other than chicks or bunnies, not pumpkins, skeletons, or snowmen. And for the record, changing the color of candy corn to green and red and selling it as “Reindeer Corn” is pretty lame in my opinion.

Speaking of snowmen, recently while I was in the checkout aisle at the supermarket, I noticed they were selling a product called “Snowmen Popcorn Bites.” I didn’t buy it, thinking it was popcorn topped with drizzled sugar and shaped into a mini snowman.

If ribbon candy is not readily available, there have been years where I have received a generous selection of hard candy or a LifeSavers StoryBook in my Christmas stocking.

My appreciation for hard candy stems from my mother always having a filled glass candy jar in her living room. By summer, if nobody had opened the candy jar and sampled the goods inside, the candy contained there would be sticky to the touch and clumped together. That meant if you wanted a green hard candy you had to pry it loose when it would be stuck to a piece of purple or yellow hard candy.

Her hard candy selection always included these small pieces of candy with what looked like a rose inscribed in the middle of them. They almost looked too pretty to eat.

I had liked LifeSavers candy for years when the company came out with its LifeSavers StoryBook product in the mid-1960s. Having six rolls of my own of different flavors such as cherry, raspberry, watermelon, orange, pineapple, or butterscotch, was thrilling and it was gone in just a few days.

It’s kind of interesting that different areas of the country have different holiday candy traditions.

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in the 1970s, the featured Christmas candy there was candied pinon nuts. They had sort of a sugary and salty taste at the same time.

After my wife and I met and married in Florida, we would stop at a roadside orange grove every Christmas and send a bag of oranges to family living out of state. Once when we were there, I spotted the fudge counter and sampled their homemade orange creamsicle fudge. It was to die for and was immediately added to our holiday candy selection for years before we moved to New England.

I’m indifferent as far as Christmas fruitcakes go. If no other snack is available, I might be tempted to eat it, otherwise, I’d probably opt for something else. Back in the 1990s my mother gave me a small fruitcake that a relative had mailed to her as a gift. She apparently had received the same fruitcake as a gift from another family member, so she gave me one of them.

It sat in my refrigerator for several months before I opened it during the 1992 Duke versus Kentucky NCAA men’s college basketball East Regional tournament game. The game went into overtime and by the time Duke’s Christian Laettner scored the winning basket as time expired, I discovered that I had eaten the entire fruitcake during the game. I can also trace a sudden weight gain to eating that same fruitcake.

I’m not much for divinity, peppermint bark, soft candy, or candy canes at Christmas, but they’ll do if I’m looking for a sweet snack. I have always liked receiving jellied fruit slices, York Peppermint Patties, peanut brittle, Hershey’s Kisses, or boxes of chocolates for the holidays along with my favorite, ribbon candy.

There seems to be no limit to my sweet tooth cravings when the holidays arrive every year and if asked, I recommend my wife Nancy’s Oreo Pie as the perfect way to top off the Christmas season.

Barbara Bagshaw: Maine appears to be moving toward eliminating gas-powered vehicles

By State Rep. Barbara Bagshaw

Maine citizens have a right to make informed decisions on issues that affect their everyday lives. This should apply to everything from educating their children to what kind of car they purchase. Unfortunately, those in control seem intent on limiting our choices and directing our tax dollars toward causes and groups that keep them in power. This disturbing trend is most evident in the recent move toward eliminating gas-powered vehicles.

State Representative Barbara Bagshaw
I am not against people who choose to buy an electric vehicle and can afford it. It is a matter of consumer choice.

Right now, unelected bureaucrats are on the verge of moving Maine toward elimination of gas-powered vehicles. If the unelected Board of Environmental Protection votes to adopt a proposed “California Rule” mandating electric vehicle (EV) sales at its December meeting, car dealers will be required to meet the absurd goal of: 43 percent of new sales in the 2027 model year be electric vehicles, increasing to 82 percent of new sales by the year 2032. That move, if adopted would, would put Maine on the path toward elimination of gas-powered vehicles by making them artificially expensive.

All it took to initiate this insane idea was signatures from 150 “environmentalists” under an obscure provision of Maine law. What followed was a proposed Rule 127-A petition public hearing that drew testimony from 1,600 people. 81 percent of the testimony was against adopting the “California Rule.”

Currently, Maine generates less than about 6 percent of sales from electric vehicles. The lack of enthusiasm for EVs can be attributed to a number of factors, including cost, limited charging stations, unsuitability for cold climate, limited range, negligible effect on climate change, and many others raised at the public hearing.

When confronted with the lack of consumer enthusiasm for EVs, the prevailing Board attitude seemed to be that “the reason that they don’t sell is because we haven’t mandated them.” That attitude is exactly what is wrong with many of the people that control our government or try to determine what is best for us. The fact that unelected bureaucrats have the power to impose draconian measures on us is scary.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of citizens and small businesses to the adoption of the “California Rule” electric vehicle proposals, four of the seven unelected Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) regulators voted to have staff prepare for adoption of the rule change for action at a future meeting before the end of the year. Two were opposed, with one member absent. All seven BEP members were appointed by Governor Mills.

The California rule will eliminate consumer choice, mandate higher auto prices, and result in economic hardship for no appreciable impact on climate change. I am not against people choosing to buy an electric vehicle if they can afford it. But public opinion should matter, and the government should not require us to buy things we do not want or need.

Several legislators attempted to introduce bills for this coming session to require a legislative vote in the event the BEP adopts the rule in December. All but one of the Democrats that control the Legislative Council rejected consideration of those bills. Proposals of this magnitude should be decided by the people. At the very least, it should be voted on by elected representatives. The potential for economic and social harm is far too great to let four people impose their will on the rest of us.

– It is an honor to represent part of Windham in the Legislature. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, please contact me at .My office phone number is 207-287-1440. You can find me on Facebook at To receive regular updates, sign up for my e-newsletter at

Andy Young: Is it time to rebrand December?

By Andy Young

Months are just like human beings.

No normal person wants to be inaccurately prejudged. But when it comes to stereotyping, many otherwise rational individuals only recognize the injustice of prejudice when they sense, justifiably or not, it’s being aimed at them. The sad reality: far too many people unjustly profile folks they don’t know based on one or more preconceived (and usually erroneous) notions.

It’s unlikely there’s anyone currently living in America who hasn’t felt the sting of being unfairly or wrongly characterized based on race, nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, profession, mode of dress, or a combination of those things at some point in their life.

And even if such an inordinately fortunate person did exist, they couldn’t be female, African-American, Irish, Jewish, Asian, Italian, blonde, Hispanic, male, Islamic, Democrat, Republican, introverted, extroverted, Polish, French, gay, straight, nonbinary, an evangelical Christian, a baby boomer, a Gen X-er, a Gen Z-er, a car dealer, a lawyer, a vegan, a cigarette smoker, a government employee, a city dweller, a rural resident, a recipient of public assistance, a billionaire, a celebrity, or a billionaire celebrity, given the proclivity contemporary Americans have for being judgmental.

Are there positive stereotypes? Sure… sort of. But while complimenting someone based on their appearance and/or perceived talent(s) may seem like a kindness, the fact is not everyone over 6’6” is good at basketball, or has even the slightest interest in the sport, for that matter.

Which brings us to unfairly stereotyped months, specifically December.

Sure, being associated with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa is nominally better than a wide variety of lesser distinctions. But every month has something that makes it stand out. To wit: January: New Year. February: Valentine’s Day. March: St. Paddy’s Day. April: showers. May: flowers. School’s out in June, July, and August mean endless summers, which thankfully don’t include triple digit temperatures around here. September (Labor Day weekend), October (Halloween) and November (Thanksgiving) all have specific celebrations as well.

But having an entire month classified as “holiday season” is too generic. December is overdue for a strategic rebranding, and there are a myriad of directions in which the final month of the calendar year’s perceived image can go.

For example, America’s December is, unsurprisingly, already National Eggnog Month and National Fruit Cake Month. It’s also National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, although with no disrespect intended, every month ought to be National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

A trio of American presidents, Martin Van Buren, Andrew Johnson, and Woodrow Wilson, were born in last 12th of the year, but since three former chief executives (George Washington, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford) died during December, labeling it “Commander-in-Chief Month” seems a bit of a stretch.

Less USA-centric types might point out that December 2nd is Armed Forces Day in Cuba, the 9th is Navy Day in Sri Lanka, the 22nd is Unity Day in Zimbabwe, and the 26th is Thanksgiving in the Solomon Islands.

Maybe “Innovation Month” would work, since Chiclets (1905), Monopoly (1935), Scrabble (1948) and Count Chocula (1970) were all trademarked and/or patented during December.

Many accomplished musicians (Taylor Swift, Frank Sinatra, Ludwig van Beethoven), athletes (Larry Bird, LeBron James, Sandy Koufax), actors (Denzel Washington, Mary Tyler Moore, Brad Pitt) and other impact makers (Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Walt Disney) were born in December. But so were Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Emperor Nero, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, and General George Armstrong Custer, so “Great Birthdays Month” is probably out.


After considering the alternatives, it’s abundantly clear: no rebranding of December will be necessary. For now, continuing to be “Holiday Season” month will have to suffice. <