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Happy Holidays

Celebrate the season with Bay Weekly’s annual Christmas story

In this season dedicated to peace on earth and shared goodwill, Bay Weekly has a little gift to help you think well of one another.
    Our gift is Bay Weekly’s annual Christmas story, in whose telling our writers have found the words to open our hearts to one another. Year after year, they’ve done it.
    This year the words belong to Melissa Driscoll Krol whose story, A Christmas Miracle, takes us into the lives of a military family with premature twins and no money.
    “My husband and I had grown up middle class and didn’t know WIC or food stamps were for people like us,” Krol writes.
    Reading Krol’s story, we understand that Angel Tree givers and receivers are all people like us.
    The differences our stories have described through the years have not been extreme. These writers are pretty much in the mainstream of America, with mostly Christian roots, ethnicities all over the place and likely at least one immigrant grandparent.
    Differences were on Louis Llovio’s mind back in 2003 in Black Bean Christmas, a memoir of his Cuban family’s celebration (
    “The toughest thing about being an immigrant’s child during the Christmas season is being an alien in the only world you know,” Llovio wrote, looking back to when he was “12 and the only one in your family who speaks English.”
    In 2005, Helena Mann-Melnitchenko found the words to tell us how it feels to be a refugee.
    “I had no memory of Christmas past. No memory of another home but this,” Mann-Melnitchenko wrote in The Girl Who Forgot Christmas (
    “Our home after the war ended was a large room divided by olive drab blankets stamped U.S. Army. I still had trouble sleeping the year we heard the all-clear for the last time. I had just started first grade. The Second World War was over, but the bombs still screeched in my head. I was afraid to fall asleep, expecting the sirens to start wailing again, ready to run to the air shelter or to the dark forest. Turning over and over on the top bunk, the ceiling pressing close, I tried to still the echoes in my head and erase the images inside my tightly shut eyes.”
    Poor, immigrant, refugee. Different from us in every gene. Yet from the inside, not so very different at all.
    I hope you enjoy Bay Weekly’s annual gift of a Christmas story. Maybe you’ll read more than one, not only Krol’s but Llovio’s and Mann-Melnitchenko’s, too. You can read Bay Weekly’s Christmas stories dating back to 1998 at
    Happy holidays, however you celebrate!

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor and publisher; [email protected]