Merry Christmas From Patch

The season brings moments of joy and a reminder of what matters most.

We at Huntington Patch wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

The signs of the holiday were all around town Friday, from the young violinst playing Christmas music at the Value Drug on New York Avenue, to people passing by, adorned in Santa hats or beards. All that was missing was snow, and that apparently is on the way Sunday.

Also on the way is Santa, and you can follow his journey with the Norad Santa tracker.  Before he took off, he was listening to children at the Walt Whitman Mall Friday afternoon, while a short line of parents and children waited to get in one or two more requests.

Families were heading off to early Christmas Eve services at several churches, while others tried to get in some last-minute shopping.

It was difficult not to be moved by two people we reported on just Thursday.  The remarkable Lorraine Boccio, well known for her many efforts to help others but now confronting a serious health matter of her own, was recognized by the community earlier this week.  And Lt. James Byler, seriously wounded in Afghanistan, returned home to his family in Huntington. If we hadn't seen the crowds ourselves, we still would have known what he means to many people by the sheer volume of e-mails sent us asking more information, celebrating his return or  urging us to report on it.

What a grand Christmas gift for him and his family and all those who care about him.  The community, in particular, was determined to welcome him home.

And earlier in the week, came the cheery story of Mary Occhiogrosso, a nurse who served on Iwo Jima during World War II, who was finally awarded five medals that were more than six decades overdue.

If you don't celebrate Christmas, we have some tips on things you can do as others gather with their families.

We've included a couple of photos and videos to honor the Christmas spirit. Though the video of the Oakwood Primary singers was shot in October,  the message certainly fits the season and the pure effort of the children as they sing for the school board is a joy.

And we found one Dix Hills Road home too late for our Christmas decorating contest, but include it because we're pretty sure Santa will be using it to guide his sleigh tonight.


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