Giving the gift of news a rewarding endeavor

Phil Castle

Newspaper columnists face a challenge this time of year to write something befitting the holiday season. The more heartfelt and heartwarming the better, as if it were possible to keep up with those Hallmark movies. And if there’s an opportunity to convey at least a bit of the meaning of Christmas, that should be a priority as well. Sure. No pressure there.

Here goes …

I’m always tempted to go with my fallback position and recount a favorite holiday memory from when I was maybe 5 years old. I was snuggled in bed on Christmas Eve and  — of course — wide awake. I recall with clarity a loud thump on the roof just above my bedroom.
It sounded like a heavy object landed there. A sleigh, maybe? I squeezed tight eyes as big as saucers, fearful even a furtive glimpse of Santa Claus outside my window would send him away before he could make his delivery. I swear to this day I heard something. While I’m willing to concede the possibility it wasn’t Santa, I remain convinced otherwise.

That brief stroll down memory lane illustrates one important attribute of Christmas: It’s magical. For the young, to be sure. But also for those young at heart.

Another trick — or maybe trope — of writing a Christmas column is to pull out the trusty metaphors. There are a bunch from which to choose, but I’m thinking in particular of the metaphor of wrapping and unwrapping gifts.

Remember how exciting it was as a child to unwrap Christmas presents? If you were anything like me, you could rip off that paper in seconds. That’s despite the ribbons and all that pesky scotch tape. I still get excited about unwrapping Christmas presents, although I take my time these days to savor the experience.

After I became a parent, though,
I discovered it was far more exciting to watch my two sons open their gift-wrapped boxes and find inside exactly what they wanted. I’m sure my realization was anything but unique.

Now, watch out. Here comes that metaphor I warned you about. As editor of a business journal, I am in a way wrapping a gift 24 times a year. At least I hope readers and advertisers consider it a gift. That’s certainly my intention. I hope I include in every issue something readers want — whether that’s news about Grand Valley business developments and trends, features about innovative entrepreneurs or maybe a column or two offering helpful advice. I hope advertisers find what they want, too, in an effective venue in which to reach those readers. Although I remain grateful to work in print journalism with real, honest-to goodness print, my hopes apply equally to the Business Times website.

By the way, if anyone reading this is disappointed with what they receive — the journalistic equivalent of socks or, worse still, a lump of coal — I’d encourage them to call me. That’s my contact information right there at the bottom. Let’s talk. Like nearly everyone else, I’m limited by resources in what I can give. Otherwise, I’d make it a brand new car. For you. And you.
And you. But I’d also like to believe I’m thoughtful enough to try to fulfill those wish lists to the greatest extent of my abilities.

Here’s my point. Just like the gifts I wrap for my sons and others, the process of editing a business journal remains just as rewarding. I only wish I could give even more.

Finally, the holidays afford an ideal time for extending well wishes and expressing gratitude to those who’ve done so much over the year. That’s at least a bit of the meaning of Christmas, isn’t it?

To that end, I wish a merry Christmas and happy new year to my boss, Craig Hall, who not only makes it possible for me to do what I do, but also gives me unbridled freedom to do so.

Season’s greetings to Alowetta and Marc Terrien, the indefatigable couple that conjures the Business Times website out of Thin Air. Greetings to Kitty Nicholason, who builds many of the ads in the paper.

Holiday wishes to the columnists who so generously share their time and expertise: Janet Arrowood, Dale Beede, Patti Reece, Paula Reece, Marcus Straub and Rebecca Weitzel. That’s not to mention the good folks with Bray Real Estate; Dalby, Wendland & Co.; Mesa County Public Health and the Western Colorado Human Resource Association.

Feliz Navidad to the individuals and organizations who help the editor of a business journal report business news, among them Robert Bray, Keira Bresnahan, Teri Cavanagh, Curtis Englehart, Celina Kirnberger, Stacey Mascarenas, Karen Martsolf, Annette Miller, Mike Moran and Fran Stephens as well as the staffs at the Business Incubator Center, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and local chambers of commerce.

Happy holidays to the businesses that advertise in the Business Times and provide the financial support that keeps the operation in, well, operation.

Most of all, I wish Christmas cheer and new year prosperity to the readers of the Business Times. You remain the reason I do what I do.

In the words of Clement Moore: Happy Christmas to all. In the words of Charles Dickens: God bless us, everyone.

Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at or 424-5133.