Fiddling around on Christmas day

ChineseFoodBowlEvery religious season has its standard stories, its old familiar new ideas. I have one or two others to share during the 12 days of Christmas. Here comes one of those Christmas classics from earlier this week, care of the Baltimore Sun.

Now, I am pretty hard on the Sun, since, as I have stated before, it's the newspaper that gets tossed into my yard every morning. When it comes to religion, Baltimore is a progressive Catholic and fading mainline Protestant town, so it's not much of a surprise that the Sun is well to the left of that, 90 percent of the time. I think I know of only one other Sun subscriber, out of all of my friends in the Baltimore area. Everyone else gave up years ago (and my friends tend to be news junkies who read, read, read).

Believe it or not, the story I am here to praise is even a kind of progressive salute to diversity and, gasp, multiculturalism. So what? It's a story that delivers some real facts about the changing nature of life in Baltimore, from the old Jewish neighborhoods to the arrival of other faiths and nationalities.

This is, of course, the "what the non-Christians did on Christmas" story, with a strong business theme. So here's a piece or two of reporter Michael Dresser's "Yule be served on Christmas -- It's business as usual for many in diverse Baltimore."

From Pikesville to 33rd Street to Corned Beef Row, Baltimore residents and visitors were providing proof yesterday that you don't have to be Christian to have a blast on Christmas.

While most mall parking lots were vacant, many of the businesses that remained open bubbled with a celebratory mood, even among those who don't celebrate the holiday in the religious sense.

In Pikesville, Jewish couples whose children were in school spent their day off from work having a mini-honeymoon at Goldberg's New York Bagels. On 33rd Street, Hindus were preparing for Christmas parties, and Muslims were laying in extra stores of lamb and goat to share with friends.

People of all faiths or none at all found their way to East Baltimore for the near-religious experience of a corned beef sandwich and cream soda at Attman's deli.

Wait! There's one more classic archetype!

The Hankin children were down from New York along with their parents, Richard Hankin and Dawn Hershman, to visit grandparents Murray and Joyce Hankin of Pikesville. Richard Hankin said it was nice to have a family activity to attend when "absolutely everything else is closed."

"We did participate in the Jewish tradition of having Chinese food last night, and the kids already saw a movie, so we feel we've exhausted all the traditional activities," he said.

Tradition, tradition! Tradition!

Tradition, tradition! Tradition!

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