Turn on the news and odds are pretty good you are going to hear a story about the “supply-chain issues” facing our nation. Talk to anyone who’s ordered something that has to be shipped and odds are pretty good you’ll hear a first-hand account of what that really looks like.

Right now, everything from new cars to spaghetti sauce is in short supply.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

The reasons why are complex, multilayered and intertwined. Cargo ships are stuck waiting in ports, waiting for containers of goods to be unloaded; dockworkers are there and ready to unload, but they don’t have anywhere to place the containers; truck drivers are not available to haul those containers to where they need to get to because their trucks are still loaded down with the empty containers from their last run – and there is nowhere to put those containers because all the normal storage areas are full.

Once one part of the process hits a snag, it causes everything else to go completely haywire. It’s like a non-funny version of the chocolate factory scene from the “I Love Lucy” show.

There are, without a doubt, product disruptions that will have a profound impact on our lives. Things we rely on to feed our families, to keep us warm, to keep us healthy, to keep us safe. These are genuine potential problems looming.

However, there is also another conversation happening: the panic over what will happen to Christmas.

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Several news sources are reporting on the long list of products that might not be available this year. Everything from lights for the tree, to dolls, to game stations – empty shelves instead.

I am not completely insensitive to this. I’m a mom. I understand the desire to put a special toy under the tree for the kids. I do.

And yet.

The irony is astounding. I mean, I don’t know about you, but every yuletide season I can recall has been filled with a robust collection of stories and movies, all of which have the central theme that the true holiday spirit has nothing to do with gifts. I mean, not just a subplot, it’s The Message.

I’m going to pick one of my own personal favorites because it seems particularly apt. I speak here of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”

As you may well recall, The Grinch, a wretched little creature with a heart three sizes too small, decides to stop the celebrations in nearby Whoville because their happiness and joyous noises disturb him. To accomplish this, he steals everything. All of the presents, the decorations, the food, everything. Christmas is, for all intents and purposes, gone.

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And yet.

As he is about to destroy the lot of it, he hears singing and has a change of heart. To quote the Dr. Seuss book: “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

I grant you, at the close of the book, The Grinch returns the stolen things and even carves the “roast beast.” But the point remains: Christmas is about a little bit more.

And so, while I confess that I will surely grouse if there are no imported chocolates to be had, I hope this year, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we are all able to embrace the spirit of the season and take time to celebrate the things that truly matter: family, friends and community.

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