By Mike Whittlesey

With stories of violence and terrorist organizations dominating the headlines, this week’s cover on the annual holiday edition of The Progress Review is most appropriate. As the commercialization of the Christmas holiday threatens to obscure its true meaning, we offer you, dear reader, this issue filled with features designed to celebrate the season in all its glory.
The festive words and images of young people begin the celebration on pages four and five, as fifth grade students at La Porte City Elementary School share “What Christmas Means to Me,” with family, fun and food as recurring themes. In case you’re wondering, the tradition of the Christmas pickle dates back to the late 1800s, though no one seems to know exactly who was responsible for starting the practice of hiding a pickle ornament in the Christmas tree. Conspiracy theorists speculate an excess of glass ornaments for sale by the F.W. Woolworth Company as a more credible origin than the country of Germany, whose actual Christmas traditions do not conform with the myth of the pickle. Regardless, the tradition has become wholly American over the years. Kids- please endeavor to keep the tree in an upright position as you search for any pickle ornaments that may be hanging in the branches!
Music, of course, is a big part of the holiday season and our community is blessed an abundance of vocal talent, expertly cultivated by dedicated instructors and transformed into a series of holiday concerts that delight and entertain. In addition to the school concert photos presented on pages four and five, you can find galleries of holiday concerts posted on The Progress Review’s Facebook page.
During this most busy time of the year, we are grateful to the area ministers who have shared the messages of peace and hope featured on pages 8-10. This is where you can also find service worship times for several area churches.
Sprinkled among the season’s greetings from area advertisers that help make this holiday edition possible, you’ll find holiday-related stories, puzzles and other features we hope you enjoy. As the “most wonderful time of the year” arrives, please accept our holiday greetings to you and your family, along with a special wish for peace on earth and good will toward all.