Readers write: Christmas trees, gratitude, and more

Letters to the editor for the Jan. 20, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss what makes a Christmas celebration authentic, give gratitude, and more.


Christmas trees

The cover story “Holiday foresters” in the Dec. 23 Monitor Weekly brought smiles to me. In 1959, our family moved to the country in York County in Pennsylvania. One of the first things my parents did was plant pine seedlings, which grew to become Christmas trees. This was my first business, which was advertised every December in the Monitor’s classified ads. The best reward was sharing a feeling of joy with the families coming to cut their own trees!

Carlie Jacobs Beisel
Emporia, Kansas

Authentic holiday

I was very uncomfortable as I read “Holiday foresters,” because a more “authentic” article would not have focused solely on the millennials who can afford to own a car and buy gas, and have the time and the money to make a foray into the countryside to cut and purchase their own Christmas tree.

My grandchildren are millennials with families who can afford to do such activities. But I’m quite aware that many more millennial families cannot undertake this “authentic” outing because they are not financially able to do so. Perhaps the Monitor can publish something letting us know how poor and cash-strapped millennials celebrate “authentically.”

Peggy Wenrick
Tucson, Arizona


I love reading the Monitor Weekly, which I get from my public library, and my favorite article in every issue is “A Christian Science Perspective.” Each column always seems so pertinent to me, often mirroring a situation or circumstance I may be dealing with at the time.

The essay in the Nov. 25 issue, “Gratitude heals” by Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, was especially meaningful for me, and I send her my gratitude.

I want to thank everyone at the Monitor for such uplifting and inspiring articles, and for its unbiased and balanced reporting – a refreshing change from much of today’s news.

Mardell Lavonne

Prison visits

The editorial “Visit a prison, make the US safer” in the Dec. 16 Monitor Weekly stated, “More than two-thirds of inmates released from state prisons are rearrested within three years.” Perhaps the solution is to require classes on behavior to encourage a better lifestyle. Classes might also be given to train prisoners in the job skills needed in their areas.

Muriel Horacek
Altadena, California

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to