Christmas 2005 is a wrap in more than one way! Most importantly, I am through wrapping presents, and the paper I consumed between wrapping presents and receipts crammed into my purse probably contributed to the demise of at least one tree.

I do not regift, but I do rebox and rebag, meaning any box I purchased with a holiday design may reappear at holiday time 2006. My immediate family knows that a gift in a box bearing the name of a certain store may not contain an item from said store. I might add I try to reserve those for Husband Joe, whose concern is more with what is in the box than what is on it.

Retrieving boxes from family members is a dicey subject, sort of like asking them to return plastic ware. So I will not be concerned if I get them back, because they may need them next year for my gift. How’s that for logic?

Gift bags are the same?”you save them and reuse them something. Husband Joe learned that the hard way after I saw him throwing a gift bag in the garbage. He now understands the philosophy behind gift bags and is cautious in what he tosses.

Now we go on to New Year’s. It’s not a holiday, rather a reason to be glad we have survived another year. As happens around this time of year, we are deluged with lists of what individuals or groups deem to be the best and the worst of the year, I, with your permission now offer my opinion as to the best and worst in the area.

In the “best” area, the Eastman family of Riverside should receive more than the good neighbor award, having settled the problem of the portion of the Coonley Estate inhabited by the late Carolyn Howlett.

The preservation of the home was ensured when the Eastmans purchased the home and declared Mrs. Howlett could live her remaining days in the home she so loved. While I don’t know the family, they seem to be people I would like to know.

Also in the “best” category are Helen and Bruce Jablonski, the mother and son who work along with Marjorie Lewe and others at PeopleCare. Their combined efforts have helped many area residents.

North Riverside’s program to help senior citizens in their town and their Block Captain program is among the best, and should be a model for other villages.

Kudos also go to the efforts of Mr. “B”, Butch Berwanger and the students who made the holiday canned food drive at Hauser Junior High success again. The display was awesome!

Another group of folks on the “best” list include those who had the generosity to help the Riverside-Brookfield Educational Foundation raise over $26,000 so far during Telethon 2005.

On a personal level, a high-water mark for the year was the arrival of Parker Kosey, who joined the family on April 30. He joins cousins Stephanie, Elena and Max.

Also on the “best” is my growing “entourage” which includes, Bill Paganis, Grumpy, Glen Husa, Patty Sarkady, Dr. A.J. Salerno and Larry Wert.

Also, this newspaper was named the “best” by the Illinois Press Association, but you knew that. And readers of this column, you’re the best. Thanks for all the comments.

As far as the “worst,” well, two things come to mind immediately. The first is political in-fighting. Knock it off and stick to the issues, anything else is counterproductive.

And second, those who complain about local government but do nothing about helping solve problems. Enough said!

As always, I resolve never to make resolutions I cannot keep. Therefore, I always keep my resolution. Also this year, I resolve to keep trying to write columns that will give you a smile or a laugh from time to time.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!