THUMBS UP! To those who make our season bright. There are plenty of members of the community who put in amazing levels of work with Christmas decorations. They may do it for bragging rights, for personal satisfaction, or simply to cheer passersby. If you or someone you know have a notable holiday display, contact staff writer Claire Hettinger at 217-421-6985 or at chettinger@herald-review.com

THUMBS UP! To our first responders. November appeared particularly stressful for firefighters, emergency crews and police in Decatur. Their efforts continue to be appreciated, and we hope there's a reduced need for their services this month. They deserve a break.

THUMBS DOWN! To the continuing parade of accused sexual harassment offenders. As a society, we must take care to assure we don't normalize the behavior of the accused, or allow victim reports to become background noise. We still operate under a presumption of innocence, but we owe it to those making accusations to hear them out. The entire concept of a harassment culture leaves us in position to be shocked, stunned and disappointed on practically a daily basis.

THUMBS UP! And congratulations to businesses and consumers. The stretch after Thanksgiving proved to be a boon to businesses and shoppers, as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday all approached or broke sales records. Most reports in Macon County featured chilly crowds standing in long lines outside and inside, but few if any negatives. Here's to the holiday season continuing the same way.

THUMBS UP! To the heartwarming story from Cerro Gordo Elementary School. Students in Lori Urquhart's fifth grade read the book and saw the film “Wonder.” The story of a young boy with Treacher Collins syndrome, a craniofacial difference, tells how someone the same age as the Cerro Gordo students handles the challenge of appearing different than his peers. The primary lesson from the experience – “choose kind” – is a lesson worthwhile for all of us. 

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