Liz Smith: Christmas Gifts of Love

c Milton Greene

And more from our Liz: holiday greetings to Joan Ganz Cooney, Celia Lipton Farris, Liz Taylor and Marlo Thomas

“AND IS it true?  And is it true?

This most tremendous tale of all,

Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,

A Baby in an ox’s stall?

The Maker of the stars and sea

Become a Child on earth for me?”

This poem was written by John Betjeman in 1954

* * *

MERRY CHRISTMAS! I am in tune with the philosophy of that fabled co-founder of “Sesame Street,” Joan Ganz Cooney. She says, “This is the most incredible time to be alive. Everything that is happening makes me more eager to live long enough to see how things turn out.”

* * *

THERE IS a smart cookie out in Palm Beach. She is the philanthropist Celia Lipton Farris who is celebrating her birthday today. She has been clever with her money. She’s kept it safe. Not for herself, but for the many charities that benefit from her kindness. We wish Celia a very happy birthday and Merry Christmas.

* * *

“THE GIFT of love lasts throughout your life!” That’s what it reads on Elizabeth Taylor’s beautiful Christmas card this year. It came accompanied by a lovely personal note and a big box of fab chocolate truffles. I can’t think of a better sentiment for this old world. It certainly is the one Elizabeth has adhered to! And I don’t mean that cynically; Elizabeth truly believes love conquers all. Romantic love, love for her children, love for her friends, love for all the people she’s never met, who are alive today because she stood the stand against AIDS, love of life.

We send our love back to the star of stars out in beautiful Bel Air!

* * *

RAN INTO Marlo Thomas and hubby Phil Donahue and we began talking about the Christmas plea Marlo makes for the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. I don’t know how she does it, but Marlo and her cohorts whomp up $600 million plus every year to keep St. Jude’s able to treat ailing children with top-notch newest research, whether their families can pay or not.

When I congratulated Marlo, she laughed. “My brother and I used to say to our wonderful dad, Danny Thomas, who founded St. Jude’s – ‘Daddy, why couldn’t you have left us a booming, gambling casino instead of a children’s hospital to worry about?’”

You might think about sending a post-Christmas gift to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, zip code 38105. Think of the many children there, struggling for their lives against cancer.

* * *

I USUALLY reprint the 1926 words of the then pastor of Riverside Baptist Church — but this Christmas Day I will close with just the end of that man’s appreciation of Jesus Christ. After noting the insignificant background of that one solitary life, the pastor closes with these words:

“Twenty centuries have come and gone and today, he is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this One Solitary Life.”

* * *

I WANT to wish my wonderful readers Merry Christmas! We are celebrating the European tradition of fighting the winter darkness with the lights, food and festival of the Solstice. We also celebrate something charming and dear, the rise of the idea of St. Nicholas transformed into Santa Claus. So, this is the week to celebrate that version of the Yuletide as well as history’s greatest miracle – the birth of Jesus Christ – and this myth, legend or reality changed our Western world for the better, whether one believes in its divinity or not.

3 comments so far.

  1. avatar Linda Myers says:

    I don’t know Marlo, though what she/her family has done for children would rival all feats attained by political leaders and heads of state and continues to do so. Her dad left her the power to keep healing, casinos are bargain basement in comparison. :-)

  2. avatar rick gould says:

    Since we’re sharing the love, let me say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your column over the years, Liz.
    I started reading you back in the ’70s, while grilling my mother about the stars as seen on the afternoon movies. And I’ve enjoyed your straight-shooting take on the world of celebrity ever since.
    Sorry to sing your praises at this late date, but it just occurred to me to state what I’ve felt my entire adult life ;)
    Happy Holidays, Ms. Smith, I’m sure you’ll do ‘em up right…

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I followed Liz Smith here.  Need I say more?  She and another Texas gal named Aileen Mehle aka Suzy both New York, both became “Cholly Knickerbocker” and then both conquered New York in their own right.  Texas obviously did something right with these two. 

      Wishing you many more years of entertaining us all, Liz, with your snoops and scoops.