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Karen Heller: Deserving folks will get their due

It's the most wonderful time of year. OK, October was the most wonderful time of the year. Still, happy holidays! It takes way more than a global economic meltdown to kill Christmas.

It's the most wonderful time of year. OK, October was the most wonderful time of the year. Still, happy holidays! It takes way more than a global economic meltdown to kill Christmas.

Wealth, after all, is a relative concept. Of late, relatively little.

Consider the bright side: The less you had, the less you lost. Bernie Madoff did not Popeil your assets, which cannot be said for Frank Lautenberg, Norman Braman, and most of Palm Beach.

Some gifts are priceless. Like a world championship decades in the making.

Also: Just five more weeks of this marvelous presidency. Then, Bush retreats to Dallas. Cheney slithers to cave. We keep wars, debt, but get adorable Obama girls, puppy.

In the meantime, we're doing some holiday shopping:

For the Nutter administration: A keg of humility. Mayor Nutter doesn't need the motorcade and entourage that take him on his rounds. He's not the president or Vinnie Chase. For Managing Director Dr. Camille Barnett, drop the insistence on being called Doctor. We get it. You have a doctorate. Nobel Prize-winning professors don't mandate such pomp. Lose the police escort to and from home. So a homeless man yelled obscenities. Welcome to Philadelphia. Besides, sometimes you get, "Looking fine, hon."

For the Free Library: Loving support. If the region can raise $68 million for Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic, why not $8 million for 11 branches slated for closure? (It strikes us that a certain millionaire former state senator, so generous with our money, is the ideal benefactor for the Fumo Family Branch.)

If everyone mails $10, the problem's solved for the coming year. Feeling generous? Send more. The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, 1901 Vine St., Room 111, Philadelphia 19103.

For the Eagles: More Brian Westbrooks, better clock management, a decent season. Remember 2004? Us neither.

For City Council: A grasp of history instead of patronage and birthright. Sure, the comic potential is grand - instead of 30 Rock, it's Room 400 Crock - but the drive for achievement is largely absent. Stop bloviating and bickering. Astonish us.

For City Councilman Jim Kenney: Yoga, meditation. Kenney, a capable pol, turns red at regular intervals, losing patience with Bill Green and Frank Rizzo. Last week, Kenney and Rizzo were at it, the former saying Rizzo wouldn't be in Council except for his father, the latter quipping, "Jimmy must be under a lot of pressure. Maybe his part-time job as a councilman is starting to get to him."

For the Kimmel Center: Plants, a newsstand, noon-time music and dance concerts, a half-price tkts booth for all city theaters.

For Comcast: Competition, bills that don't rival the cost of Fumo's Orecks.

For Harrisburg: More sessions, fewer officials and staff, a drive toward change, achievement, better service for all residents, health care. Oh, never mind. Shut it down. Start over again.

On the other hand, look at the gifts we get to enjoy:

Gripping regional theater: Thursday mornings in City Council chambers, daily performances of The United States of America v. Vincent J. Fumo, now in its third smash month at James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse. Admission is free.

Gov. Ed: He says he has no life. Hah! He gives us a lifetime of uncensored remarks.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett: One state legislative caucus probe down, three to go.

With so much good fortune, such a rich year, remember to give to those who have less. Yes, we all have less. But we mean the people who didn't have much to begin with.

In times when everyone hurts, give and shop locally, support the neighborhood, the city, the region. If the holiday mood has yet to infect you, and the economy is still bumming you out big time, did we mention that our wonderful Phils won the World Series?