Christmas is usually a slow news day. Why that's a good thing

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Here's an inside secret about the news business and holidays. These spots on the calendar produce little of the stuff that normally goes in a newscast.

Some of us still show up, though, for two reasons: 1. just in case and 2. because there are still newscasts to be filled.

On any given holiday however, most of us don't show up. We're home with loved ones like the rest of you, which is why the newsroom, usually a scene of barely controlled chaos, is mostly empty Monday. I'm not complaining. I've been doing this for decades and the years have often found me on these shifts.

Besides no news is usually good news for the world at large. And out here no one's missing it.

The streets and parking lots are mostly empty, a big change from the past weekend of last-minute shopping. Sales people and customers are now home with the rest of you.

Matthew Altemus and his wife will be along soon, or at least they will be on the road back to Oregon. Monday they're closing down their South Virginia Street Christmas tree lot.

"We kind of miss the holidays with our families. We do an early Thanksgiving and a late Christmas. We made a lot of people happy. Toward the end I brought down a whole new load of trees to give to needy families."

A gesture worthy of note, but probably not news, as we suspect they do this sort of thing every year.

There are, of course, still some essential services continuing. For police, fire, ambulance crews it's been a mostly quiet day for them as well, for which we can all be thankful.

Essential services must include coffee, since we found a Starbucks staying very busy serving a grateful crowd.

Essential too are the daily meals served at St. Vincent's Dining Room to the area's most vulnerable. The numbers have been trending down, but there's been a recent uptick and that's not good.

"I think the main reason for that is the rent, the housing shortage and the rentals," says Director of Nutrition Services Scott Cooksley.

They're getting priced out of their housing.

Christmas means special treatment. Meals supplied by the Nugget. No cafeteria-style lines. Diners are seated and waited on.

"This is their day. So just like they're being sat in a restaurant. Their meal is brought to them. their coffee is refilled."

That puts extra pressure on the dining hall's crew of volunteers. Most are regulars, but among them are also some first timers like the Cross family, which decided to do something different this year and are leaving glad they did.

"Absolutely. Having a good time.," nods father Troy Cross, wielding a pitcher of water.

About 900 were fed Monday and left with full stomachs and a bag of treats and essentials. But for the special touches, that's pretty much a normal day as well.

This is a day when most of our concerns turn inward to family and loved ones or expand to include the less fortunate. Come to think of it, it happens every day. None of it really making news and again, that's a good thing. From all of us on a slow news day, Merry Christmas.