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Noel, and relax!

This may sound like a commercial, but we have to ask: Has this year left you feeling depressed? Did your hope for a smarter, more liberal America dwindle with Sen. John Kerry’s failed bid for the White House? Did your Motor City-loving ego cry out when the alleged West-Bloomfield-beer-chucker at last week’s Pistons game, John Green, dressed up as a basketball fan and lit the wick to Ron Artest, possibly the richest loose cannon in the National Basketball Association?

If your feelings are similar to ours, you’ve had your fill of controversy for the year. We could use a break. Fortunately, the holidays are here, and that means it’s time for Noel Night. Lord knows it isn’t coming a minute too soon.

The Detroit Cultural Center’s 32nd annual holiday event takes place Dec. 4, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Twenty-three locations will be open and free to the public to celebrate community, good will and peace; moreover, many of the galleries participating would like to sell you some art to give as gifts.

Venues like the Detroit Artists Market, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Park Shelton will present choirs, recitals, dancing and art. You can take the kids to see a show at the IMAX or enjoy carriage rides over the river and through the woods. OK, in the spirit of keepin’ it real, over the potholes and past the traffic lights.

Anyhow, this could be the relief you’ve needed since the debates. Put it on your calendar. Tell your kids to turn off Viva La Bam and Spongebob Squarepants. It’s family time, in the name of good holiday spirit. Or, in Detroit’s case, it’s a needed event in the spirit of calming down our uptight selves.

And, for Pete’s sake, no throwing beers.

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