Spirit of season can overcome shopping frenzy

By Michael Caldwell

The Winchester Sun

The magical season is officially starting, but I am not talking about the shopping madness.

No, I mean the season of giving.

Holiday spending will soon be in full effect, building toward the frenzy of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and running right up through the last-minute shoppers of Christmas Eve.

And all that commercialism is just fine.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remember the true spirit of Christmas and celebrate how magical of a time it can be for young and old alike.

It is also important we all realize that it can be a very challenging time for those less fortunate and individuals facing a variety of personal challenges in life.

The holidays are easily the busiest time of the year for many of the critical organizations that offer social and human services in our community.

All will tell you the need for food, shelter, basic necessities like winter coats and hats and even toys for children skyrocket over the next two months.

If citizens ever felt the urge to make charitable donations or lend a hand to someone in need, now is a perfect time to put those thoughts into action.

There are so many opportunities to get involved, from toy drives to food donations to the Salvation Army and much more.

Everyone can make a difference. Each and every penny counts for these charitable organizations. Volunteer hours are often worth their weight in gold.

Even something as simple as a kind word to a stranger can turnaround a bad day or make a huge impact on someone’s life.

Find someone who needs a hand. Ask your friends, neighbors, organizations in the community, your church.

I am going to challenge myself to do more this year — not more shopping but more giving. Those are lessons we try to teach our seven- and nine-year-old daughters who are starting to understand that they really do not need another toy that, within a few days or weeks, will join the mountains of others relegated to the closet.

Helping others is a gift that never goes out of style.

The old cliché that “it is better to give than receive” is certainly true. It makes us feel good and small acts of kindness can go a long way to making this season truly special.