Tis the season

Halen Doughty
Halen Doughty

Now that Halloween has come and gone, the holiday season is officially upon us. Christmas lights are coming down from boxes in the attic, shopping lists are being made, and tables are getting cleared for an upcoming holiday feast. As the hustle and bustle begins, it's important not to lose sight of the real meaning of the season - giving. (And I'm not talking about giving iPads to your grandkids.)

While you rush out to the mall for the latest iPhone your kids have been begging for, don't forget the families who may not have any gifts at all to open on Christmas morning. It's a perfect time to donate to your favorite food pantry or toy drive.

The kids can even get involved too. Have them pick out a toy to donate to a child in need. Or pick up an extra bag of their favorite holiday treat so other families can enjoy it as well. Teach them that the holidays aren't all about getting a new Xbox, and show them how rewarding it can be to give back.

This is the time when someone always says I can't afford to donate. Times are hard, I know, but if you can afford to buy gifts for your own family, you're already doing better than too many families in our own community. Sacrificing one present under your own tree could mean a very Merry Christmas to someone else.

The unfortunate truth is that unless people come together and donate, there will be families who do not have a Thanksgiving dinner and others who will have no gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve. Food pantries rely on donations to stock their shelves with enough food to make sure everyone has something on the table. And without toy donations, local charities would not be able to stuff stockings for local youngsters.

With Salvation Army donation buckets outside every grocery store and food drives taking place throughout the season, there are plenty of opportunities to give, even if it isn't much. Small donations add up quickly, and it can go a long way to making sure everyone has a happy holiday season.

They say it's better to give than to receive, and I don't doubt that one bit. Giving is in itself a gift. Nothing compares to the warm fuzzy feeling of making someone else smile, especially during the holidays. And that's what the season is really about.