It's funny, we see the Christmas decorations and promotions in retail stores rolling out earlier year after year.
Now the red and green garland is on display before the candle is out in the Jack O'lanterns and the fake cobwebs are pulled down from Halloween.
Now that we've got that tedious Thanksgiving celebration behind us, we can really focus on the importance of the retail holiday built around the birth of our Lord. That's sarcasm folks.
Personally, I think we skip the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Sure, we get together with family, loved ones and friends to slam down the turkey and trimmings. Speaking on behalf of the men, we loosen our belts, plop ourselves down in front of the tube and catch a nap with the football game de jour blaring in the background.
But, how many of us really remember to give thanks? In this country we have an abundance of things to be thankful for. We may have people struggling in this country, but compared to third-world countries, we don't understand the meaning of the word poverty. In this country, poverty means only one family car, one flat screen TV and just enough money to cover the weekly supply of beer and cigarettes. That's poverty in America. We've got it pretty good in this country, comparatively speaking, even in bad times. So, remember to be thankful, and there's really no need to wait until late November every year to do it. Everyday you wake up is a gift from God -- be thankful for it.
Now, let's turn our attention to Christmas.
Do we really get what this season is about? Ask a major retailer and it's about catching up to that profit margin. Sure, why not? That's what Christmas has become, an opportunity to spoil our children as we buy into the annual holiday pitch hype. We save all year, or worse, we bust out the credit cards, to purchase all of those must-have items for those we love to prove that we love them as much if not more than we did last year.
I stand guilty as charged of the above comment, as I'm sure many of you readers are as well.
So what can we do to bring the real spirit of Christmas out? We can adopt a true spirit of Christmas in our day-to-day life. Give unto others. Not necessarily gifts, but instead give of yourself. Reach out to others with good deeds, a kind smile, words of comfort or reassurance.
To that person who is struggling, provide the comforting hug and offer a shoulder to cry on. No need to offer unsolicited advice, just listen.
Give to the local food pantries so those going through tough times remain nourished. No need to be recognized for your good deeds, do it simply for the joy of giving.
Participate in a local gift giving program. The Daily Reporter works with the Spencer Rotary, Spencer Fire Department and local UPS drivers to distribute gifts to families in need each year. The Kiwanis and Jaycees have great gift programs as do many others throughout the area -- offering support to children as well as the elderly in the community who might otherwise go without this year.
One of my family's favorite activities is to help serve the Christmas meal at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for anyone who wishes to come and enjoy fellowship and a spectacular meal to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with others who might otherwise have dined alone or without family. We're looking forward to participating in it again this year and please consider this an invitation to come join us for a meal on Saturday, Dec. 25.
There are so many ways you can become involved in the spirit of the season that doesn't involve banging shoulders and playing bumper carts through the aisles of regional shopping emporiums.
If you do choose to do some shopping for Christmas -- which undoubtedly we all will -- please remember to try and keep those dollars local as much as possible. If we are going to participate in the process of holiday excess, let's at least keep our neighbors employed and in business.