Holiday gift-buying, whether with local retailers or online, is reportedly at record levels this holiday season.
There are variations, of course, but close to full employment, slight wage increases and a stock market that, if you set aside the recent couple of months, is doing well, are parts of the reason.
Very locally, gift givers are avoiding any thoughts of the so-far dry winter and what that will mean come summer if it persists.
Strings of Christmas lights are ablaze and stores are busy.
Intertwined with the commercial energy that covers even non-Christian countries of the world are holiday activities that are close to the heart.
Christmas is a time to embrace family, in person or with a telephone call, particularly those who have been out of touch. An unexpected call – the sound of a voice still conveys a lot in this text-full culture – can reconnect. Better yet, reach out to two or three family members and friends who have begun to drift away.
Gifts do not have to be the latest technological device, with or without batteries. International organizations provide food and shelter to those in need in small amounts in the recipient’s name. And that includes animals as well as humans.
Closer to home, a donation will assist the San Juan National Forest in tree planting.
Most non-profits have created some benefits which can be supported for small amounts. Your recipients can boast of a thank-you certificate more easily than they can show off a home electronic device.
Participating in the Salvation Army’s bell ringing has its critics, but do not expect a small collection to cause the staffing by the national organization to end. Put a couple of bills in the container, or ring for an hour.
Every church has its Christmas service. Even if many of the attendees will not recognize you, take it in. You will be welcomed.
Most importantly, make those telephone calls. And send a thank-you note for what you do receive the old fashioned way, via the postal service. Put a commemorative stamp on it; that could be surprising.
There is no reason that these types of gifts and communication need to end the day after Christmas. Continue the outreach through New Year’s Day, and the days after. The holiday season peaks on Christmas Day, but there is sufficient good will on either side of that day to provide a longer duration to reach out to others.
Enjoy what family, friends and Santa have provided, gifts large and small and in your name but all from the heart.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.