It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with snow on the ground and decorations in businesses and stores. This weekend, at our house, we did our tree decorating with hot chocolate and Christmas carols. I used to have a firm policy that I would not begin to celebrate Christmas before my birthday at the end of November but over the years, it has become harder and harder to stick to that. Now with my daughter attending all the Christmas parties for the various clubs and activities, it is almost impossible to find time in December.
Christmas has become one of the busiest times of the year with everyone in a flurry to celebrate. The season is often criticized for being too commercial but I disagree. The Christmas spirit is largely one of generosity and love. Yes, the stores do try to capitalize on that and so they should. However, businesses, particularly in St. Paul, are also amazingly generous. This time of year, they are often called upon by charities and organizations to donate silent auction items. Every group I have ever spoken with has said that when they contact businesses, they are never turned away and the good quality items that these businesses are willing to give away amaze them. Customers are also rewarded for shopping local through the Chamber of Commerce “Passport to Christmas” campaign.
The residents of this community are also very generous. The Knights of Columbus’ food hampers begin to overflow with donations this time of year. Children and adults are scurrying around town, selecting items to fill shoeboxes to be sent to children in other countries through the charitable organization, Samaritan’s Purse. There are also donations made to local children through Santa’s Elves and numerous other donations made to churches and clubs.
Time is a precious commodity during the holiday season, yet the entire community works overtime to organize parties, events and activities. Teachers put in extra hours to organize concerts and spend precious classroom time on Christmas parties. Volunteers with various churches and clubs organize events and activities for children.
The New Year’s Eve benefit has grown each year and all of the proceeds go to a local family in need. Through the volunteer efforts of its staff, the Columbus House of Hope is offering a free family Christmas party, complete with a visit from Santa and horse-drawn wagon rides.
Our newspaper is flooded with requests for donation pictures and invitations to events. The people who were born and raised here probably don’t notice, because for them, generosity is just the way it is but I have heard numerous newcomers say that this community impresses them.
Although at times, it seems like the Christmas season is commercial, the spirit of generosity, love and caring for your fellow man is alive and well in our community.