Wrapped in a box with a bow isn’t the only way to go

Add a charitable donation and a kind gesture to this year’s gift list.

In a recent editorial we encouraged Lassen County residents to shop local whenever possible this holiday season. It’s a reminder we make every year at this time. But we are realistic and know that it is impossible to satisfy every gift on that wish list without leaving the county — either by driving the car or by pressing the send button.

Some of us who have already made a trip to Reno or Chico have noticed that even the big retailers aren’t immune to the convenience of search and click from the comfort of one’s own home. There are closed storefronts in the malls, and racks of sale items weeks before Christmas. The shopping experience is definitely changing, and if we aren’t careful it’s not just our in-county businesses that could be in jeopardy.

But in addition to gifts that can be wrapped in a box, presented in a bag or slipped into an envelope, Christmas is the perfect time of year to support one of the many worthwhile organizations that support our communities year round. Make a gift in your own name or a friend or family member to a local food bank, service group, crisis center, church, school, hospice or any other entity you would like to acknowledge. There is no shortage of opportunities to support an organization that plays a pivotal role in our area.

And giving doesn’t have to be limited to an organized group, Do you know of a family that could use a little help this holiday season? Or you could select a child’s profile off of an angel tree that is on display? The cards list the age and sex of the youth along with a few gift-giving ideas. Contact your local crisis center for other ideas.

But even beyond the gifts and the charitable donations, the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate the spirit of the season. It can occur in the simple moments that make up our days and spread cheer to those we encounter.

For instance, give a smile as you pass someone on the sidewalk. Exercise a little patience while standing in line at the grocery store. Maybe even let someone with just a few items or a mother with young children take the coveted spot in front of you.

Put down your cell phone while waiting to pick up that prescription or see the doctor, and chat with the person next to you. Live next to someone who is elderly? When the snow flies, think about helping them with a little shoveling or offering to run to the market.

The holiday season has officially kicked off across Lassen County as evidenced by the festive photos sprinkled throughout our newspaper. Let’s not lose the collective warm feeling of tree lightings and merchants nights out as we go about our daily lives. Let’s keep the spirit of Christmas alive with our gifts, donations and kind gestures.