Living Columns & Blogs

Communities that care: Be present and give back this holiday season

Can you recall what packages you received last holiday season? How about from the year before? Does remembering those material things fill your heart with warmth and gratitude? Or rather, is your heart filled when you recall how your spouse or child purchased your gift, however small, with great love? Do you smile when you remember sharing a holiday tradition with loved ones?

This section from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” says it well: “... And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a bit more?”

This year, please keep in mind — most significant remembrances often have no commercial value at all. Material value is truly inconsequential, yet time spent together is priceless. Indeed, as the Grinch finally understood, Christmas does not come from a store. There are a lot of opportunities in our community to give to others and these giving opportunities can also be opportunities for family time. Shop together for an angel tree gift, volunteer at the food bank, ring the bell for The Salvation Army. Local schools also offer projects for students to participate in that involve giving back to the community. For example, Bald Eagle Area School District partners with the Bellefonte and Philipsburg YMCAs to provide a backpack program that sends healthy food home over the weekend for some of our families.

This year, be present — be truly present with those around you and make time with your family the top priority. Time together as a family, a school and a community is truly one of the greatest blessings we have. Have a positive, purposeful, kind attitude while “being present” with your loved ones, and you will be blessed with an abundance of cherished holiday memories for years to come.

Marilee Close is a guidance counselor for Bald Eagle Area School District. This column is provided by the Communities That Care Prevention Coalition of Centre County serving Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola and State College Area school districts.