On Centre | Around Philipsburg: With holidays approaching, remember those struggling to celebrate

Christmas may be 41 days away but that’s just a matter of semantics.

Everyone knows Thanksgiving is the first day of the Christmas season, an annual monthlong march toward a carnival of wrapping paper, curling ribbon, eggnog and way too many cookies that gets started with Santa in the Macy’s parade and doesn’t stop until the batteries in the most popular toys start to wind down.

But what if Black Friday is dark because you don’t have any money? What if your choices aren’t about getting the right gift? What if they are about getting any gift at all? What if your children need to know that, sometimes, Santa doesn’t make it to every house because you just can’t afford it?

According to Mel Curtis, the director of the Moshannon Valley branch of the YMCA of Centre County, that isn’t a what-if for everyone. For more than 100 families in the Philipsburg area, that what-if is just the way things are.

That is how many families have already registered for the Y’s Christmas program. They are people who aren’t worried about getting their children the new Skylanders Trap Team game or chasing down that one super-special Monster High doll.

It’s about maybe finding the money for gloves or a hat or even a new coat.

The Y’s program tries to bridge both of those gaps, finding the cold weather necessities for the whole family and finding the few special somethings that make the holidays sparkle for the kids. They also try to give the turkey and fixings for a holiday meal.

With Black Friday shopping looming, it’s possible for people to find a way to throw a few extra presents in the cart that might make a big difference in a Moshannon Valley household’s Christmas. Curtis said it’s also great to just contribute money to the program and let the Y staff play elves.

If you have a little Santa in you, contact the Y at 342-0889 and get in touch with the holly jolly inside you. Black Fridays are great, but every child deserves a merry Christmas.