Dr. Bill Atwood

Get shopping

I started to hear the Christmas music three days prior to Halloween. In a few more years I will know it is Labor Day by seeing the Santa decorations in the stores at the end of August. Off the soap box. Now about the “true” 12 days of Christmas which begin at sundown on Dec. 24 and extend to Jan. 5, followed by Night of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. Those 12 days are the days of the Christmas season and the 12 days or 38 days before the holiday are shopping days.

As we enter the holiday gifting season associated with Christmas and Chanukah, we need to be mindful of a few things. First, be practical. There is no reason to go into debt to make that splash on Christmas morning. My parents lived by the rule established by my dad that he wanted to know that whatever was under the tree on Dec. 25 was paid for prior to it being opened. They saved all year to make my brother’s and my Christmas’ delightful days.

Secondly, little ones don’t need Christmas puppies that are cuddled on the 25th and become ignored by the 27th.

Third, buy locally as much as possible. I know Amazon is convenient and maybe even a few dollars less. Not one of my neighbors works for Amazon. Amazon doesn’t donate to the local Scouts, schools, or Little League. Those who work in the “brick and mortar stores” do.

While you are thinking about shopping locally, I remind you that many of the area churches have homemade wares for sale that are sure to please. I know a couple of the church sales have already occurred and there were many items purchased that will be treasured for many years to come.

This Saturday, the ladies of Christ Church, Anglican are having one such sale at the Oakhurst Masonic Lodge. There will be hundreds of great homemade items, wood carvings and creations, food items, and even the opportunity to win some great items in their raffle. Sales of handcrafted things help raise many thousands of dollars for our local charities. Boys and Girls Club, Scouts, sports, schools, and Toys for Tots - just to name a few.

My wife was commenting on how much fun it is to shop. She and I are on opposite ends of the opinion poll in that regard but we both agree that there is a great deal of fun in getting out with the others in the community, hearing the music, enjoying the smiles and one-by-one checking off that special something for that special someone on your list.

During the weeks to come, I will be reminding you about charitable gifting for here and abroad. Saint Nicklaus was known during his lifetime in the 4th century for helping others out with gifts. Those acts of gifting translated into the seasonal habit of gifting at Christmas time. A ritual that has nothing to do with the real reason for the Christmas season - the birth of Christ, but then again Christ would appreciate that people are doing kind things for one another.

While you are out shopping in the stores or at the church sales this Saturday, be sure to drop some money into the bucket for Manna House or an unwrapped new toy into the Toys for Tots boxes. The donations stay here.

Manna House will monitor the donations for the needy to be fed and the Griswald Mountain Marines Corps League has contacted Santa and stands ready to serve as elves again this year.

Only 38 shopping days left.