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20 December 2011

Stouffer: An Old Fashioned Christmas or Post Christmas Idea

The Christ-Child is born!

Merry Christmas, from Bill & Sue Ellen

An Old Fashioned Christmas or Post Christmas Idea

Please let us share this greeting with you — Merry Christmas. It almost sounds refreshing to write and to hear those words. And we can say them all month.

It still amazes me that a little baby boy born amongst farm animals and their bedding could become King of Kings. Thankfully, here we are again, celebrating his miraculous birth. It is this time of year that we stop to share in this celebration, spend time with family and friends and reflect on our lives, both past and present. For just one day, there is peace on Earth with celebrations and ceasefires alike. Christmastime is here.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become a commercialized event. I hope we never forget the true reason for the season. While the Dutch and others shared gifts at this time long before it was a part of worldwide tradition, it was not until the last 200 years that the concept became so popular here in the United States.

Considering how many items we buy come from other countries, it may be time to reverse a growing trend.

There are many gift ideas that benefit your local Main Street. Here are some that have been sent my way in recent weeks:
  • Everyone needs a haircut. Perhaps a gift certificate from a local salon or barber would be the perfect gift?
  • Giving a gym or club membership would benefit local YMCA’s or other small businesses that provide this type of service. It is this time of year that folks start to think more about their waistline.
  • For those who like things to be tidy, perhaps a local car detailer or housecleaner could be hired for one day’s wages to assist.
  • Car wash tokens or homemade certificates for things like oil changes may do the trick as well.
  • Needed home repairs could be completed by local folks who specialize in home improvements. This could include snow shoveling, lawn maintenance or landscaping.
  • Every small town has a restaurant and the folks on your Christmas list probably have a favorite eatery. Please do not forget to leave a generous tip.
  • A tune-up at a local computer shop may make needed improvements to an existing computer system.
  • Season tickets to a local theaters, or support for non-profits or local musicians, can be a part of a gift that keeps on giving.
  • We recently had an old-time photo taken here in Missouri. Local photographers can provide a fun way to share memories that can last a lifetime.
  • Homemade and handcrafted goods, including those made in the kitchen, can also bring delight. If you have little skills or time, a local florist or bakery can help fulfill your holiday or yearly baking needs.
  • Craigslist, eBay and social media sites provide great ways to purchase gently used toys that neighbors can sell to help make ends meet as well.
Finally, these ideas can be used for anyone on the list, including those providing services like trash pickup and mail delivery.

Remember the true reason for the season. Reach out to your neighbors throughout the year. Small, random acts of kindness can easily catch on and become part of your regular routine each and every day of the year. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

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