Suggestions for sharing the holidays

This will be one of my broken-record opinion columns. I have said this before, but I think I am spot-on with this idea and since it is my job to fill this space, I am going to share this with you one more time.

Many of us complain about the excess that has become part of a simple religious holiday. There is griping about starting too early, piling on stress as we try to do everything to create the perfect holiday, and the sheer amount of money we spend on more stuff than most of us need or will ever use. Those arguments echo through our households from Halloween until after-Christmas sales have faded from memory.

It is time to consider community giving in your plans for gifting during this holiday season. This is such a simple concept and it means a great deal to your schools, community organizations, and friends and neighbors. If there are groups or service organizations to which you belong and about which you are passionate, you know how tough it can be to do the work of that group. Youth and senior citizens’ groups could use your help whether it is monetary or volunteer hours. Our schools and churches, our library, historical society, parks, and community celebrations all could use a boost.

Generally, the money and time donated to a non-profit organization is tax deductible. Let Uncle Sam give you a belated Christmas gift in exchange for your donation to a group that needs your help. Many of us have reached a point in our lives where we no longer need more things. When your offspring ask what you want for Christmas, present them with a list of groups that do the kind of work you appreciate in your community. Ask your kids or anyone else wanting to purchase a gift you neither need nor want to make a donation in your name to any organization on that list. You will feel good about that gift and never have to dust it.

There are posters and advertisements about town to remind all of us about a Giving Tuesday/Winterfest promotion beginning at 5 p.m. at Peabody-Burns High School. Our school system and Peabody Community Foundation will sponsor the event. You should go and check out the number of charitable groups sharing their wish lists with the community. Donations are listed that will help advance the American Legion Avenue of Flags, Peabody 4-H, senior citizens, churches, the HUB, food bank, parks, library, and individual clubs. There also will be a soup supper by donation and entertainment by the high school band, sports teams, and cheerleaders. You know — a community event that covers just about all the bases and feeds you as well.

If none of the above meet your criteria for local organizations you can support, here are some suggestion for others: scout troops, Marion County Toy Run, Peabody Christmas lights, Peabody Historical Society, Peabody Main Street Association, Peabody Proud group, or any number of other service organizations. All of them would appreciate your donations or your time.

Ask for gift certificates from local businesses and merchants. Arrange to get your daughter’s car serviced two or three times. Pay for hair care or a manicure from a local beautician. Certificates are probably available for massages, restaurant meals, tree trimming, or lawn care. Arrange for special people to receive special cuts of beef, fancy mustard or produce, trays of party food or a bottle of wine for an upcoming occasion.

Divest yourself of ugly ties and sweaters you will never wear. Unload the icky fruitcake or questionable meat products from some far off food production company that contributes nothing to your home town. You probably do not need the latest tech gadget either. After all, by next Christmas, it will be out of date and you will need a new one.

Be creative. Use your imagination and donate at home. Support small businesses and shop at home. We can do this.

—susan marshall

Last modified Nov. 23, 2016

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