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When you read this you will have probably opened all your gifts, eaten a wonderful meal and maybe watched a little football on Christmas Day.

When I was growing up, you would hardly see any displays regarding Christmas in any of the stores until Thanksgiving or the day after. We didn’t have the internet to flood us with emails regarding “special deals,” or to debate whether we should camp out a few days before “Black Friday” to ensure we got a special deal on something we thought we couldn’t live without.

We didn’t have inflatable lawn decorations or laser-produced light shows on the trees or bushes in front of the house. They probably wouldn’t have been out there anyway, due to the snow that was most always on the ground in New Hampshire. We have to scratch our heads and wonder whether we might have lost the true meaning of the holiday, or whether the meaning has simply become a reference to last year’s sales numbers.

Christmas should be a time of rejoicing and of great happiness. It should be a time when we reflect on the greatest gift ever granted to mankind and friendship, good health and the simpler things in life we sometimes lose sight of.

But for some it is a time of sorrow, as their circumstances may be different than ours and the happiness and excitement that fills the eyes of a neighbor’s child will be replaced by just a blank stare or with eyes filled with tears.

It is important that we look around us to see what can be done to help those less fortunate or in need of a kind word to help lift their spirits. Sometimes just a simple hello or good morning with a smile can go a long way and it costs us nothing, but pays off in big dividends.

Each and every one of us can help to make this time of year more representative of what it should be about, if we would just think a little more positive and look for ways to participate in the community to do a little good.

Over this last year, our community has come forward on numerous occasions to help several of our extended families who have been in need due to illness. Others have pulled together to help a popular local entertainer who suffered burns from an unfortunate accident aboard his boat.

The Island Country Club Foundation has again stepped forward to assist during this time of year with the Joy of Giving and its wonderful efforts to assist those who may need a little lift during this time.

The island also recently celebrated the splendid deeds of two extraordinary women, who through their dedication in doing for others have received special recognition for their work in local charities and in the educational field. They certainly represent the good that can be done within the community.

During this special time of year, we should also take the time to remember those in uniform who are serving this nation and protecting our freedoms and liberties. Their families will be looking at an empty chair at their tables this holiday, a chair they would love to have filled, but understand the need to have it empty to insure we are able to gather each year to celebrate our closely held traditions.

Public safety families will also note the absences at the family holidays. Those men and women who serve in law enforcement, fire and EMS will also be standing at the ready should the need arise and their services are needed at your home, out in the community or on the highway.

Keep all of these wonderful professionals and their families in your prayers, that they may come through the doors of their homes and receive the justified adulation and love that they so deserve.

The holiday we will celebrate has nothing to do with inflatables, laser shows or the size of the gifts under our trees. Instead, it has to do with the size of your heart and your readiness to help others, no matter how small the gesture and has to do with making the effort to care enough to make the attempt.

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