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The holidays are not about large festivities

It’s going to be a different holiday season this year.

While many of the public decorations are up or in the process of being put on display, there are few community events planned (a topic I may address in a future column).

There continue to be many uncertainties as a result of current events, and many of us have questions about the ways things are being handled. COVID numbers are continuing to increase in our area, and that is something we all need to take seriously.

While we are asked to stay home as much as possible and limit our social interactions, there continues to be a need and a responsibility to show support for our community.

This is an important time for connecting with family and friends, and we can still do that in a responsible way. We may not be able to see everyone we want the way we are used to, but there are still opportunities to be in touch with them.

We may not necessarily have the big family dinners as in the past, but that’s OK.

To me, this is a time to think of others, not of ourselves.

We have those in our communities who are having difficult times, not because they can’t have a big dinner or can’t see their families. They may not have any dinner or any family. They may not have a warm coat to wear as the temperature gets colder.

We have organizations in our area who work to help those in need, and as current events have continued, there are more people who have been in need.

If you have gently used clothing you no longer wear, consider donating it to one of these organizations. If you are going to the grocery store, consider purchasing a couple extra non-perishable items (if they are available) and giving them to one of our local food pantries.

We also can help our local economy. We’ve had some good news recently about our economic future, but there are many businesses which are here now and might not be receiving as much commerce as they usually do.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has become known as Small Business Saturday. While much of the attention is given to Black Friday because of the mass amount of shopping done that day, we can’t forget about those locally owned and operated establishments in our hometowns.

Whether you want to have a gift basket put together, purchase a meal (dine in or carry out), maybe pick up some supplies for an indoor home improvement project, get our hair cut or look for some unique item, there’s a good chance we have something available right here. We don’t have to go online or drive an hour away to find a particular item, plus there’s the added benefit of supporting our friends and neighbors.

Ultimately, that’s what the spirit of these upcoming holidays is all about anyway, isn’t it? It’s not about getting gifts or doing things for ourselves. It’s about being willing to give of ourselves for the benefit of others. It’s about being there for our fellow citizens and looking out for their well being.

This season can be observed in many ways. We don’t need a large dinner or public festivities to celebrate. What we really need is to unite as a community and look out for each other.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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