Keep the Christmas spirit going

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Community columnist Sandra Thames encourages Alabaster residents to keep the Christmas spirit going around the year to help make the city a better place. (Contributed)

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Although it’s New Years Eve, the past several weeks have carried us, once again, through the memories of the Christmas season.

All the hustle and bustle, gift shopping, grocery shopping, list making, cooking, parties, programs, band concerts, pageants, nativity scenes, visits with Santa, decorating homes, trying to find a parking spot, “grabbing a bite to eat,” conferring with family members on sizes, colors and styles, visiting family and friends, and of course all the church activities can sometimes make the holiday season fly by. Now here we are, ready to begin a new year of opportunity….hard to feel that at times. The economy is at a tragic low. Folks are out of work (many that have never been unemployed), bills are high, the housing market is terrible for those of us who are seeing our equity slowly disappear, the general outlook is a bit bleak. January and February are our coldest, darkest and sometimes most depressing months. So what are we to do about all this?

Perhaps if we all try (on an individual basis) to think and act in more positive ways we can make some differences. Let’s be thankful for what we do have instead of bemoaning what we “used to have” or wish we had. Food on the table might be more vegetables and less meat. Let’s have more movie nights at home instead of shelling out the big bucks right now. Do not make rash, impulsive purchases. Cars can be repaired (instead of a new lease or purchase). Clothes can be worn a little longer (be creative with what you already have).

Take better care of what you do have. Maintain your home, yard, car, etc., instead of giving up or neglecting everything. Think of ways you can volunteer to help the less fortunate. Safe House, Shelby Emergency Assistance, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, nursing homes and Meals on Wheels are just a few of the opportunities that come to mind.

Helpful hints: Smile more, stress less, face problems head on (get help if needed — don’t procrastinate), seek advice from those who have already “traveled your road” and give of yourself.

Hold that door open for a mother struggling with her toddler, offer assistance to the physically handicapped or elderly (be real careful on this one), share your umbrella, wave to your neighbor, pick up the trash in the street even though you know it’s not yours, be patient with sales people and restaurant servers … delays are not usually their fault.

You can invite someone to your church or offer to run an errand, mow their yard when they are sick or out of town, collect their mail, bring in the trash can or just “keep an eye” on their home. Sharing your time can be so appreciated by someone who is housebound.

Let’s carry this spirit of Christmas all year long. Think and act with a positive outlook.

I hope you all experience blessings, hope and optimism in the New Year.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at