COLUMN: Don’t let 2020 kill your spirit

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

My grandmother used to tell me stories from her childhood, and some of the most memorable ones revolved around Christmas.

When she was a little girl, like many kids, she would snoop around the house trying to find her Christmas present before the big day came along. She knew her present would be placed in a stocking, which would be tucked away in a closet somewhere. One year she was delighted to find a rubber ball, and she even took it outside and played with it before carefully returning it to its hiding place.

Another year, on Christmas Day, she described reaching deep into her stocking and initially thinking it was empty. But she kept reaching deeper and deeper, and there, stuffed way back into the toe, was a 50-cent piece.

As a child, what struck me about these stories was how little she received for Christmas compared to what I received. Obviously, what kids had in the 1930s during the Great Depression was drastically different from what us ’80s kids found under the tree in the “decade of excess.”

Now, don’t read too much into this—I was not a “rich kid.” My Dad was a D.J. for a small-town radio station, and my Mom worked full-time as a bookkeeper. But they scratched, saved and sacrificed so there would always be food on the table and something under the Christmas tree every year.

We all know that the standard of living has increased exponentially, year after year, and what the average child receives for Christmas now is beyond belief. I was reminded of this when I saw a family member complaining on Facebook about how difficult it is to find the latest PlayStation.

So, why am I skipping right over Thanksgiving and writing about Christmas? Because of the children who do not fit into the above category. Many families will struggle to put food on the table, let alone gifts under the tree—if they have a tree—for Christmas this year. On top of that, 2020 has brought its own challenges with a pandemic, leaving more people in need and less people in a position to give.

Fortunately, there are programs in Shelby County to help families in need, such as the Women’s Business Council’s stocking drive or the Columbiana Police Department’s Candy Cane Buddies project. Those are just two of many examples.

If you are blessed this season, please take time to give to those who are less fortunate. And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving—even though many of us are unable to gather with loved ones this year—remember to give thanks.

And don’t forget to check the toes of your stocking; there might just be a surprise waiting down there!