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Happy Holidays! This is a time of year we celebrate the importance of family and friends. At Christmastime we have spectacle of lights, presents, egg nog, and carolers to enjoy. It is a joyous time of year!

However, each year we discover more and more that there are families that do not find the holidays to be joyous. We also are mindful that some families are experiencing difficult times like divorce, separation, alcohol addiction, losing a loved one recently, or not having family around to celebrate. Each person handles the holidays differently. The holidays and the spirit they give us can encourage us to help those in need. Consider this year some simple ways to help others around you.

Invite someone to dinner.

Having dinner is an easy way to have a conversation with others about their feelings and how they are doing with their current situation. Listening is key to people in need. If the issues are difficult, having dinner with them could provide them with a wanted distraction from sadness.

Prepare a meal and deliver it to a family.

Sometimes just taking a meal over to someone’s house and spending 10 minutes with them can make a big difference. It may take a burden off of them from cooking around the holidays. Few things are better than a home cooked meal during the doldrums of winter.

Have a family or single person over for cookie baking.

If you have a family, baking cookies is a lot of fun. Laughing, making a mess, and taste testing is the best part of this time and great memories are made. Sharing it with others will give them memories to last a lifetime.

If you have a group of people who would like to help a family, adopting an entire family is a way to share cheer.

You can adopt a family through agencies or churches throughout the city. After you have selected what size of family, and the amount per person each of you are willing to spend, then it’s time to shop. Getting together to shop, wrap presents, and delivering to the adopted family can be rewarding. The look on an adopted family’s face is priceless. Not only are you making their Christmas but there is something that happens inside of you too knowing you helped a family.

If you are unable to spend money or time, send a card of encouragement.

When someone receives a card or other act of kindness it is a sure way to lift their spirits.

All of us can help others appreciate and enjoy this time of year. A little act of kindness can go a long way!