What goes around, comes around

You don't have to stand in a Christmas lineup to give the gift of yourself to your community.

It sure doesn’t seem much like Christmas out there as I write this on Tuesday afternoon. Blue skies, mild weather. A little bit of ice and frost in the morning.

I am not complaining! I’m just saying that it’s hard to forget that Christmas is three weeks away.

When I was a kid, we started marking off the days until Christmas in November, we were so excited. There were so many things that Santa might bring us.

And now, 40 years later as I look back, I can remember very few outstanding gifts. What I remember is family – lots of visiting, lots of food! Laughter and noise. Thinking of it still makes me smile.

I also remember Christmas concerts every year, how my parents would dress up in their best “going out” clothes (different from “going to church” clothes) and sit in the packed gymnasium with all of the other parents on those old gray metal stacking chairs. It felt like the social event of the year.

That was the community I remember as a child. Since then, there have been other communities. Special places where I’ve lived, where there have been  people who have gone out of their way to bring the community together, usually through a variety of ways.

Christmas season has so many opportunities for communities to come together, and it’s interesting to watch as people who normally keep to themselves become transformed by the laughter and friendship of everyone else in the room.

Community usually doesn’t just “happen”. It needs help. It’s best when it has help from everyone.

It’s not only people who get gifts at Christmas time. Communities can, too. What sort of gift can we give our community? Volunteering. Helping out, helping friends and strangers alike. Putting aside the differences of opinion that separate us from others. Working together – TOGETHER – to make our communities happier, prettier, more prosperous places to live.

You can’t lose, because the more you give, the more you get back. Giving to your community is also giving to yourself.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal