The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/194493

Editorial: A merry, mindful time of year

Dec 23, 2011

Carollers have been singing their rounds, an anonymous giver has left presents for local families, and despite the warm winds, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

This week’s Tuesday night shopping was fun and well attended. Phones are ringing with last-minute calls for gift certificates. Santa was at the Fire Barn last weekend, where he met the island’s newest resident, not even a week old. Yes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

In the relative safety of our island bubble, it’s easy to forget what others may be facing this holiday. Soldiers are returning as we finally pull out of Iraq, and they’ll encounter the highest unemployment rate of any group in the country, at almost 30 percent. We all have friends or family out of work — not seasonally unemployed, just unemployed, period.

So as we celebrate the holiday season, whatever our faith or beliefs, let’s remember those who are less fortunate. There are great opportunities for giving online: check out the Better Business Bureau’s Winter Wise Giving guide at bbb.org to make sure your hard-earned dollars get their best use.

And as you give and receive gifts, remember a precious lesson from these last, hard few years of recession: it doesn’t matter how much a gift costs, it’s the thought behind it that counts. It’s the hoariest of cliches, and yet it has such power. When we all look back years from now, we won’t remember the i-gadgets and cashmere scarves. We’ll remember the time we spent with each other, for time, and attention, are the greatest gifts of all. Let’s remember to lavish them, merrily, on those we love.

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