At Your Service: Dec. 23, 2009

‘Tis the season in a time that is difficult for many and challenging for most. The pressure to give gifts worthy of our relationships calls and it is very difficult to answer without spending beyond our means. Yet the simple truth is that no amount of money can buy what matters most to those we love.
The spirit of giving can yield intense emotions leading to new levels of appreciation and affection. We dream of seeing lights flash in our children’s eyes when they see what Santa left beneath the tree. For that special one in our lives, we see them marveling at what we wrap with tender care. The pleasure in giving a friend or family member something they can both use and enjoy is its own form of pleasure.
Those gifts we make provide unparalleled satisfaction. The cookies that come from our oven fill our home with sweet aromas en route to the mouths of many. What has been knit, crocheted or sewn by loving hands gives off a warmth that will thwart even these Catskill winters. The creativity we bring to items crafted by our own hands adds a touch of magic.
As you run around making the last minute purchases that will complete your holiday experience, there is more to gain by keeping close to home. Shopping locally is a way of giving that benefits on many levels; supporting area businesses and the neighbors they employ. So many of the things we find in our Main Street shops are simply perfect for the life we live.
Another facet of giving pleasure comes from that which we do for our community. Whether our hands get chilled decorating the village gazebo or collect toys for the children of others, there is no measuring how much our heart is enriched. Giving money pays off for the many who are benefited by various community projects created to bring cheer to those in need.
On the other side of the scale, giving is balanced by receiving. The pleasures of giving have no place to flow unless they are poured into an open vessel. Unless we are willing to receive with the same generosity with which we give, we are likely to miss the full experience of the season. Those who care about us need us to appreciate their efforts.
Sometimes the most generous thing we can do is receive graciously. It is not likely that we need the candle holder crafted by six year old hands, but that child needs to express how much our love means to them. The expression of appreciation is not fulfilled until we have the experience we sought to give. Our child, partner, spouse, family and friends need to see that glow in our eyes.
The full experience of holiday spirit is most available to those willing to give and receive with equal ardor. We get pleasure from the process of selecting or making that perfect something for each special someone; we appreciate both the sentiment and effort that went into what we are given.
Merry Christmas to you all! May your holiday be filled with people you care enough to give something special to and may you receive with equal generosity.