On to the giving part of the holidays

The consumer engine of our society has a way of meshing the holiday season into one linked constant spending spree starting with Halloween and ending with New Years. Sandwiched in the middle is Thanksgiving which seems to take the brunt of all the new ways to lure consumer extremism. Black Friday followed by … what’s this flooding my Inbox … Cyber Monday. With all these new days created to spend, it feels more like ‘Thankspending’ instead of a day to take stock, give thanks and gather with loved ones.

Thank goodness we are heading into the season of genuine giving. I sense were in an advertising lull, a respite before the full on Christmas blitz, and its okay to write about the true value of the holidays. As Anchorage Daily News columnist Shannyn Moore notes, “Holidays ought to make us reflect on our past, what we’ve lost, what we’ve loved, what we have.” Holidays are also a time of sharing joy within communities, of giving back and of giving to those less fortunate. And in this regard Juneau is a community that shines.

Here are some of the ways to join in the giving part of the Holidays.

• Coats and blankets are being accepted by the Coast Guard who will deliver them to families in need throughout Southeast. Up until Dec. 3, donations can be dropped off in bins set up at all the major food outlets, the Nugget Mall and the Federal Building.

• Love INC, a network of 27 local churches, has a Christmas adoption program that allows for individuals, families, or groups to adopt a family for Christmas. Love INC clients then receive presents for their children as well as Christmas Stockings.

• Helping Hands is conducting a packaged food drive at Safeway where individuals purchase a bag of food for $10 and then drop it into boxes located in the entry way. This is happening now through New Years.

• Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul are both collecting donations for holiday food baskets. Salvation Army is also doing an angel tree program and adopt a family.

• Capital City Rotaract is coordinating the Christmas Dinner Project for the fifth consecutive year. Last year Rotaract put together 200 boxes of favorite holiday foods for friends and neighbors in need.

• Night Moods is doing a toy drive for Helping Hands. Individuals bring a new, wrapped toy and get a free bouquet of balloons or a certificate in exchange.

To learn more about these giving events and other opportunities all one need do is go to the United Way Southeast website — www.unitedwayseak.org

The giving in Juneau flourishes in many forms and this year we have two special treats of community giving. One is the return of the musical King Island Christmas performed by children from the Alaska Youth Choir and adults from throughout the community. If you have not experienced this act of joyful community giving yet, check out the performances Dec. 6-9 at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center.

The second treat is new. This year there will be six nights of activities to celebrate and declare the “Good News of Christmas” according to the organizers of Juneau Fest 2012. This event runs from Dec. 9-14 at Centennial Hall.

Whether it’s giving to a Salvation Army bell ringer or taking in a community treat, enjoy the giving part of the holidays. Black Friday is behind us now and we can be thankful for living in a community that brings us back to the true values of the holiday season.

• Troll is a longtime Alaska resident and resides in Douglas.

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