Some say Christmas has become too commercialized, that it's become a marketing ploy. Such sentiments, however, distract from the magic of the season.
Christmas was, is and forever will be so much more than a "buy-me-that" affair for children. Simply looking around, our community proves it to be true.
As the years pass, it's not the presents we gave - or even those we received - that resonate with us. It's the holiday traditions we share with friends and family, that special sugar cookie recipe only used during the most special of holiday celebrations, or that warm, radiant smile from someone whose life we touched for the better, that create lasting memories.
The smell of cinnamon, crunch of fresh snow under our feet and taste of eggnog - everything we see, touch, hear and smell holds memories from years past.
Yes, presents certainly are a key element of Christmas, and perhaps sometimes the true meaning of the holiday is forgotten at times, but still, wherever you look, Juneau's Christmas spirit can be found in abundance.
Donation bins filled to the brim, food banks chock-full of food, carolers singing in the streets and Juneau's glow from hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights - these are the signs of Juneau's true holiday spirit.
You merely need to open your eyes to see the beauty of it and the way in which the holiday encourages folks to enrich the lives of their neighbors.
The staff at the Juneau Empire is grateful to those who have given time and money to those in need during the holidays and to the community as a whole for making Juneau the gem of Southeast Alaska.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and a safe, enjoyable New Year.
The Juneau Empire staff