Big-hearted volunteers show off community spirit

Everyone always moans that the holidays have snuck up on them, that there seemed to be no time to shop, no time for the cookie-baking and the merry-making.
And yet, this year, there was no sneaking.
The holidays came at us in fall gallup mode, the overeager shops trying their darndest to squeeze a few bucks from the stones that we have suddenly become in this economy.
It hasn’t been the traditional holiday season for anyone I know – there were the decisions to cut out travel, the siphoning off of the kids’ wish lists, the parties canceled.
And yet, the community festivities that have always made Christmas Christmasy and Hanukkah, well, Hanukkah, for the kids have made it through.
Events done for free, for the sheer sake of putting smiles on a few kids’ faces, could easily have been canceled by local community centers, churches and fire departments.
They could well have pointed to the dearth of donations this time of year, cried “we’re a non-profit,” and slammed the door.
They didn’t.
That’s the holiday spirit.
It’s the community spirit.
On Sunday, my daughter went with her daddy down the street to enjoy festivities with the rest of the Callicoon Center kids.
She smeared sugary frosting on gingerbread and colored to her heart’s content, then climbed on Santa’s lap for a visit with the old man (her third this year – all at community events, I might add).
She ran into my office still wrapped in her winter wear that afternoon, eyes dancing, grin spread wide across her face to show off the baby doll she’d just received from Santa.
The hours spent that night carefully dressing, undressing, cuddling and putting that baby to bed are proof positive that money spent on a community party is money well spent.
She was in love – and although we’re lucky enough to already have presents shoved under that tree, it wouldn’t matter if we did.
She has already gotten from Santa, as have dozens of kids around this county – their parents’ economic status aside – thanks to volunteers with big hearts.
That’s the holiday spirit and the community spirit, all wrapped up in one package.
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