If you can, reach out a helping hand this holiday

But there’s no doubt that some of us have an easier time at the holidays than others due to our bank balance.

Most of us have already been out and about starting our Christmas shopping.

Whether its stocking up on groceries in anticipation of a busy holiday feasting season, or heading to the shops to find that perfect gift for someone special, many of us take for granted that we will be able to at least have something to make the holidays special.

But for a startling number of Cowichan Valley residents, Christmas will only be merry and bright with a little help from those of us who are more fortunate in our finances.

We all know, and countless Christmas stories from Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas to The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry tell us, that getting stuff for the holidays isn’t what gives the season its magic. By far the best gifts are being with the people we love and counting our blessings.

When we consider the plight of people in other parts of the world, such as the Syrian refugees escaping terrible violence, we all have much to be thankful for, even if we don’t have a lot of material things.

But there’s no doubt that some of us have an easier time at the holidays than others due to our bank balance. We can make sure that the people we love know we are thinking of them by putting something under the tree.

So now, as we hit the stores for our own holiday wants, it’s a good time to make a little extra effort and shell out a few extra dollars to help out someone else in our community.

There are plenty of ways to do so. The Salvation Army is out in force with its annual Kettle Campaign. There are numerous fund and food raisers for local food banks to which you can contribute.

The RCMP are going to be cramming a cruiser or two with toys for kids who otherwise might not have anything to unwrap on Christmas morning. There are angel trees in various locations where you can pull a brief description of a child for whom to buy a gift. And there’s Cowichan Neighbourhood House’s annual Adopt-A-Family program that’s looking for donors.

It’s a worthwhile something to add to your Christmas list. And it will make you feel good, too.