Soon you will have the leftover potatoes and gravy devoured. You will be  finishing up your Thanksgiving bird sandwiched between two slices of white bread with Miracle Whip! That lethargic feeling of fullness serves a purpose of reflection.  After all we are too stuffed to do anything else. As you count those blessings during the holidays let us keep in mind that we can do that throughout the year as well.  The truth is that there are gifts in each day.  We just need to watch, listen, and recognize these treasures.

The holidays can seem stressful for some and if we sit back and consider what is important it may help us enjoy the simple pleasures.  Children don’t remember how many gifts they receive, but rather the time you spend with them.  Set up a card table by the window on a chilly day and cut out snowflakes from plain white paper.  Color, draw, or paint a festive picture with your kids.  Silver and gold collectable ornaments are fabulous, but actually utilizing your child’s green and red paper chains on the tree is a testimony to the importance of their contribution in your home and family.  Is Santa not able to bring so much this year?  Maybe he will leave a sled or refurbished toboggan from the garage for endless hours of fun.   When it comes to baking the perfect selection for the cookie exchange it matters little that they are exquisite.  It makes a bigger impact if your family decorates them together.    The holiday memories that stay with us throughout our lives all lie in experiences not in the number of purchases.   

Some of the most valuable things in our lives may include a loved one coming home for Christmas, good news from your doctor after a check up, or having enough food and warmth for your family.  These are not things that everyone is able to take for granted and in some cases need to worry about.  If you are in a position to help someone during the holidays then you are very lucky.   I urge you to do so whether it is buying someone a bag of groceries, a toy, or new mittens.  Perhaps you can make a contribution of time instead and offer to read to a resident at one of the nursing homes or assisted living facilities in your community.  You can drive someone to church, a choral concert, or even to your house for dinner.  Write a letter to a soldier who is unable to be home for Christmas. There is much to be thankful for and if we all just slow down and look around we will find a way to make the holidays wonderful for others.   We are blessed to live in our community where we need not look far for a friend or neighbor.  

Upcoming events:

Friday, Nov. 29

The Prairie Rose Carousel will be open for free rides from 4 – 6 p.m. followed by The Wahpeton Holiday Lights Parade at 6 p.m. through Chahinkapa Park. 

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Save the Earth Tree open house will be  5 – 7 p.m. in The Nature Center. Families can make a recycled ornament to hang or take home.  No charge.

Kathy Diekman is the director of the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton. 

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