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The true holiday spirit

Cartoon by George Longley.

With Remembrance Day in the rear view mirror, many people are ready to dive headfirst into the holiday season.

For those with gifts on their mind, Black Friday, Nov. 23, is no doubt marked on the calendar already.

The busiest shopping day of the year will yield massive savings and deals on everything from electronics to clothing, cars and household items.

It is followed by Cyber Monday for those who are more inclined to shop from the comfort of their own homes than battling for a parking spot and waiting in long lines.

And while it’s great to be able to get the best gifts possible for our loved ones and friends, there is another day that deserves as much attention.

Nov. 27 is Giving Tuesday, an initative started in 2012 as a response to the consumerism tied to events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Giving Tuesday provides a balance to the commercial blitz that happens the weekend after American Thanksgiving.

It also serves to remind us of one of the pillars of the holiday season, spreading joy and helping out those in need.

But unfortunately as can be seen by riots and fights breaking out on Black Friday in recent years, the holiday season has started to take on an uglier side.

Instead of spreading goodwill, shoppers are throwing punches and other people aside to grab what they can.

While these incidents are not the norm, it is disheartening to see.

The holidays are the time of year when most citizens are likely to give to the many charitable causes out there. It is also a time of sadness and despondency for those who are without family, or are unable to provide their family with the ‘perfect Christmas’ as is portrayed on television and movies.

Perhaps this year, instead of keeping our eyes glued to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday flyers, we can take a little time to find out more about the organizations and individuals who try to make sure everyone has the happiest holiday season possible.