|Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York and has worked in|
the ophthalmology field of medicine for over 30 years.
It is once again that magical time of the year when we celebrate all the holidays that bring family and friends together. This year according to the Jewish calendar, Chanukah will be celebrated in mid December, every year it’s a different date. It’s a great time to remember fond times of the past between family and friends . Back when we were little or even when we were raising our family, times were so much simpler. No Cyber shopping, Internet surfing and stores that open actually on a holiday. It was unheard of and unnecessary. Holidays such as Christmas and Chanukah have become so“Americanized” that the gift and lists are all consuming these days.
What happened to looking forward to visiting with family and friends being the priority and not just who procured the best bargain gift on Cyber Monday. Our family always gave us a gift to share and then a few smaller gifts; today families are given a list to fill as if the parents were Santa themselves. What happens to the families that can’t afford those large expected gifts and literally get into debt to please those people? They pay for those extravagant gifts the rest of the year and maybe into next year. We have forgotten that the thought of being remembered , is the greatest gift of all. If anyone has spent any time with the homeless they would realize that.
Looking in on someone that is shut in or unable to leave their residence is a gift that will last for several days. Donating clothing, food or just spending time with the needy are great gifts in themselves. This is the time to teach young children what the meaning of holidays really are. We as small children never got showered with gifts on the holiday; even though my parents lived comfortably,there were more important ways to show love and caring. Even today I love to receive a home made gift from someone and better yet, I love to make scarves for people as well.
So, take some time to unwind during this season, think of how you can please others without spending a lot of money on a large expensive gift. The feeling of giving of yourselves will long outlast the bobble that someone bestows upon you. My hat goes off to all our volunteers who selflessly do those good deeds all year long such as helping out in shelters, food pantries and the many ways to care for the less fortunate. If it weren't for them, many people would literally be unable to survive especially in Buffalo with our brutal winters. It truly beings home the saying, “it is better to give than receive.”
WE must dig down deep and find ways to help our less fortunate; clean out those closets of the clothing you have long forgot about. Someone out there can benefit from your donations, volunteer to help out at food pantries, shelters and food drives. Spend a little more time visiting with our seniors and shut ins, and visit our friends and family living in nursing homes. Each day in their lives are all the same; I am amazed at how little some nursing home people get visitors; I see my dad just about every day and can’t
believe how I never see others getting a visitor from family or friends.
Spend some time focusing on someone else, it will come back to you twofold by paying it forward. Enjoy the Holiday season and make it a point to give of yourselves.