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The Holidays: Just like Grandma Used to Do Them

Yes! Having phones handy while you shop, navigate traffic far from home, and stay in touch over the holidays is great. We are able to save time and communicate in ways we never were years ago, but there is also something to be said for some analog Christmas spirit.

This season, after you’ve finished your online shopping and downloaded the next game to keep you busy while standing in line, consider these good old-fashioned ways of connecting:

–        Send paper Christmas cards. Some people barely go to their mailboxes anymore, so imagine their surprise and joy to find an actual handwritten card waiting for them.

–        Deliver a gift or card to someone unsuspecting. Nursing homes, hospitals, and military bases abroad are filled with people away from loved ones for the holidays. A number of charities can help you reach out to soldiers serving overseas who would love an anonymous care package, and you can always drop by a local nursing home with a lovely poinsettia or card. If you really want to make someone’s day, stay for a little just to chat.

–        Show those in the service industries you care. Tip well, leave a gift card in the mailbox for your letter carrier and make a snack station (cookies and hot chocolate in a thermos, for example) for your FedEx guy. These people work hard all year and a little recognition at year’s end goes a long way.

–        Shop in an actual store. Yes, the lines will be long, and some tempers may get hot, but show the people you love that you took some time to find a truly meaningful gift. And, try to spend your dollars at a one-off local shop; these store owners are your neighbors and money spent in their stores keeps your neighborhood thriving and unique.

–        Volunteer. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, so donating some to a worthy charity is the most generous gift you can give. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry, deliver food to those who can’t get out on their own or spend some time at your kids’ school doing whatever the teacher asks you to do.

–        Check out the lights. What’s more magical than a drive on a snowy night to see your neighbors’ homes at their absolute prettiest? Find some holiday tunes on the radio and take in the spirit.

With technology around us all the time, and the bustle of the season a constant buzz in our ears, it’s important to just unplug and enjoy the simple joys of quiet time with our families and sharing good cheer with strangers and friends alike.

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