Even though it is still early December, the spirit of Christmas can already be found all around us.
The Swiss Village is aglow with festive lights and tonight the Payson Center (Legacy Home Furnishings) turns on the 1,400 lights adorning the large evergreen in its north parking lot.
Saturday, the Elks Lodge will be filled with toys for the Rim Country's youngsters in need through the Tamales for Toys program, and Main Street will glitter and glisten as the Electric Light Parade makes its way from Sawmill Crossing to Green Valley Park, where yet another community Christmas tree will be lighted.
The bins stand ready and waiting for food donations at the area grocery stores so the Optimists can build holiday food baskets for our neighbors in need. There are also drop boxes for donations to the Payson Humane Society.
The Salvation Army has an Angel Tree at National Bank of Arizona.
And at least six brand-new bikes are waiting to be given away through the generosity of anonymous donors, Manzanita Adventure Sports and the Payson Roundup.
Any Rim Country youngster, age 15 and under, can write to Santa's Helper, c/o Payson Roundup, P.O. Box 2520, Payson, AZ 85547, and tell why they would like a new bike for Christmas.
The letters must include the address, telephone number, age and sex of the child asking for the bike, and they must be received by Saturday, Dec. 10.
All letters will be reviewed and the lucky winners will be chosen the week of Dec. 19.
This is not the first time new bikes have been given away by these Santa's Helpers. It's a tradition that brings joy not only to the recipients, but also to the kind people who provide the gifts.
There are equally kind people who bring the spirit of the season to the Rim Country's outlying communities. Pine has its own Angel Tree program and there are several community service clubs and organizations working to create special celebrations in Star Valley, Christopher Creek, Tonto Village and Tonto Basin.
Residents can still get involved. Pick as many of the projects as you can, and give your support, making Christmas merrier for everyone.
Then celebrate and attend one of the many wonderful Christmas concerts in the coming weeks.