Find The Christmas Spirit By Giving Back

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Everything from television commercials to the lights that have begun to appear on houses and businesses are telling you that Christmas is right around the corner.

Most likely, everyone seems ready for Christmas except you.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a long gift list that you can't really afford, this is the perfect weekend to search out the "Christmas spirit."

Getting in the Christmas spirit takes active participation and it isn't always found as you fight your way through a crowd to buy the big screen television at 5 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving.

This year, find the Christmas spirit by giving back. If not with a donation, then with your time.

The Salvation Army is still looking for bell ringers to take a two-hour shift in front of Safeway, Wal-Mart, Walgreens or Bashas'. (Call Ray at 474-6577.)

The Salvation Army also has an angel tree and a Humane Society drop box at the National Bank of Arizona, 804 S. Beeline Highway.

Or stop by the Rim Country Food Bank at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church at 511 S. St. Phillips St. in Payson or call (928) 474-9104 to see if they need help putting together food packages for people going hungry during the holidays.

There is an angel tree for senior citizens in the lobby of Stockmen's Bank. Take a tag, buy a gift and return it to the bank by Dec. 15.

There is also an angel tree dedicated to local foster care children at Arizona State Savings and Credit Union, 104 E. Highway 260. For more information, call Stephanie Jones at 468-5346.

On Saturday, the annual Tamales for Toys will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Payson Elks Lodge. Anyone who brings an unwrapped toy will be given a tamale and bean lunch.

With your belly full and your heart filling with the Christmas spirit, head over to Main Street at 6 p.m. the same day and enjoy the companionship of your community during the annual Electric Light Parade.

And after a night out in the cold, you'll appreciate the need of those who cannot afford winter coats. On Sunday morning, the people of the Payson Church of Christ, 401 E. Tyler Parkway, are collecting donations of winter coats from 9 a.m. to noon.

Watch the Community Almanac on page 3 of the Roundup for ways to get involved this season.

We know it's easy to get down on Christmas -- to be cynical about how commercial everything has become, to feel lonely when you are far from family, to get depressed when you don't have the money to buy your children everything they want.

The best way to get away from those feelings is to step outside of yourself this Christmas and therein lies the spirit of the holidays.

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