Christmas spirit a-plenty

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Pictou County.

And it’s beginning to sound like Christmas and feel like Christmas, too.

That the season of giving has arrived is evident in local shops that are already decorated in bright red and green, sounds of Christmas music in the air. And it is evident in the shopping mall where Santa has already staked his claim to the big velvet chair in centre court, ready to welcome children who are eager to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want him to leave under their Christmas tree.

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The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign collecting money for those who need some extra help this Christmas is in full swing, too, staffed by caring volunteers who give their time freely and willingly to support this cause.

There are other charitable endeavours underway at this time of year, like the Spreading Christmas Cheer in Pictou County Christmas card campaign that began four years ago as a way for Nicole LeBlanc to honour her grandmother, then her grandfather. It started off small – if you consider 400 Christmas cards to be small! – and has grown to more than 4,000 cards delivered last year. This campaign will spread Christmas cheer to many people, one heartfelt greeting at a time.

And one effort continues to come through for those in need year after year after year: The Pictou County Christmas Fund telethon.

Every year, this one-day event that takes place over the course of a mere five hours helps ensure that several thousand people living in Pictou County get to enjoy a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Every family that has registered for the assistance will receive a Sobeys gift card that will enable them to purchase everything they need to provide a hot meal for their loved ones – with some left over for a treat or two.

This year’s telethon – the 43rd – was held Sunday at the deCoste Performing Centre and once again, it exceeded its financial goal. Volunteers have spent countless hours planning the logistics of the event, organizing refreshments for the volunteers and entertainers and providing technical requirements; entertainers give their time and talent willingly to help and local businesses step up – as they always do – to provide whatever is needed.

This year, more than $85,000 was pledged in five hours – $32,000 of that was pledged in about 90 minutes. That’s a lot of money to help make sure your neighbour can enjoy a Christmas dinner, to make sure that hundreds of men, women and children right here in this community will have smiles on their faces, knowing their Christmas was made a little brighter.

And it’s all made possible by you, the community. Time after time Pictou County residents step up and give what they can. And every little bit helps. Every $3 and $5 pledge adds up to the overall goal. Every kind thought, gesture and good deed this time of year make a difference to someone, somewhere at some time.

‘Tis the season to give and forgive.