This is the season when many of us take that extra step of generosity and find ways to give to those in need. I so love that it brings attention to those with less and in many cases struggling and suffering. These past couple of weeks, I have watched several of the news stations reporting on volunteers giving their time, families adopting families in need and the secret Santas who touch hearts and bring so much joy to others.

It’s a time when many of us are rethinking our priorities and how we can keep those so near and dear to us first in our day-to-day thoughts and actions. It’s also a time for reflection as we remember previous holidays we have enjoyed. One of my favorite memories is in the emotions of excitement and anticipation we had waiting for the day to open our gifts. Hearing the laughter, and seeing smiles and wonderment as my sisters and parents followed the Christmas tradition putting up our tree, decorating to Christmas music. My mother loved sweets, and this was the time of year we baked cookies and countless other deserts that went into tins for gifts.

We also learned to focus on this holiday as Catholics, who went to Mass on Christmas as we honored the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. The beautiful voices of the choirs singing famous hymens sung for generations. The holiday week included sledding and ice skating at the pond in downtown Moline, Illinois wearing snow suits, mittens, and scarves with only our eyes exposed to the frigid temperatures. Then hurrying home to snuggle up near the fire and drink hot chocolate. Yes, just taking a few minutes to write this brings a big smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

As we prepare this week for another traditional holiday with family and friends, here is a question I asked myself this week. What about those in need year round? I want to be honest and say that even though I will drop money into the boxes for those collecting outside of the stores, or handing out money to those begging on the street, and even contributing to the food banks from time to time I haven’t really made it priority to consider what I could do to give consistently to those in need year round. This year, I’m going to make that a priority to determine where I can make a difference giving not just when it’s convenient, but on purpose.

My holiday wish for you, is that you are blessed with time with family and friends, that you too get to enjoy every moment creating memories that you and others will hold dear for years and generations to come.

Happy Holidays!