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The meaning of the holidays

Thu, Dec 22nd, 2011
Posted in Journal Student Writing Project

When choosing what to write about this week, I knew I needed to somehow incorporate a holiday theme into the column. That being said, it's that time of year again-the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all almost fall within the same month. It is an exciting and festive time of the year, but do we get caught up in some of the wrong aspects of the holiday season? While retail companies know how to manipulate human psychology with grand advertisements, an abundance of deals, and tremendous markdowns on prices, all of the retail shopping days--Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday--seem to point to the answer 'yes'. Although I'm not trying to discourage gift giving and bargain shopping, there are often some other holiday aspects that are left out or forgotten.

Just a little over a week ago, the juniors and seniors of Lanesboro High School took a field trip to view a production of Charles Dicken's famous novel "A Christmas Carol" at the Guthrie Theater. I am pretty sure most people have either read the book or watched some version of the movie. If not, I hope you have at least heard of the title. Even within the Guthrie Theater's exhilarating performance and elaborate special effects, the traditional theme of the play was exactly the same: Christmas and the holiday season is a time to celebrate, forget past disputes, move past selfishness, and learn to value friendship and charity. All of these are admirable goals to accomplish for the coming of the New Year.

So what can you do to make a difference? First of all, most of us have that extra change floating in our pockets. Red Kettle volunteers are out for more than a month collecting donations. Second, toy drives are a great place donate, and there are many around our area. When you're out shopping, it is simple to pick up an extra gift. Third, give a monetary gift to a charity. Recently, the Lanesboro FCCLA chapter (Family Career Community Leaders of America) ran a "Buy a Burro" campaign to buy a donkey for a family overseas. Remember, these are only ideas that scratch the surface of what you can do.

We all have a character from A Christmas Carol that represents us. Read through the descriptions and find your personality. The selfish Scrooge: The individual who only thinks of himself and his own well-being. Bob Cratchit: The over-worked individual who is good-hearted and contributes what he can. Fred: Scrooge's nephew who is uplifting and embraces the true meaning of the holiday. The transitioned Scrooge: A generous individual who cares about others' well-beings and is willing to do everything possible to help others.

To end, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration. Good luck with the 2012 New Year's resolutions!

Mitchell Walbridge is a student at Fillmore Central High School. He is one of 8 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its thirteenth year.

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