Sunday column: Giving others comfort

You waddle over to the recliner after having stuffed your face with holiday comfort food, undo a belt loop and gently slide into your warm chair. The sounds of children pulling each other’s hair, relatives yapping about the price of gasoline in the kitchen and the odd uncle explaining global warming are muted by the sounds of the football game in your living room television.
The house is full and warm, a pleasant contrast to the cloudy cold weather outside your front door.
The noise and the responsibility you feel to chat with people you only really see once a year give in to the urge to nap. The eyelids go heavy … and you drift away.
Honestly, is there a better feeling in the world?
This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Sure, pumpkin pie, fall weather and a ritual Dallas Cowboys game all make it great, but it’s the above scenario, that complete perfect feeling of comfort, that make this No. 1 on my list (sorry, Christmas, you’re a close second).
My first Thanksgiving in Sanford this year won’t have the crowd I’m used to, but it will have the food, friends and family … so it will probably be another great one.
That’s why this time of year, it hurts me to know we have people in our city who will be cold, hungry or alone this Thursday. It’s why I feel stories like the one written by Chelsea Kellner on today’s front page are so important.
There are dozens of organizations in our area filled with people who care that others are suffering on a day meant to make you feel thankful to be alive.
Beginning Tuesday, The Herald will start running a list of these organizations that are gathering food, toys, coats or anything else this holiday season, and we’ll include contact information and how you can donate. The list will start small, but we’re counting on local non-profits and churches to add to it leading all the way up to Christmas.
We’re lucky to have so many who put these food and toy drives together, because all we have to do is donate.
We may not be saving the world, but the whole “falling asleep in my chair” feeling comes much easier when I know I may have helped make Thanksgiving Day more comfortable for a family.

•••

I’ve received a lot of feedback about last week’s column declaring my dislike for early Christmas decorations. I wrote the column after seeing Christmas lights hanging in department stores and in store parking lots the day after Halloween.
Some readers have called me a Scrooge, while others have agreed with me (one woman called me Saturday to say she liked the column and went on to say the fact that Santa Claus will appear on a boat instead of a sleigh in this year’s Sanford Christmas Parade has her upset).
I just want to clarify that I do, indeed, love this time of year, and I love seeing decorations (the way downtown Sanford is lit up is great) … I just feel a little overwhelmed when the Halloween decorations haven’t been taken down yet.
And I’ll admit, I slipped up a little Friday. I kept it on a Christmas song station as I scanned the car radio. I only changed it when the signal cracked a little.
So, while I do stand by my column, I am not the Grinch. Just don’t expect me to be wearing my elf shoes on Nov. 3 next year.

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