Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 4, 2013

Challenging December? Keep the true spirit of Christmas in mind

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— December can certainly be a challenging month. Most families are still in the middle of their holiday shopping. This, of course, can be a little stressful for some thanks to the large crowds, heavier than normal traffic on area roads and the creeping realization that time is slowly running out to complete their holiday shopping lists. So many people to buy for, but so little time to finish the job.

No one really likes waiting until the last minute — Christmas Eve — to complete their holiday shopping. I’ve been inside of the big box department stores, as well as local malls, on Christmas Eve, and can personally attest to the fact that the spirit is more frantic than festive. When you have only hours left before the store doors are closed, finding a perfect holiday gift or multiple holiday gifts becomes all the more difficult.

The big items that everyone is looking for are already gone at that point. And the best deals of the season — well, those are pretty much over with as well come Dec. 24. In the waning hours of Christmas Eve, your only option left is to purchase what you can find. Looking for a Playstation 4? You will probably have to settle for a Playstation 3.

Most of us will open up our wallets and spend more than we can normally should during the month of December. The bills won’t arrive until January, after all, for those who opt to make their holiday purchases with plastic. You are also faced with the realization that December also marks the looming end of another year. Whether you have a birthday in December or not, the arrival of a new year means we are all getting a little older. Time continues to march on, not even slowing down for the otherwise joyous holiday season. And for those of us who have birthdays in the month of December, it feels like you are getting hit with a double whammy.

But through it all it is important to keep the faith, and remember the true meaning of the season. We can shop until we drop, but also should slow down whenever possible and reflect upon our many blessings. The month of December can also be  a tough time for those who have lost loved ones in recent years as the holidays are a time for family. And when our parents or other loved ones are no longer with us, it can lead to some additional holiday stress.

Here at the Daily Telegraph, the month of December also marks the countdown to the annual Little Jimmie party. The Daily Telegraph has sponsored the Community Christmas Tree fund since 1917. Many long-time readers not only support the Little Jimmie fund, but they also read the paper each day with anxious anticipation as to when we will meet our goal. In the 96 years that we have sponsored the Little Jimmie party, we’ve always met our goal. In fact, the loyal readers of this 117-year-old daily publication have consistently exceeded the annual goal set by the Community Christmas Tree committee, and we expect our goal to be met once again this year.

We, too, look forward to publishing — both in print and online — the names of our daily donors. And our loyal readers look forward to seeing not only their names in print each day but also the names of others who contribute to the Christmas Tree fund. Keeping up with the Little Jimmie fund is a part of the holiday tradition for many families in our region. I have a personal interest in it as well, as one of the “behind the scenes” folks here at the newspaper who shares in the daily responsibility of writing the Little Jimmie story each day that includes the daily publication of our donors, as well as how much support is still needed to meet the year’s goal.

This year’s Little Jimmie party will be held on Saturday, Dec. 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the city auditorium on Stadium Drive in Bluefield. As in year’s past, plans call for giving each child a red bag filled with two toys — selected especially for each individual child — food, treats, a book, toboggan, a pair of gloves and other goodies. We realize that many families in our region are dependent upon the Little Jimmie Party in order to ensure a bright Christmas for their children. That’s why the annual campaign is such an important part of the month of December for those of us in the newsroom.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at Follow him @BDTOwens.