The holidays are upon us. The holidays come so fast and leave us all too soon.

The holidays are upon us.  The holidays come so fast and leave us all too soon.  Families reunite, we travel to visit, family and friends come to visit us.  After New Years the courts start opening regularly again, bills must be paid, its cold and we are more solitary once again.  How can we make our holidays more lasting?  Calendar alteration turning New Years into a week as opposed to a day would seem the most obvious, but it is also the most unrealistic.   Enlarging the amount of time spent with our loved ones will enrich the holiday season, but if your loved one is an adolescent or millennial (see message of two months previous for full discussion of millennial)  the enlargement of time may not be welcome on their part and their busy schedule may preclude it.  All you can do is offer and make yourself available, you can’t force yourself upon them and expect the advance to be always well received.

 So what can you do personally in your own space and time to make the holidays more enriched for yourself and others as well?

 The holidays are a season of giving, give of yourself to those in need, even if they are strangers to you and even if the recipient doesn’t expect it.  To facilitate this giving, you must identify what you care about and where the need  is it local or global, and match that with a group in need.  If you care about animals for example, the local SPCA or BARCS would be a great place for you to give your time or money or both as an ongoing commitment that would lift both your spirit and help this in need in an area you care about.  When January comes with its stifling cold and moments of reflection about the holiday just past, you would be still involved in the spirit of giving as you have decided to make an ongoing commitment to a cause important to you.  The logic applies to homeless persons, people who are hungry and or displaced through no fault of their own.  Pick a subset within the greater category and match it with a charity that addresses those needs and act upon it.  Send money donate time or both.  If you have children, figure out a safe way to involve them in the endeavour, it is never too early to learn the spirit of giving.                   

Go to the charities websites to check them out before you commit, and there are other resources locally that are efficient indecies of charities in the Baltimore area.  Maryland Office of the Secretary of State has a searchable database here;

http://www.sos.state.md.us/charity/searchcharity.aspx

Locally Superpages.com lists 26 nonprofits and their contact information here;  http://www.superpages.com/yellowpages/C-Charitable+%26+Nonprofit+Organizations/S-MD/T-Baltimore/

Baltimore County Government has compiled a list here;  http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/baltimore_county_assistance_pr.html

 

 Please do not feel compelled to use any of the information in the article if you have knowledge of a specific need or person who needs help in your life, help them directly.  The lists attached here are simply ideas to start the thought process and hopefully motivate you to do more and feel better about the true meaning or the holiday season.

 On behalf of everyone on the Executive Council and BCBA staff we wish you and your families and loved ones a safe and joyous holiday.  May this holiday give you something heart warming that carries you into the coming year with a renewed sense of place and purpose and give you true joy both inward and outward.