Everyone has one last, important gift to give

What if Santa extended the deadline for Christmas an extra week? What would you do with the time and money (if you have any money left at this point)?

No matter what your financial status (for most of us it’s a lot less impressive today than it was a few weeks ago) you have something to offer. And we’ve got a few last-minute “shopping” ideas for you. Don’t worry, there’s no need to make a list.

Although most food banks have probably already assembled and distributed thousands of holiday meals, we doubt they’d turn away more food. People need to eat year round. If you missed the volunteers collecting outside grocery stores, you can still drop off a bag at your local food bank. Better yet, write a check and let the food bank directors go shopping in bulk to make the best use of your buck. Imagine county food banks starting 2005 with full cupboard to feed hungry neighbors.

If that doesn’t give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, pick the charitable organization of your choice. The Herald’s annual Ways to Give column in November listed dozens of organizations in our area and there are certainly many more. Do it before the end of the year and get a tax deduction out of it. Talk about a win-win. (The column can be accessed at www.heraldnet.com – scroll down to the gray box and look under “Regular Features.”)

Treasure chest empty right about now? We understand completely. But you’re not off the hook. Tap into your time and talents and come up with your own ways to give list. We all know people who could use a visit, a night away from the kids, help with housework, a reading buddy – the list goes on.

No can do, you say? You have parties all weekend long and the weekend after that? We have the perfect gift for you to give, too. Nobody’s saying you shouldn’t partake of a little eggnog or other alcoholic beverages. Just pick your designated driver right now. And if any of these parties are at your house, be a good host or hostess and make sure your guests leave with a designated driver.

You won’t get any thank you cards, but you won’t get a knock on the door in the middle of the night, either.

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