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Enjoy giving this holiday season and all year long

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year (as sung by Andy Williams).

Yes, Christmas is a wonderful holiday, it’s a wonderful season, it’s a wonderful feeling and it’s a wonderful state of mind.

The first decade of my life Christmas was all about receiving. What would Santa Claus bring me? My older sister and I spent hours looking through the Sears & Roebuck Wish Book making lists of what we wanted for Christmas. Most times we received some of the things on our list, and a few times Santa Claus knew better what we should have. Oh, what a time it was to think only of ourselves and what we wanted.

Sometime in my early teens things changed dramatically for me. Through working and earning my own money I started buying Christmas presents for my family members. All of a sudden it was much more important to find just the right present, and the anticipation of how they would like their present became almost overwhelming. I was so excited to watch them open that well-thought-out gift. From that point on I really didn’t care what I received, what I gave was the true joy of the season. This only magnified when I got married and had my own children. The true joy is in giving.

Something has happened in America, something that I can’t be proud of. Way too many of our citizens have not made that jump from receiving to giving. They seem to be stuck in the juvenile mode of filling out their Christmas list and expecting Santa Claus to fulfill their wants. Unfortunately, this is not limited to private citizens, but has expanded to states, counties, cities, towns and even union pension plans. Way too many have their hands out looking for a transfer of wealth (cash) from the haves. How has this happened? Why are folks so much more ready to receive than give?

Approximately 50 years ago, President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This statement put a premium on giving, not on receiving. What has happened? Why has this concept gotten lost in the last 50 years? It really is sad that so many are willing to sell their souls for a few gifts from the government. These gifts do not come free. These gifts have significant strings attached to them. These gifts make the recipients wards of the state, and dependent. They strip away freedom, liberty, and self-reliance. They also rob that great feeling of giving. A great person once said, “The cheese in a mousetrap is free.” Think about it.

During this Christmas season, I challenge each of you to find the joy in giving. Please, experience it; make it a habit that lasts all year long. Use this newfound joy to say no to the gifts the government is trying to give you. You can make it on your own. You can be self-reliant. It may be a bit harder, but you will find great joy in making your own way.

Merry Christmas, and happy giving!

Jeffrey Holmes is a resident of West Linn.



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