It’s the most wonderful time of the year

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Mary Beth Corcoran enjoys her time volunteering through the Kiwanis to staff a Salvation Army Red Kettle recently at Giant Tiger in Chatham. It helped get Corcoran into the Christmas spirit.

With Christmas fast approaching, I found I just wasn’t getting into the Christmas spirit as our family usually does this time of year.

But thanks to a couple of volunteer opportunities, I am in that place where Christmas music doesn’t make me want to poke nails in my ears, and when I say, “Merry Christmas,” I mean it.

It started with my daughter, Brenna itching to decorate for Christmas in our house – her favourite time of year. Then she let me know her Grade 11 chemistry teacher at UCC, Mrs. Kovacs, asked all her students to make two dozen Christmas treats to give out to first responders and charitable organizations in the community. What a fantastic idea!

Not only did we get some Christmas baking done, the UCC kids were able to put a smile on the face of hard-working people who do their best to help people in our community all year long. Kudos to Mrs. Kovacs and her students who baked and then delivered the treats.

I drove Brenna to the four groups we were delivering to, and it was so great to see the pleased responses first hand.

That same day, I was at Giant Tiger for a couple of hours manning the Salvation Army Red Kettle, part of my commitment as a Kiwanis member to help in the community. It truly was a fantastic experience.

From seeing cousins and friends I haven’t had time to catch up with, to seeing the incredible giving spirit of people who maybe couldn’t afford to give but did it anyway, I left the store feeling very good about the community I live in and the people I share it with.

I was thanked for standing there, wished a Merry Christmas, and chatted to about all kinds of things. I heard stories of people who give at every Red Kettle they see, even if it is just a loonie or toonie, because they know every bit counts and there is always someone who needs it more.

The staff and the shoppers at Giant Tiger really got me in the Christmas spirit, and it is always a reminder to slow down and enjoy the people in your life, giving them your time and attention while you still have the opportunity.

I am lucky enough to have a great family – both my blood relatives and my friends who are like family. In a few days, my sister, Jane is moving into a new place in town, and friends of ours from Lindsay, who have been in our lives for more than 30 years, are moving into Jane’s house. My brother lives in Chatham now as well, and I have cousins galore in the area whom I love to spend time with.

I am feeling well and truly blessed this Christmas, including introducing Brenna’s boyfriend, Matt, to our family Christmas traditions. He’s either brave or really in love, as he has jumped in with both feet. Now let’s see if he can survive a big, noisy family Christmas Eve at my brother’s house this year.

Whatever this holiday season brings, I am grateful to family, friends, our incredible staff here at The Voice, and all our amazing readers who show us love all year long.

And, Janice Lally, no Christmas is complete without the amazing treats you drop off for us. Thanks again for the goodies and the warm and fuzzy feelings you bring us every year.

Here’s hoping all our readers have a wonderful holiday season, no matter what traditions you follow, or your circumstances in life.

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