As the final leaves drift from the lonely branches of bare trees, we give thanks for another bountiful year and engage in the holiday bustle.

Christmas

Courtesy photo

I often hear stories of hateful attitudes and unpleasant people who fill local stores and busy streets as holiday shopping becomes stressful and urgent.

But honestly, I have yet to see it.

This year, I attended a Black Friday event for the first time, against the advice of many, many people.

I was warned that it was dangerous, the people were rude and the lines were unbearable.

Now, I will admit the lines were somewhat long. However, in every other respect, what I experienced was, in fact, the very meaning of “holiday spirit.”

As I made my way through the store, I was greeted with “excuse me,” “please,” “thank you” and all of the other good-manner phrases that ought to be used every day.

What I found as I leaned timidly forward to reach a product was that customers nearer than I not only were happy to let me in, but also to help each other to find the right items and sizes.

Perhaps, at least here in our lovely town, those who have unpleasant experiences with these events have the wrong attitude themselves.

Then there are the anti-Christmas spirit advocates — those who have determined that Christmas spirit only is acceptable during the week of Christmas and at no other time of the year.

Their argument for this attitude is that Christmas is over-commercialized and has lost its true meaning.

Well, I’ll admit this might be somewhat true, but how does refusing to celebrate this wonderful time of year help to fix that?

It doesn’t.

Often these same people are the ones suffering stress from Christmas shopping because they can’t afford to buy the “right” gifts for everyone or find anything “special” enough for someone.

How can anyone complain that Christmas is over-commercialized when we are the ones over-commercializing it?

Many don’t remember, or possibly were born after, the time when a lovely Christmas gift was a heartfelt card to a loved one, a plate of baked goods or a homemade pair of mittens.

The holidays maybe have become a time to buy and spend money, but that is the fault of each and every one of us for forgetting that Christmas is not the “gift-giving” season it has become.

Rather, it actually is a “love-giving” season — it is not the gifts that matter, but the love with which they are given that is important.