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Experience the joy of giving
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 Christmas is just around the corner, and the sights and sounds of the season are all around us. From Christmas parades and pageants to shopping sprees and songs of “Sweet Decembers,” folks are getting into the yuletide spirit.
This year, I’ll forgo my usual fulminations against the crass commercialization and wretched excesses of Christmastime in America. Instead, I’ll reflect on the joys of giving.
“It is better to give than to receive.” I first heard that proverb in Sunday school, but it didn’t sink into my 6-year-old senses. At that time in my life, my senses were more attuned to receiving than giving. Like most children, then and now, I liked to “get stuff.”
I still like to get stuff, but the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate the joys of giving. When I give to a needy person or a worthy cause, it makes me feel good. I’m not sure why; it just does. Maybe it’s because the more we hoard what we have, the less room we have in our hearts to help others. Sharing has a way of opening our hearts to receive the joys that come from giving.
Three of my favorite worthy causes are Nursing Home Christmas, Share A Christmas Dinner, and the Tennessee Fisher House.
Nursing Home Christmas has long been labor of love for my good friend and well-known radio personality, “Pa” Kelly Marlowe. He saw the need to help folks in nursing homes, lest they be forgotten, especially at Christmastime. With the flair of a former drum major, Kelly has helped fulfill that need by leading the Nursing Home Christmas project to fruition year after year. Kelly still needs our help -- now more than ever. Send your donation to: Nursing Home Christmas, c/o WBMC, 230 West Colville Street, McMinnville, TN 37110.
  Share A Christmas Dinner is sponsored by the Southern Standard and the Warren County High School Interact Club. For more than three decades, Share has been there for needy families, providing them with a complete Christmas dinner. My good friend Sharon Patrick runs this program with the zeal of a czarina, but she still needs our help, too. Send your donation to: Share A Christmas Dinner, c/o Southern Standard, P.O Box 150, McMinnville, TN 37111. 
The Tennessee Fisher House Foundation has spearheaded the drive to make the dream of “a home away from home” a reality for military families. The new Tennessee Fisher House opened last year at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro.
It provides comfortable, free lodging for military families visiting their ailing loved ones.
Send your donation to: Tennessee Fisher House Foundation, P.O. Box 774, Brentwood, TN 37024.
I hope you will give what you can to these three worthy causes. You’ll be glad you did, and I will, too. Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad!
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at tbvbwmi@blomand.net.