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The Groove - Most important gifts of holidays
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With the holidays upon us, I realize how truly lucky I am to have such amazing family and friends. The gratitude I have for these special people in my life during the holiday months, as well as the rest of the year, is something I don’t take for granted.  

I hear stories from individuals which are full of loneliness, misunderstanding and sadness, whether it’s due to being different from the status quo, having severed relationships or losing a special friend or family member.  

During the holidays, we enjoy those closest to us by spending time together and celebrating with each other. We often take for granted how lucky we are to have those special souls surrounding us and spreading fellowship and happiness. 

There are many people who’ll miss out on the joy of the season due to being alone and feeling excluded from the celebrations. Those who have lost the closest and most important people in their lives, for whatever reason, feel a sense of emptiness as others enjoy company, holiday feasts and family gatherings.

This season is one of the hardest times for many people due to loneliness, depression, anxiety and cold, gloomy weather. Although the rumor of more people committing suicide during the holidays has no substantial proof, I’ve personally known people who’ve slumped into a state of depression and loneliness since they aren’t fortunate to have the support of family and friends and be shown love during a time perceived as being holly and jolly.

I believe in seasonal depression since I’ve experienced the side effects of freezing weather depleting my body and spirit. The icy temperatures seep into my skin, bones and mindset, and I have to force myself to leave my cozy bed each morning and take a long, hot shower in order to soak up every bit of warmth possible to start my day and venture into the bitter and unpleasant cold. 

Although chilly weather can sometimes be debilitating, being alone on the holidays is even more disheartening. We spend an egregious amount of money each holiday season to buy into the commercialism pressed upon us by society, the media and the government.

We often turn our attention away from those who simply need moral support and survival necessities, such as warm blankets, coats and clothing. A positive, loving act of kindness is a simple yet much-needed present for those who are struggling financially, mentally or emotionally during the holidays and throughout the year. 

According to USA Today, the National Retail Federation predicts holiday retail sales during November and December 2019 will increase by about 4% over 2018 to a total of around $730 billion. It’s astounding the American public will spend such a large amount of money on retail products, yet second guess giving a homeless person $1 or spreading a positive and encouraging message to someone in need. 

Let’s get our priorities straight this holiday season and spread love, generosity, empathy and kindness. These are the most important gifts of all.

Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.