Editorial: A different and better approach to Xmas | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: A different and better approach to Xmas

Materialism, especially during the month before Christmas, is a well-known fact of life. One only needs to look at the many reports across the nation of bad behavior and retail frenzy during Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year — to get a true picture of the primary motives surrounding the yuletide season.

In Aspen, Black Friday is not a huge factor, thanks to the fact that the city doesn't have huge shopping malls, strip retail centers and big-box stores. But a look at recent police reports suggests that a lot of people have their hearts in the wrong places. There are many alleged incidences of shoplifting, domestic abuse, fights and harassment. If those reports are true, such actions are deplorable, not only during the holidays but any time of year.

That said, there is still plenty of time to reverse these trends. Get to know your neighbors, and express kindness toward them. Reach out to estranged family members. Take a break from the madness of buying and wrapping presents before society's imposed Dec. 25 deadline to sit down with those who are depressed and alone — from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, it's not hard to come across people in despair.

Instead of bombarding loved ones with things they don't need or even want, perhaps the best way to serve the holiday spirit would be to provide financial support to local, state or national charities. Close to home, there are plenty of nonprofits and social-service agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley that would be grateful for your assistance.

It would be unfair of us to single any of them out in this space, but one place to start would be the Aspen Community Foundation, whose stated mission is to support nonprofit organizations from Aspen to Parachute "by connecting donors to community needs, building permanent charitable funds and bringing people together to solve community problems." For more information, visit http://www.aspencommunity foundation.org.

Another resource that can pinpoint certain nonprofits that deserve your help would be the Pitkin County Health and Human Services Department, whose main phone number is 970-920-5235.

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Just think how many lives could be changed for the better if holiday-season spenders adopted this approach compared with the one to which most of them adhere.