I could write a column and complain about the commercialization of Christmas.
Or complain that my perennial Christmas wish for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all Humankind never materializes.
Or I could complain that kids these days get just way too many gifts.
But I won't, because here at The TIMES, every Christmas we are inundated with stories about generosity and giving and sacri-
fice. Stories about people who give up their time and money to make sure Christmas is a joyous holiday for the less fortunate.
In the pages of The TIMES, you have probably read about the CP Holiday Train, Firefighters for Families, and the Strip-a-thon - big events that collect lots of money and toys and food for big charities in town.
But there are a lot of stories that we just don't get around to writing - and, in this small space, I wanted to highlight some of them.
One story we didn't get around to was about two women who, on their walks, collected cans and this year they collected $238 worth of cans, which they donated to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
According to Lorraine Bates - Mrs. Claus - at the Christmas hamper's ground zero in Albion, the City of Pitt Meadows staff sponsored a Christmas family this year - as they have been doing since 2004!
The staff at Maple Ridge municipal hall sponsored several families with different departments - the building department, the clerk's and administrative department, the human resources, the planning department, community services and parks and recreation administration, the finance department, and the parks department - each sponsoring a family.
(NB: The staff at Maple Ridge municipal hall is much bigger than at Pitt Meadows!)
Then, there was the little girl who reached out to the hamper society and wanted to donate 50 pairs of hand-knit mittens for children. The mittens actually came all the way from Winnipeg and she wanted them to go to local people.
How about the social club at Moli Energy? They surprised Lorraine with a cheque of $650 that they raised at a barbecue.
Then at Legion House, 19 residents, all seniors, raised $1,400 for the Friends In Need Food Bank.
The most impressive part for me is the time that people give up during the holidays to spend with the less fortunate. Year after year, the Christmas Haven has provided a Christmas meal for anyone who might have to spend it alone.
Christmas Eve in our family is sacrosanct, and to give up this time would be a huge sacrifice.
And yet, a group of volunteers give up their precious Christmas time because they understand that the real meaning of Christmas is to give - sorry for the cliche, but it's true.
And the generosity of this community doesn't end at Christmas.
I can't count the number of What's On submissions we receive that have tagged onto them "Bring a non-perishable food item for the Friends In Need Food Bank" or "Admission is a donation to the Friends In Need Food Bank."
All these donations add up to helping the food bank feed the 3,000 people who rely on them for daily sustenance.
So the next time someone says, "Bah! humbug!" or complains about the commercialization of Christmas, challenge them to rather reach out and help those in need.
Donate a turkey to the Caring Place. Raise some cash for the food bank - they will double, if not triple, it.
Or sponsor a family through the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.