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It doesn’t have to be over yet

I love this holiday season. But come Dec. 26, people seem to just shut it off. The lights go out, the trees come down and the holiday music stops.

Then the holiday withdrawal kicks in. Wait? Why did the music stop? No! Don’t take down the tree! What are you doing? Just leave it all up one more day. Please!

My family leaves everything up for at least a week past Christmas, and we even find a way to repurpose some of our holiday lights.

Usually taking a box or two of the new strings of lights, ones my Dad bought at the day after Christmas sales, my sisters and father write the number of the next year in lights. So, this year, my home will display 2010 in the front lawn. It’s a silly tradition, but a tradition nonetheless. And it’s something our neighbors have come to love.

In actuality, my request is not out of the ordinary. After all, Dec. 25 is only the first day of Christmas. Celebrations are not completed until Jan. 5, known as the 12 days of Christmas.

(Are you now singing the 12 days of Christmas tune? See, the music doesn’t have to stop.)

So, let Christmas take a victory lap. Let the presents display, now unwrapped, beneath the tree.

And what about the spirit of giving? Does that have to stop, too?

My family loves to partake of after Christmas sales, but we buy more than just strings of lights for the front yard.

We also take that time to pile up on presents to give for Angel Tree and other holiday toy drives.

Every year these organizations are going to collect presents. The need for generosity is a reoccurring theme, and the children will not know, or care, that you got the doll or teddy bear on sale.

It’s the best way to give from the heart, without breaking the bank. And you can’t ask for a better compromise than that, especially in a time when many people are still feeling the reverberations of the economy.

Just because it’s Dec. 26 doesn’t mean it has to stop. Start planning for next year’s giving. And sing a holiday tune while you’re at it.