December is upon us and the holidays have once again brought festive cheer to our community.

This year feels a little different. Things aren’t the same; many feel exhausted and frustrated. The holidays should be a time of reprieve from the stresses of life, but this year can’t bring the same harmony. I want to enjoy Christmas and I want every single person reading this to enjoy it as well.

I know people can’t attend Christmas parties as they did in prior years or form caroling troops for evenings of spreading Christmas joy. Cookie bakes are on hold, and family gatherings have moved online. These changes may be a little depressing, but I want to remind everyone that Christmas is more than candy canes and mistletoe. It’s a beautiful feeling that warms us during the winter cold. It’s a genuine love for humanity that amplifies during this special time of the year. No virus can take that from you.

While you enjoy your holidays, remember this pandemic has not been easy for anyone. The pandemic has placed an inordinate strain on the health care industry and took its toll on small businesses. They have struggled with restrictions and the challenges of operating during a pandemic. Without support, the restaurants, shops and stores that have been a foundation of our community may struggle to keep going. This year while you’re doing a little Christmas shopping, consider buying locally. Something as simple as picking up a gift card could make a difference in our community.

We appreciate the support of all our communities during this challenging year. Now is a great time to extend that support back out to all the people who make us proud to live here. Remember, we are stronger together.