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Every time a bell rings...

POSTED December 24, 2009 2:28 p.m.
As the holiday season starts to wind down — except in Russia where they celebrate through Jan. 10 — I find myself feeling a little blue.
Usually, I am all too happy to put the Christmas decorations, tree and trimmings away for another year. During the five years I worked at an elementary school, I just about went crazy by Dec. 25 with all the Christmas music, Santa crafts and holiday stories. I know that kids pay attention more when reading and math are linked to themes they enjoy, like Christmas, but if I have to make one more cotton ball snowman, I may spontaneously combust!
But this year was different. I’m not sure why; in fact I actually participated in more holiday-themed activities than I normally do. I attended Hospice of Emanuel’s annual Festival of Trees fundraiser, which is a great way to begin the holiday season. I forced my husband to dress up as Santa, while I adorned myself as his elf, and we delivered over 100 slippers to residents of a local nursing home.
I attended three holiday parties, not including my Christmas Eve and Day family get togethers. I even shouted “Merry Christmas” to hundreds of hurried shoppers outside Walmart while ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I also spent 10 hours one day baking banana nut bread for family and friends while watching four of my favorite Christmas movies.
All in all, I’ve had a very jolly, and busy, holiday season. So, why am I depressed?
It may be that during the holidays it is easier to overlook or downplay the troubling events happening in our world today. While the unemployment rate in Stanislaus County was just as shocking before the holiday season, I think that donating cans of tuna and green beans to local food drives made me feel like I was at least doing something about it, rather than just reporting on the increasing number of Turlockers who are out of work.
But soon the colorful Christmas lights will be gone and all that will be left are visions of foreclosed homes, families with no where to lay their heads and state and national legislators who are either unable or unwilling to help.
What I need is a guardian angel like Jimmy Stewart had in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The angel could show me just how much worse our community would be without people who care enough to make a difference. People like Bill and Maris Sturtevant and all the United Samaritans and We Care supporters; Jeff Woods and the dozens of local churches who make the Turlock Gospel Mission a success; and the hundreds of volunteers who give of their time and money to make Turlock a better place to live.
As we enter a new — and scary — year  I will endeavor to remember the good things in life and face the bad head-on with determination and the knowledge that it could be worse!
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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