Remember those in need this holiday season

Helping others is a good way to feel the Christmas spirit

Thanksgiving has passed and the Christmas season has begun. The time spent together with family over food and gift giving is something that we all associate with this time of year. But there are those for whom these holidays are just another day, but with an added sense of loneliness and hopelessness. Some are going through a hard time financially; others are far away from family. Some are isolated or homebound without anyone to check on them.

We may not all have had that experience, but we can all help those who are suffering this Christmas season. Here are some ways you can bring the joy of the season to others:

• Smile. No matter how stressed out you are, no matter how bad the traffic is, no matter how bad a day you’re having, make an effort to smile at everyone you might meet. Odds are, they’ll smile back and you’ll feel like life is just a little better, and so will they.

• Make a donation of food items or cash to a food pantry or social service organization so that an area family can have food at their table this holiday season. Upper Des Moines Opportunity Inc., The Salvation Army and Community Christmas are some of the organizations helping to make Christmas a little brighter for people in need.

• Drop a few coins or cash into the red kettles to help others. The bell ringers are manning kettles around the city through Dec. 24.

• Shop local for holiday shopping needs to help support area businesses.

Let’s all take time to think about others and make the upcoming season a joyous one for everyone.