I love this time of year.
Lights, music. Good cheer and fellowship. It seems that everywhere you go you hear the heart felt mantra of "Happy Holidays"
But there is an underbelly to all this holiday cheer. There are millions of Americans who are out of work and cannot afford the very basics of life - heat, home and food - let alone the extra expenses of the holidays.
I know many charitable organizations are also feeling the financial pinch as corporate sponsors and ordinary citizens are not in a position to contribute this year.
So what can one person do? Plenty.
Can you volunteer at a soup kitchen?
Can you spare just one can of food to your local food pantry?
Can you buy a pair of warm socks or mittens for your local Red Cross?
My church has a Giving Tree set up in their lobby. The tree is decorated with Christmas Cards and inside the cards is a handwritten request. The requests are simple. Diapers. Baby Formula. A pair of mittens. A scarf. Small stuff, don't you think?
This year, I've asked my kidadults to each take a card from the Giving Tree and buy that person a gift instead of buying me a present. While they always come up with a wonderful surprise for me - this year, someone else needs it more. And what better gift is there then the gift of giving?
What can you do for the less fortunate in your community?
Oatmeal, Cherry and White Chocolate Cookies (makes 4 to 5 dozen depending on size)
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned, quick oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dried cherries, rough chopped (you can also use dried cranberries)
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Beat butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture in a few additions, beating after each addition. Stir in cherries and chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool on rack.