It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … and Chanukah and Kwanzaa for that matter. Snow has covered the ground, the trees are bare and animals scurry for a hard-to-find treat.

Amidst the calm serenity of this beautiful landscape lies the hustle and bustle of holiday decorating, shopping and cooking.

Now’s the time to turn on your favorite holiday tunes, once again go over your guest list and look forward to the excitement that is in store.

The holidays are a time for giving thanks for all that you receive and experience during the year. The sentiment becomes even more poignant against the backdrop of the country’s latest trials and tribulations.

However, if everyone puts aside their skepticism, prejudices and quips, this season can be one of the most memorable ever. Here are some easy ways to embrace the season of giving and joy:

Assist an elderly neighbor who has trouble heading outdoors in inclement weather. Pick up his or her groceries, shovel the sidewalk and treat him or her to a special card expressing your holiday sentiments.

Volunteer your time at a local orphanage or homeless shelter. Those without a true home can benefit from your generosity.

Set up a neighborhood caroling group. This tradition has slowly fallen out of fashion. Revive it again and spread the season’s joy to all you pass.

Save your holiday meal leftovers and donate them to a soup kitchen or shelter.

Donate extra funds to your house of worship so that holiday decorations, fundraisers, events and more will be even more spectacular.

Do something as simple as giving up your seat on the bus or train to someone as a gesture of good tidings.

Take a day off from work and allow your children to play “hookie” to do a fun family activity out of the blue, like sledding, skiing or just enjoying a mug of hot chocolate while watching the snow fall.

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