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We hope you’re feeling generous, because we have entered the time of year when generosity is very much needed.

The holiday season — Thanksgiving, Christmas and a new year — are truly special, and not age-specific. It’s a terrific time for kids, but there is something about Christmas Eve that can bring out the kid in all of us.

For too many Central Coast residents, the holiday season can be trying. The pressure is on for gift-buying, which adds to family budgeting stress. Too many individuals and families don’t have enough to eat, and worry about where the next meal will come from.

That seems so incongruous in this region of million-dollar homes and vast estates owned by celebrities. But it is true that in this land of plenty there are too many who must go without some of the trappings that make the holiday period so special.

If you are among the group that doesn’t really have to worry about such issues, we have a suggestion for how you can make your holidays even brighter. It’s easy, really. You just have to give a little.

You could start by donating non-perishable food from your pantry to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. This is the time of year that food flies off the Foodbank’s shelves at area storage facilities.

The goodies you donate, plus the food its purchasing experts can buy, is distributed to more than 300 charitable organizations throughout Santa Barbara County that give the food to families facing food insecurity on a daily basis. It sure brightens those families’ holidays.

Another way you can help is through the annual Toys for Tots campaign, which kicked off last week.

The local Toys for Tots drives are part of a national effort started by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. The local coordination is being handled by the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County.

The cool thing about Toys for Tots is, although it’s a national campaign, all donations made here, stay right here. So, any toys or money donated by you will, essentially, be going directly to help your neighbors.

The Foodbank and Toys for Tots are specific projects designed to help those who most need help. There are many other ways you can give a little during the holidays. Check with your local church, or any church for that matter, and chances are they will have programs under way to help the needy.

If you are not into organizational efforts, considering small acts of kindness in your neighborhood. Maybe there’s a person on your street who, for whatever reason, can’t take care of routine maintenance around the home. Perhaps the lawn needs mowing, or windows need washing, or holiday decorations need strong hands and someone steady on a stepladder to hang up.

What you do and who you do it for doesn’t really matter, but the fact that you can spread the goodwill in your own neighborhood has special significance. And, you never really know when you might need some of that help yourself. The karma factor is huge.

We have just come off a particularly vitriolic political campaign season, and they seem to be getting worse with age. Now we’re into the season of peace on Earth and goodwill toward mankind. It won’t hurt us to chill a little, while keeping up the energy levels for doing good in our communities.

Because, in a karmic sense, what you give is what you get back in return. Acts of kindness can be a perpetual motion thing, especially in the weeks ahead.

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