Christmas – A Time of Giving and Receiving!

By: Melody Worsham
No one needs reminding, but times are tough for many people these days.  Many have trimmed their budgets as they look forward to trimming their Christmas trees and the wicks of Menorah candles.  Yet, the holidays have always been a season of giving and receiving, and you can be a blessing to others either way.
During the holidays, there are so many ways to give to those in need and ways to receive if you are in need.  In times of widespread need, Ben Franklin noted, “everyone has courage and enough to spare.”  There are ways for you to be a blessing, and to give courage, to others by giving and receiving.  Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, there are several opportunities for both, at the same time!
The 12 Baskets of Christmas Raffle is an annual fundraising event for several local charities.  Sponsored by Lighthouse Business & Professional Women, you can buy chances to win some amazing baskets of Christmas gifts just in time to place under the tree.  And there are usually more 12 baskets available, full of spa and wellness packages, free dining and shopping certificates, beauty items and unique stocking stuffers.  Baskets and items are donated by local businesses and eloquently decorated.  All raffle proceeds support local charities that focus on the needs of women and children.  The drawing will be held December 15th at the monthly Lighthouse BPW meeting in Biloxi.  You do not need to be present to win.  Tickets are one dollar each, or ten for $5.  Tickets can be purchased by calling 228-239-1867.
The Paralyzed Veterans of America will be holding their annual “Stuff Your Stocking Gift Bizarre” on December 4th at their office at 15489 Dedeaux Rd. in Gulfport.  A variety of super gift items and beautifully assembled gift baskets will be on sale to benefit the organization.  Merchants providing gifts include Scentsy, Willow Tree, Avon, Dove Chocolate, Creative Memories and more.  Come and shop all day from 10am to 5pm.
Want to be a Santa this year?  The Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence is looking for jolly St. Nicks to sponsor a family for the holidays.  “Sponsorship is easy and hassle free!” said Sandra Morrison, executive director of the Center, which operates the local battered women’s shelter.  “We will email or fax you a list of items on the family’s wish list.”  Once you have purchased or collected the items, Center personnel will pick up the gift(s).  “The best part is you don’t even have to fool with wrapping; we have that covered!”  Sandra said.  The gifts go to families who have been affected by domestic violence, child abuse or homicide.  All gifts must be picked up no later then December 17th.  For more information, please contact Rachel or Stacey at (228) 432-2358.
Enjoy wrapping gifts?  The Salvation Army is seeking volunteers for their gift-wrapping booth at Edgewater Mall during the holiday season.  This annual event gives shoppers the joy of taking home beautiful gifts ready for the giving.  Whether you go as a volunteer or a customer, your contribution helps thousands of your neighbors in need all year around, and will certainly bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas Day.  And while you’re at the Mall, don’t forget to take an angel from the tree, featuring a child with big dreams and wish for a visit from Santa.  To volunteer, visit the booth at Edgewater Mall.
And of course, our local casinos always enjoy sponsoring holiday entertainment for a good cause.  The IP Casino Resort Spa has two upcoming events.  Sounds of the Holiday Concert, “A Big Band Christmas,” will be held on December 2nd to benefit the American Heart Association.  On December 16th, South Mississippi Red Cross will be the beneficiary of “Crossways on the Coast” Concert.  For tickets, visit http://www.ipbiloxi.com
Many local charities have holiday events.  If you already have a cause near and dear to your heart, give them a call and see what you can do to make the season merry.  However you decide to enjoy your holiday season, your joy is always enhanced by sharing it with others.
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