Send the gift that keeps on giving

Options abound today as you kick off your holiday shopping spree. Maybe you’re heading out for a day with the masses at big-box retailers across the state. Or perhaps, you’re dusting off your best plaid sweater and you’re planning to stay local by taking a bite out of your Christmas list at some area shops. Of course there’s also Cyber Monday (not to be confused with Cider Monday, which sounds a whole lot more fun to us), and legions of craft fairs in the days and weeks ahead.

The season’s here, and the question for the fortunate among us is, “Where will you spend those holiday dollars?”

From our perspective, there’s probably enough to go around to satisfy all the urges and wants, and to help our local retailers usher in the new year with some momentum (which, of course, benefits us all). But maybe the first day of the official shopping season is the best time to think about the extra gift you don’t need under your tree. Because there are a whole lot of families that could use the lift this month.

So, in the spirit of the season, here are some options that’ll get you started as you think of ways to spread the wealth:

Gifts for kids: It won’t be too hard to find a way to give toys to a child or sponsor a family that otherwise would have a pretty bare Christmas. Even a trip to any New Hampshire liquor store will give you an option to donate through Toys for Tots. And on Sunday, JP Stephens on Route 202 in Rindge is hosting a men’s shopping event (with the Pats game on TV!), where proceeds from local vendors help support Santa’s House, which passes out gifts to kids in Jaffrey.

The Gift of Food: Area food pantries that relied on donations coming from the state food bank are feeling an extra pinch this year because so many supermarkets that have donated goods in the past have shut their doors. That means they’ll need to rely even more on old-fashioned drop-offs. We’ll run a listing of food pantries in Tuesday’s Ledger-Transcript.

Monadnock United Way: This year’s goal is $2,270,399, and according to the latest account, donations have so far totaled $1,499,237 (that’s 66 percent of the goal). You can also donate through your paycheck to help support the many worthwhile nonprofits all year long.

Spirit of Giving: Next week, the Ledger-Transcript will select the nonprofits it will profile as part of our annual donation drive. Those stories will begin appearing in the Dec. 10 issue. Read all about the nonprofits, and send your check directly to them.

These are just a handful of ways to help support your community in the month and — hopefully — year ahead. They’re all worthwhile endeavors, but so too are the many we didn’t mention in this space.

The important part is to grab a shovel, and pitch in. Because the challenge, as always, is big. But many hands really do make for light work.

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