by Staff Reports
At their essence, the weeks surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas are about community.
Family is how many experience community at its most personal level, especially as children. But some don’t have family to turn to, and the spirit of their neighborhood, town or city becomes critical to how they experience the holiday season.
And there’s no place like home to see the grin on a cashier wearing a Santa hat or to watch a tree (or cactus!) carefully wrapped in white lights to enhance the unique glow the holidays bring to a community.
Living in the Golden Corridor means having your pick of the best holiday season events Southern Arizona has to offer. While some activities truly are worth longer trips, the parades, candy cane lanes and concerts closer to home tend to have a certain seasonal spirit the big-city extravaganzas just can’t capture.
- Not constantly checking the time because the dreaded drive home still looms.
- Watching your kids or grandkids, or those of someone you know, give their final performance of the semester, the culmination of everything they’ve learned.
- Seeing the transformation of a street not very different from your own into a stunning night display of flashing lights and inflatable snowmen and SpongeBobs who melt in the sunlight.
- Running into Santas, elves and other characters who really seem to know you and your children.
- Knowing the money you spend will stay in your community, giving business owners and their employees and cities and their citizens a jump on the new year.
- Of course, this last item is a reason to buy as many gifts as possible from local merchants, too. It’s a great way to reinforce the vitality of your community and everyone who lives there.
Yet another upside to hometown holiday events is that most raise money for local charities by one means or another, such as encouraging attendees to bring extra cans of food or a toy or sweater for a child in need.
The season of giving is about more than family and friends – it’s about helping to ensure people in your community have enough food, shelter, clothing and comfort to survive and thrive. It’s the local nonprofits that know how to get aid to those people.
The Golden Corridor is full of charities dedicated to lifting up those who live in this region between the state’s big cities, which sometimes gets overlooked in the big picture.
A few of these are:
- Seeds of Hope in Casa Grande (community center, afterschool programs, hot lunch program) –seedsofhopeaz.com, 520-836-6335
- F.O.R. Maricopa (food bank) – formaricopa.org, 520-251-0226
- Valley Humane Society – valleyhumane.net, 520-836-0904
Don’t have much money to give?
Here are some creative fundraising ideas:
Hold a raffle for exclusive use of the best parking space at the office for a month or more.
Organize a community garage sale. Wash people’s cars or dogs for a small fee.