Regardless of one's religion, the "Christmas spirit" has come to mean a generous state of mind that is understood everywhere as a spirit of giving, charity and sharing with those in need.
For those who're "haves," practicing the Christmas spirit, even in small ways, can mean so much to "have-nots" who must rely on the generosity of others.
Throughout the Wood River Valley, where prosperity is the norm, need is nevertheless a constant among some who are simply getting by. Their hopes involve basics--food, clothing, toys, perhaps small home appliances, help with a past-due utility bill or car payment, dental work for a child, even a job offer.
For them, the "Christmas spirit" is welcome anytime, well beyond the Christian celebration tomorrow.
Community agencies and institutions—churches, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, The Advocates, food banks—can suggest contributions and provide outlets for donations. Some organizations can even use volunteers of any faith during and after the holidays.
Those who share their good fortunes with others enjoy the moving gratification of having given a lift to those who have no other hope than people with big hearts.