By: Kathy Mercer, Managing Partner

Tis the Season, so let’s make a slight departure from Jimmy’s timely and informative threat awareness information and focus on family, faith and friendships with a touch of personal mindfulness this holiday season. We often ask others “What do you want for Christmas” or “What do you want Santa to bring you?” Have you ever stopped to think what the Christmas season is all about?  First and foremost, December 25th is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and traditionally, we celebrate by giving or exchanging gifts with family, friends and loved ones to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men.

Stop and think…What do you remember most about your own past Christmas celebrations?  Sure, you may remember the new bike or the skates, or a special doll or BB gun?  But, could you really name one thing you received as a child or even as an adult every year?  I doubt it and I know I could not.  However, what we do remember is the memories, the smells, the experiences and that special time together. Going to grandmas, a relative or friend’s home and with this, walking into the delicious aroma of cakes and pies baking. Maybe, a game of tag, baseball or “red-rover” we had with siblings, cousins or friends. The excitement of seeing a friend or relative we haven’t seen in a long, long time.  How about the talk at the dinner table or the visit to a park, neighborhood or special destination to see Christmas lights? Or the fun and laughter of taking part in Secret Santa, gift exchange or Christmas games such as, white elephant?  I remember as a young child the excitement of seeing the light up Santa in his sleigh at the water tower in our hometown of Waycross. The sleigh was pulled by three reindeers and each would light up individually and then the entire display would light up.  I have clear memories of the pumpkin and pecan pies and the family play our children and cousins would create, rehearse and present on Christmas Eve.

The holiday season is such a magical time of year for most.  However, it can be stressful and bring on a mild or severe state of depression to those that are struggling emotionally or financially and those that spend this holiday alone. This time of the year can bring on hardships and even tragedy.  Always be vigilant in your daily walk through life. Be aware of your surroundings and take extra precautions to stay safe in your own home, during travel or as you take part in outside activities or social gatherings.  Listen to your intuition and stay alert.  Never ignore that internal feeling of warning or dread. Take special precautions when out shopping. Watch as you walk to your car, park in a safe and lighted area, store packages and valuables out of sight.  If you can shop with a friend!