Have yourself a materialistic little Christmas, Have it shipped next-day, From now on, our troubles will be miles away—in the collections departments of credit card companies…

Travis Naughton

               Travis Naughton

The over-commercialization of Christmas seems to be getting worse year after year. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Overdraft Tuesday. Exchange The Thoughtful Yet Hideous Gift From Your Aunt Mildred For Store Credit Wednesday. We’re all quick to blame advertisers and retailers for this sad state of affairs, but the truth is that it is 100% our own fault.

I don’t recall seeing anything on the nightly news about Walmart executives pointing guns at consumers’ heads and forcing them to buy flat screen TVs against their will. I’ve never read a single newspaper article detailing the harrowing accounts of parents being compelled by knife-wielding, blood-thirsty Hallmark salespeople to purchase Beanie Babies by the gross. Maybe these things have happened, but they’ve just never been reported. Let’s blame the liberal media!

No, the blame is ours. Christmas in recent years has become less about spirit and more about stuff. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not against giving gifts. In fact, I’m a big fan of giving. Just take a quick inventory of the toys in my kids’ rooms if you don’t believe me. ‘Tis the season for giving afterall. But I’d like to shift the focus to charitable giving.

Christmas should be about giving to those in need, not just spoiling those who already have everything. And there are plenty of people right here in mid-Missouri who are in need. We’re all familiar with the Salvation Army’s ubiquitous red kettles that are manned by jolly bell-ringers positioned in front of every major store in town. If you can spare a buck or two when you see one, by all means make a donation. But I want to tell you about another charitable organization, or more accurately, 92 charitable organizations based in and around Boone County that are worthy of your consideration when deciding how to give to those in need.

The Community Foundation of Central Missouri is an organization dedicated to raising funds for area non-profits. By means of a catalogue listing each of the participating agencies and a website (comogives.com) the Community Foundation serves as facilitator for the generosity of those who wish to make a difference in the lives of others.

Giving is easy. By simply visiting comogives.com and following a few quick and simple steps, anyone can give to their favorite local charity or non-profit organization. Donors can also track how much money each organization has raised so far. The fundraising campaign lasts throughout the month of December and as of last Sunday, over $150,000 had been donated so far.

There are a couple organizations associated with Southern Boone County that are participating in this year’s campaign. The Southern Boone Learning Garden, a program that has benefitted the students of SoBoCo for years at little to no cost to the school district, (full disclosure: I am a supporter of and volunteer for this outstanding program) and The Brain Balance Foundation of Missouri, which awards scholarships to families in need whose children are enrolled in the life-changing program at Brain Balance Achievement Center, owned by Ashland’s Todd and Carolyn Pridemore (full disclosure: I am an active member of the Foundation’s board of directors) are both non-profits deserving of your consideration, as are the other 90 participating in this year’s campaign.

Regardless of which organization(s) you feel compelled to support, I sincerely hope you will try to offset some of the rampant materialism of the season by giving not only to the people you know, but also to some you don’t. Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good (and donate) for goodness sake!