Get in the holiday spirit by giving! | SierraSun.com

Get in the holiday spirit by giving!

Raine Howe
Special to the Sun

Vitaliy Pakhnyushchyy/Thinkstockphotos.comThink outside the gift box and give a holiday treat of music, performances and school events.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calf. and#8212; Well it is the holiday season and#8212; we are in the thick of it for sure. Many of us are waiting for the and#8220;spiritand#8221; to take us over and#8230; some of us can find it easier than others. What makes it possible for one person to get into the spirit while others are left sniffing Christmas trees or looking at candles or holiday decorations? What leaves some of us wanting to be overcome with that good feeling, that happy crush that invades our chests when the spirit at last lands on our shoulders?

Well and#8212; if you are looking for a way to get there and#8212; this article can help. First of all and#8212; you need music and#8212; holiday music. Whatever got you in the spirit when you were a kid. If you cannot attend a live holiday concert then pick up a CD and play it in your house or car and#8212; or download something on the gadgetry you got last holiday season and#8212; there are many ways to get into the spirit of the holidays through music and it is essential. Secondly, attend a holiday performance. Even if it is the elementary school annual show or a performance at a congregation down the road and#8212; there is nothing that will squeeze your heart more than seeing kids with construction-paper antlers on stage, or dressed as a major character from a religious story.

How about the Nutcracker? Or Peter Pan and#8230; cand#8217;mon and#8230; you have to get into the spirit somehow and these are all great ways to do so, and they are all nearby.

Could it be that simple? Well, I think it is worth a try and#8230; just a few ingredients (OK and maybe some eggnog) and you should be able to stir something up. Notice I did not say to go shopping. I also wanted to remind every adult (which I am pretty sure is the majority of our readers) giving is the best gift of all for ourselves. There are many arts organizations that are well deserving of your support and who need your support more than ever. You do not need to write some ginormous check to make a meaningful contribution. If everyone gave even a modest gift it will collectively make a difference. Do you have $25 to give? Then give it.

You can even tell your loud-mouth sister-in-law instead of giving her some crap-tac-u-lar garbage from Walmart you donated $25 on her behalf to a local art organization that brings music, theater, dance and visual arts to our community. Of course I did not invent this idea and#8230; people have been making donations in honor of someone for almost a decade now and#8212; but it doesnand#8217;t matter this is not my idea and#8212; it is a good idea and one worthy of your support. If you can afford more than $25 then give more. Do what you can for the local art organizations that do everything they can year round to make living in the mountains a well-rounded place to raise your kids and#8212; a place that does not only include one of the most spectacular geographies on the planet, but one that provides meaningful artistic and cultural experiences for your family.

One story I love to share is a family who moved here in the thick of winter. They were not used to the snow load. It kept snowing, and snowing, and snowing and#8230; and the mother began to wonder if they had made a mistake. Then a dance company came and performed at her daughterand#8217;s school and#8230; and it was beautiful and inspiring. The daughter told her mom and#8220;Thatand#8217;s what I want to do when I grow upand#8221; and the mother thought and#8230; OK, we can do this. There is more to the mountains than sports related to the snow. And they have lived here ever since and#8230; and the daughter is now working with an internationally acclaimed dance school. See what a difference some art can make in our lives. This is one small example.

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There are a number of local art organizations worthy of your support and#8212; you do not have to look far. Here are a few suggestions, all of which can be found on-line and all of which are 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations, making your donation tax deductible:

Arts For the Schools, http://www.artsfortheschools.org

Cymbal and#8211; Youth Music Shows, http://www.youthmusicshow.com

InnerRhythms Dance Theater, http://www.innerrhythms.org

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, http://www.laketahoeshakespeare.com

North Tahoe Arts, http://www.northtahoearts.com

Toccata Symphony Orchestra, http://www.toccatatahoe.com

Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus, http://www.singttcc.org

These organizations, and more, provide artistic and cultural programming for our communities and play a vital role in offering some balance to life in the mountains. If you need to purchase a gift shop locally and purchase goods made from local artists. Hand-made gifts are special and you can always find something appropriate for the entire family. Best of all they are the gifts that will make you feel good inside, and give you that holiday spirit you are longing for.