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home : opinion : opinion May 24, 2016

12/27/2012 4:35:00 PM
Christmas giving just feels so good
As a child, giving gifts to my family and friends for Christmas was one of the highlights of my holiday season. I would make cards out of colored construction paper, use glitter glue in excess to adhere eight-point stars and headless snowmen - completing each gift with a misshapen stick figure, which I can only assume was a self-portrait. I truly loved pleasing.
But there is one caveat to this memory. I was an only child for the first 10 years of my life; therefore, I was spoiled rotten. When I wanted something­ - or claimed to need it - my parents and-or grandparents would buy it. If that sounds familiar, take a moment to self-reflect. As I've grown older, it has become apparent that my tenacious drive for giving was purely out of self-interest. I wanted gifts.
I wanted Star Wars figures and the Millennium Falcon. I wanted Hot Wheels and the car wash with a "waxing" feature. I wanted Transformers, GI Joes and a Sega Genesis with every video game imaginable. Unfortunately, whatever I wanted, I received. So much so my wife refers to me as a "first-born stuck in a 38-year-old man's body."
What can I say - she's right.
However, once I started raising my own children, my expectations of Christmas receiving quickly dwindled and were replaced by the gift-of-giving I enjoyed as a child. It just feels so much better.
Last week, the Othello Outlook co-sponsored an event with the Greater Othello Chamber of Commerce and the Factory Pizzeria. For the second year in a row, we brought in Santa Claus from the North Pole, invited an Elf (actually bribed an elf using pizza as currency) and offered $5 photos just in time for Christmas.
This year's event was night-and-day compared to last year. Our amazing designer and sports reporter easily MacGyver'd the available light using white boards, the back side of wrapping paper, four paper clips, a stick of Wrigley's gum (spearmint) and 42 feet of extension cords. The natural ambiance they created was truly amazing and really polished the photo quality.
Last year, we took around 35 family style pictures using a ghetto off-white sheet hanging the background and old-school fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling. This year was different. As the evening ended, we had taken 150 pictures using a snowflake backdrop, giant Christmas presents as props with a return appearance of Santa and our office Christmas tree. The biggest difference ... we are donating the proceeds to the Othello Wrestling Club - and more specifically to our local girl's wrestling program in hopes they can soon bring home a state championship.
To say our event was mildly successful is inaccurate. It was extremely successful. We shuffled over 300 people in-and-out during a three-hour period. The Othello girl's wrestling team kept the crowds at bay and made sure everyone was served hot chocolate and whipped cream (donated by the Othello Chamber) and holiday cookies (donated by our local Walmart and new store manager Mike Palmer). Last year, we pocketed around $100. This year we are donating $650 to the local wrestling club and handed out 12 ten-dollar gift certificates to local restaurants, such as the Brunswick, Checo's, Casa Mexicana, Time Out Pizza, Subway and Chen's Family Dish. What a great feeling.
Thank you, Othello, for your support and we've already put a deposit down on Santa and our local elf for an even more successful 2013. The only difference is the elf has requested time-and-a-half on the pizza.

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