Off The Press

December 8, 2009

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

’Tis plenty of ways to give this holiday season

‘Tis the season to be jolly. And ‘tis better to give than receive. How about being jolly and giving?

Budgets are tighter than ever for some people. And the holidays, when you should be able to relax and treat yourself and others, often make tight budgets feel even worse than they would otherwise.

In the time I have lived in this fair city, I know that when I have needed things, various people have provided them in various ways. That’s how Issaquah people are. Kind, caring and giving. I’ve done my best to give back as often as possible — kind of a pay-it-forward policy, if you will.

Here are some things you can do to make the season brighter for others, which always comes back to you, thereby making the season brighter for you, too.-Give to a toy collection drive from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dec. 13 at Pickering Barn. Toys go to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, which already has more than 350 families that have been adopted, but may see another 200 families with needs before Christmas Day arrives. You can get toys at many local retailers for $10 and less. How about shopping privately owned, local businesses, and give two gifts in one?

-Help local Girl Scouts in troops 50262 and 50121 at their bazaar from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 13 at Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front. St. N. Get hand-made items, including beautiful wreaths (I buy one every year here), soy candles, knitted hats, cute beaded socks, hand-painted T-shirts, doggy biscotti, jewelry and other wonderful gifts. The girls are raising money for trips and activities.

-If you need a Christmas tree, one place you can go is Issaquah Christian Church’s annual Christmas Tree Lot from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 24 at 10328 Issaquah-Hobart Road S.E. Proceeds help support church missions, including building homes in Mexico. I just bought the largest tree I’ve ever owned from there (10 feet tall!), and for only $50. There are many that are much more affordable, too.

-Help raise funds for a school in Tanzania, and hear wonderful music, at A Little Night Music at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 24850 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road. Offerings will be taken at the door.

-Support our local zoo at the 21st Issaquah Reindeer Festival throughout the month. Meet Santa Claus. Visit his reindeer team. Have your face painted. Leave a letter for Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate, kettle corn, apple cider, cookies, candy canes and more. Go to or call 392-6278. This is one of the main sources of funds for the animals for the year. The zoo is not city funded, and the only means of revenue comes from admissions and private donations.

-How about visiting a senior citizen who doesn’t get visitors at one of the local rehabilitation/nursing homes?

-Purchase an extra food item or two and take it to the food bank.

-Purchase an extra pet food item to donate to the Humane Society.

-Bake some cookies and give them to someone, anyone, who is feeling down.

-Hug someone who looks like they need one.

-Smile at and/or say hello to people you pass on the street. It’ll brighten their day.

-Volunteer your time at an organization that is doing holiday work for others.

These are just some of the things you can do to help out in this community. I am sure there are many others.

Christmas and other spiritual holidays should be times of giving. Try to give to those who need it.

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or Comment at

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