“Community Matters” is taking a bit of a different approach this month. While this column would typically be listing seasonal activities and fundraisers, the pandemic and our need to follow public health orders means most of our beloved traditions have been “Canceled.” If ours were a community easily discouraged, the holiday season certainly would seem dim. Thankfully, the mindset of our mountain residents is resilient and we can face these challenging times from the perspective that “community matters.” Here are a few ideas to consider:

Enjoy a Bountiful Thanksgiving

Just because your out-of-town relatives cannot travel to be with you at your dining room table, or your “friendsgiving” plans are canceled, it does not mean you cannot share the bounty of the holiday. Why not buy and donate the traditional Thanksgiving meal favorites to Evergreen Christian Outreach (evergreenchristianoutreach.org) or Mountain Resource Center (mrcco.org) food bank so that a family fallen on hard times can experience the blessing of your generosity? It’s almost a guarantee that when you do, you will feel grateful and your burdens will be lighter.

Shop Like Crazy

Only this year, rather than throwing yourself into the frenzy of Black Friday shopping at a “Big Box” store down the hill, reserve Saturday, Nov. 28 for a small-town retail experience that emphasizes customer service. How great is it to walk into a downtown Evergreen or Bergen Park store and receive a warm welcome from the owner? If remote shopping feels more comfortable these days, our local shops have merchandise featured on their websites so you can browse from the warmth of your home.

Most shops offer curbside pickup of your purchases, and if you are not quite sure about a gift selection, the merchants are more than happy to provide a phone consultation. The important takeaway is to Shop Local. Not only will you find unique gifts, but you will also be taking action to help our small business owners survive a year like none other.


Plan Your Holiday Parties

This year, your home is party place central… for you and your loved ones, that is. As you “deck the halls,” write your holiday cards or watch classic Christmas movies, you can skip cooking and order takeout instead. Our local restaurants offer terrific choices and have made the “to-go” option safe and convenient.

From our coffee shops to our fine dining eateries, they are all counting on our business during the final “make or break” months of 2020. Purchasing gift cards for your family and friends makes shopping easier and helps restaurateurs with cash flow during these quieter times. Patronizing our local restaurants will keep them viable and ready to welcome us post-COVID.

Light Up the Night

“Safer at Home” does not mean we have to disengage. Certainly staying in our nests limits our interactions. However, it does not have to curtail our creativity. This is the year to put up a few extra strands of outdoor lights, set an inflatable Santa in your front yard, or bedazzle the neighborhood with a sparkling wreath display. You and the passersby will be thankful for the intentional expression of holiday spirit.

Add Our Nonprofits to Your Gift List

The pandemic has stressed our nonprofits. With key fundraisers canceled due to safety concerns and a sizable increase in the need for services during the pandemic, local charitable organizations are feeling the pinch. Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 8 gives you the opportunity to donate to the nonprofit that speaks to your heart and to have your donation matched by the Community First Foundation. Colorado Gives Day maximizes gifts to our nonprofits and that is especially important during a year of scaled back fundraising. Discover how you can make a critical difference by visiting coloradogives.org.