Remember the real meaning of Christmas
The greed of retailers, with their constant ads that pop up at every website you log onto or before any news video you try to watch, is getting tiresome. It's bad enough they fill up the mailbox and the newspapers for three months before Christmas.
I wish they would learn the real meaning of Christmas and understand that it does not mean to fill their pockets. Retailers are the biggest reason why children and adults have lost the true meaning Christmas. Stores blast you with their ads and sales papers, yet they will not use the word Christmas.
In case they forgot, because their head is full of retail greed, let me remind you of the reason. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus. It's time for love, family, compassion and being together with those you love and enjoy. It is a time for a family meal, talks and sharing your ideas, of your wishes and dreams. Time to enjoy the family, plans for the New Year and be with those that you know will not be here for the next Christmas. Yes, that also happens.
Christmas is a time to thank those who gave their life, so we could have ours -- our military, our police and firefighters. Christmas is seeing a star where one may not shine, or an angel in someone walking by. Christmas is not buying a toy that will not get its use, or who got this item to keep up with the neighbor next door.
Really, if you cannot see this, then you yourself have lost Christmas and you have become the Grinch, who stole it. Yet, in the end, even he said "Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!"
Merry Christmas to our military, firefighters and our police, thanks for all you do. To everyone else, open your hearts to the real meaning of Christmas before it is lost in retail. Merry Christmas to all.
Sheila Dillon, Port Orange
Cut a pet owner some slack
There has been much discussion as of late regarding whether dogs should be permitted on restaurant patios. I don't see a problem with allowing this, especially if the dog is well behaved. Actually I think it rather nice to see. In Colorado where my son works, many offices allow people to bring their dogs to work and it makes for a very congenial atmosphere.
For the people who are opposed to dogs in such situations, I wonder if they truly understand how important a pet -- any dog, cat, hamster, fish, bird, etc. -- might be to the people who have these animals in their lives.
Pets take on many roles, not just service animals, but they are loving. faithful companions. There is the person who just lost a spouse. Now I'm not saying the dog/cat/pet replaces the spouse, but animals have an uncanny way of knowing their "human" is hurting and it is amazing how they stay close and try to sooth the person and help them in their time of sadness. There is the senior who basically no longer feels "needed." A pet gives the senior a completely new outlook on life -- suddenly, there is a reason to get up in the morning. The dog has to go out, or the cat is walking all over the bed meowing for breakfast and because the pet is always at the door waiting for its human to come home, that senior no longer enters an empty home.
There is the child who has a difficult time relating to other children and yet the dog/cat waits for the child to come home from school and suddenly the child lights up with a smile because his/her pal is anxiously waiting at the door to welcome him home. The child doesn't have a difficult time relating, it simply feels the love and companionship of the pet and suddenly the world isn't so difficult.
There is the cancer patient fighting for life and his/her faithful dog is right beside the bed -- never leaving. The patient feels the love and gets strength from its beloved pet. There are many situations where a pet has been therapeutic in a person's life and has made a tremendous difference in the healing process.
So please people, when you see a dog sitting next to it's human on the patio of a restaurant, or on a plane under a seat, or in a pet friendly motel, don't be so quick to be annoyed ... the animal might just have saved that person's life.
Martha Skinner, New Smyrna Beach