Thomson: Season of love, compassion, community, gratitude

As the calendar turns to December, it’s hard not to notice the approach of the holiday season. Festive music plays at the grocery store and shopping centres, bright strings of lights and garlands begin popping up on our houses and carefully-crafted lists to Santa are deposited in the mail.

It’s important to remember, however, that the true spirit of the holiday season is about love, compassion, community and gratitude. It’s about spending time with our family and friends and looking out for those who are less fortunate. When you spot the Salvation Army’s volunteers and their Christmas kettle campaign, donate what you can and remember that every bit helps. They are always looking for volunteers and taking some time as a family to do charitable work is a great way to give back to the community and spend time enjoying the true spirit of the holidays.

As you begin looking for gifts for your loved ones, remember to look at some of the great local vendors and businesses we have right here in the Okanagan, specifically in Kelowna. You’ll be able to find a gift for everyone on your list while supporting our community, small business and the local economy. We have so many choices when we shop, especially at this time of year and making the decision to purchase your holiday gifts and groceries from local vendors is a great way to make a positive impact.

Kelowna’s recent revitalization of downtown and Bernard Avenue has made it a beautiful place to do your holiday shopping and appreciate the beauty of our city. The city has made a $14 million investment, widening sidewalks and making significant aesthetic improvements to the area that many of our independent small businesses call home.

We all look forward to sharing hearty meals with friends and family over the holidays and B.C. food products, agriculture and wine make for a delicious and locally-sourced meal. We have year-round greenhouse vegetables available from throughout the province, including the Okanagan. When you serve B.C. agriculture products to your family and guests, you’re supporting our provincial farmers and our economy. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford a holiday meal for their family and this is a busy time of year for local food banks. You can make a difference by donating to the Kelowna Community Food Bank, at 1265 Ellis Street, or at most grocery stores in Kelowna.

Tourists come from all over the world to visit our wineries and we are fortunate enough to have great wines right here in our backyard. Take some time to visit the wineries and craft distilleries and toast to the great products, industry and businesses here in the Okanagan.


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