I un-hate the holidays - and it’s a good thing!

At the rate I was curmudgeoning, I was destined to be far beyond my age in 'piss and vinegar' (as the saying goes) before making it halfway to AARP accreditation.

I was becoming rapidly more Scrooge-ish each time the holiday season rolled around, bringing with it the frustrating search for that 'special' thing for those 'important' people in my life (and a couple of extra gifts in case someone surprised me with a scented candle). But, because all the important people on my list have more crap than they can store, gift giving became a real chore.

I just knew in the pit of my knotted stomach that I was probably buying gifts that they'd re-gifting to people they sort-of don't even like. The stress of finding gifts for my “have it all's" didn't make my days merry or bright - so, I said screw it.

I stopped buying gifts for those people who have everything (even it one of them is my mother) and I started putting my heart into shopping for people who have so little that they top their wish lists with their needs - a heavy winter coat and warm boots - and include their 'wants' as a hopeful afterthought.

I retired my walking stick and un-ba'd my humbugs. I chose a child from the Salvation Army's Angel Tree and put my money to good use by purchasing gifts from the wish list of a local child in need.

The child that I selected needs a coat and a pair of boots and wants a skateboard. So, come Christmas Day, that's what he'll get along with a few other goodies the he undoubtedly will be thankful for. But, my sincere hope is that the real gift will be a a refreshed sense of peace, love and joy for him and his family. The thought of which revitalizes those same things in me - and isn’t that the whole point of the season?

In 1984, the Salvation Army (salvationarmy.org) began the Angel Tree program in Nashville. Since then it has grown to serve thousands of people in need in Nashville and surrounding counties.

Won't you choose an angel? It is easier than ever before. If you're the hands-off type but want to help out, you can visit angel.jcpenney.com and choose an angel to sponsor. View their wish list, purchase items online and have them shipped to the appropriate Salvation Army location and you've just made the season special with the click of a few buttons. You don't have to purchase all of your items from JC Penney, but if you do FedEx will ship your gifts to The Salvation Army for free.

More hands-on types who enjoy shopping with a purpose can visit an Angel Tree location at Cool Springs Galleria, The Mall at Green Hills, Hickory Hollow and RiverGate and set out with wish list in hand. There's no need to wrap the gifts either. Simply mail them or drop them at the location you'll receive via email email and you will have completed your duty and given a gift that will continue to give. But don't dawdle. Gifts must be at the Salvation Army drop location by Dec. 14.

Angel Tree gives individuals and partnering corporations an opportunity to adopt less fortunate children, seniors and disabled adults and provide personalized gifts and necessities to those who would otherwise receive very little or nothing during the holiday season. Donors can be confident that their gifts go directly to those who are truly in need since all Salvation Army Angels and are not served by other holiday assistance programs.

Participating in gift-giving through Angel Trees is a genius way to help a make the Holidays special for a child in need. It takes the burden of gift-buying off of the family and makes a child feel as special as his family had hoped for during a time of the year that should be magical for every child, rich or poor.

Throw down your walking stick, unfurl your brow and stop throwing your money at people who have it all. This season, choose an angel and, in turn, you'll be one.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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