It’s the holidays: Time to make some memories

It happens every year: No matter how much I try to get the shopping done and packages mailed, there is always that last-minute rush to get one more gift for that one person I forgot. You may have seen me Monday night out and about trying to get to the finish line and be able to say, "My holiday shopping is finally done." At this time of year, I have to remind myself that all the gift giving is not as important as the time and memories I will share with my family and friends.

My first Christmas in America really taught me about the goodness of people. As the oldest child in a family that had been totally displaced from the life we had known on the warm island of Cuba, we were living in Denver amidst the cold and crisp snow with few resources.

That Christmas is clearly etched in my memory bank. The individuals who donated to our family so we could have a great first American Christmas taught me even as a young child that the real gifts we received were the memories of the holiday goodwill provided by total strangers.

As you begin your holiday time together, remember to take a few minutes from your busy schedule to make some memories of your own. It doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant. Your greatest expenditure will be time with others: Putting down the technology and talking face to face with another person, taking a walk down the street to see the neighbor's lights, making your special dish and sharing it with others, inventing a new holiday tradition or enjoying the old traditions you have had for years.

You think it doesn't make a difference in this fast and over-the-top world, but time and kindness are still the things that warm the heart and stir the soul. Moments filled with love become our fondest memories.

We've recently launched the Reading is My Superpower initiative to bring heightened awareness to the importance of providing early literacy opportunities for all young children in our community. The time you spend reading with a youngster is so important to building those early literacy skills.

Our public libraries offer many programs for families over the holiday break. You can also register and download the free Footsteps2Brilliance app, with thousands of interactive books, songs and games for use on any mobile device, from our website, http://www.eagleschools.net/reading. Sharing the gift of reading is a gift for life.

Making time in our busiest of days to help those in need is especially meaningful at this time of year. The holiday dinner you donate to a family or the last-minute volunteer help you offer an organization that helps others will be the best gift you can give anyone and something to remember.

We've just been made aware that Our Community Foundation is in need of volunteers to help sort, package and deliver food bags for families in our community. The urgent need has been created by the delayed arrival of snow and the related service jobs that are impacted by weather and visitors.

Our Community Foundation will prepare and deliver about 500 food bags each week for the next three weeks, a total of 3,000 food bags. To learn how you can help or if your family or someone you know is in need of food support, email susie@ourcommunityfoundation.org or call 970-977-1093. Bag packing takes place Tuesday through Thursday for the next two weeks, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Our Community Foundation warehouse at 760 Lindbergh Drive, Unit No. 7, in Gypsum.

On behalf of all of us with Eagle County Schools, happy holidays.

Maggie Lopez, Ph.D., is the interim superintendent of Eagle County Schools. She can be reached at margarita.lopez@eagleschools.net.