Here it is the week before Christmas and, like most people, I am running behind, which means going to Plan B, which may even become Plan C. There have been a few glitches in my plans this year.

Like most people, I get nostalgic this time of year. I remember the toys I wanted for Christmas from Santa and how I spent the weeks before snooping to find that special present knowing that if I found it, I would have to give my best surprise performance, although my mother was a good hider.

Toys have come a long way. These days Legos are very popular, but I had Tinker Toys and my brother had an Erector set, which when you think about it was not a real safe toy. Well, he wasn’t going to be an engineer anyway. 

We didn’t have to worry too much about batteries because not many toys required them. And if they did, you probably forgot to get them and went on Christmas Day searching for an open drug store. 

There were even a few years when my mother decided to put everything up on Christmas Eve — tree, presents, all of it. No wonder when we came down in the morning, we would find her stretched out on the couch. We thought she had been waiting for Santa.

That changed when we started going to my god parents’ house on Christmas Eve for a traditional Italian fish dinner. I still remember the snail trying to escape the pot. On Christmas Day there was another feast at my Nona and Kiki’s house, my mother’s parents. Food, cousins and presents — what more could one want.

Although I miss all that, I still like to give presents in whatever shape or form. The Riverside Township Lions Club has a pin that states, “Kindness Matters,” and that is probably one of the best presents one can give, whether it be to open a door, give a smile, let someone ahead of you in line, help someone if you see they need it. Those will be the gifts that last

So, my friends, whatever holiday you are celebrating, do it in the spirit of kindness, which costs nothing, needs no batteries or instructions. You can do it.

To Dan, Bob and all the Landmark staff, happy holidays. To my family and readers, I wish you peace and happiness.