This Christmas may find parts or much of South Dakota without a significant snowpack, but even so, signs of the season are all around us. Whether a wreath on the door, the lights on a neighbor's home, or an office ugly sweater party, signs of Christmas come to dominate our surroundings and fill our schedules each December.
Christmas is a time for many things, but among those many things I'm hoping South Dakotans keep a certain few in mind this holiday season.
This season is a time for giving. In Christian tradition, and in other faiths the holiday season includes a custom of presenting gifts to friends and family as signs of affection. Linda and I will exchange gifts with each other, with our children, and with other family members and friends.
This year, I hope all South Dakotans will give also to those who have little. A gift can be time spent at the local food pantry, a gift of warm clothing or food, or a gift of money to charity. As you remember your family and friends, remember also those whose names may not be known to you, but whose needs are real.
Christmas is likewise a time for gathering. Linda and I will be spending Christmas at the Daugaard farmstead, and also in nearby Dell Rapids with Linda's mother and other family. After spending time with us, our three children will also gather with spouses' families for the holiday. It will be a very relaxing time for Linda and me to be back at the farm before the frantic pace of the upcoming legislative session.
This season, take time to gather with and appreciate those who love you.
Christmas is also a time for celebrating. Linda and I will celebrate as Christians, remembering the birth of Jesus. Others will celebrate during this season for other reasons, according to the beliefs of their faiths. Whatever your practice, Linda and I wish all South Dakotans a very happy holiday season!
We give thanks for our great country and for our state, and we send our best wishes for joy and togetherness to all South Dakotans.