Guest Commentary: Christmas is a season of traditions

By Senator John Thune

Christmas has always been a season of tradition. From picking out the Christmas tree, to baking for the neighbors, nearly every family has their own customs and traditions around the holidays. Some of these traditions are community-wide celebrations that capture the true spirit of the season. Throughout the state you will find small and large towns coming together to enjoy the company of others and reflecting on the year that has passed.

 For some, a trip to Pierre for a look at the Christmas trees that are decorated by businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government offices is an annual tradition. Others enjoy the nativities and Christmas pageants that local churches and community groups will host each year. Some enjoy the sounds of the season at school concerts and the South Dakota Acoustic Christmas in Sioux Falls, Yankton, Lead, and Rapid City. No matter the tradition, the season presents wonderful opportunities to enjoy the fellowship of friends and family.

 Perhaps no tradition is more important than celebrating the season of giving by remembering those who are less fortunate. I am always amazed by the generosity of South Dakotans, and I know that in difficult times those in need can count on others for support during the Christmas season. Not all South Dakotas have the means to make financial donations to those in need, but many South Dakotans will choose to donate their time and talents, offering a helpful hand to a neighbor in need, organizing food drives, and providing a warm meal and gifts to less-fortunate children.

 We also think about those families who have loved ones serving in the military around the globe who will be apart this Christmas. The strength of the family members who celebrate traditions while praying for the safety of loved ones in harm's way reminds us all of how fortunate we are to be together this time of year.

 As you continue to celebrate your Christmas traditions this season, Kimberley and I would like to wish all of those travelling this season safe journeys and a very Merry Christmas. May God continue to bless South Dakota and our great nation.

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