Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Trying to describe Christmas Eve in Bozeman is like trying to describe the taste of pumpkin pie — almost impossible. My wife and I moved to Bozeman twenty years ago last June from San Diego, California and have not regretted it for a single second.

Whoever came up with the phrase, “The Last Best Place on Earth” not only described Montana but the South Central Montana we call home. Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan, Three Forks, Big Sky, Livingston are all very special places each with their own traditions and customs.

Shop Local

Although I have some of my shopping done I still have a few things to pick up and as usual I wait to the last minute. So after radio this morning I’m off to beat the early store closings and hoping that something will jump out at me that will hold me in the good graces of my wife for one more year. Since I am already downtown I will hit a few of the local Main Street merchants and put my gift dollars to work locally. I hope you will too.

Some Shopping Tips For Buying Your Spouse’s Gift

Having been married for over 30 years I have some words of wisdom for all the less experienced male shoppers out there. I realize that you heard her say something about replacing the old toaster but trust me — that’s not a gift you want to hang your martial hat on.

By all means get the toaster but you had better also pick up something that expresses how you feel about your life’s partner. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be sparkly. It just has to say this is how much I care. A good gift selection on Christmas morning will hold you clear up to Valentine’s Day when you’re going to have to do it all over again.

Help Others This Christmas

There are many folks having a tough time and you can help. If you don’t have monetary resources then consider volunteering your time. Shovel a senior’s sidewalk for them. Donate some food to the Food Bank. Ask your priest or pastor if there are church members that could use a helping hand. If we all give a little it quickly adds up to a lot.

Some Final Thoughts

Christmas is a Christian holiday. It’s not a holiday that excludes people who choose to believe differently. There are many religions in the world and many have high holy days throughout the year. Respect and appreciate their celebrations as they respect and appreciate our celebration of Christmas.

It’s the season of looking for ways to bring us together, not divide us. It’s a celebration of life and new beginnings. It’s a celebration of the intangible gifts we give each other. Love, appreciation and respect are priceless gifts and fall into everyone’s price range. Give those as often as you possibly can. At this very special time of year I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.