Published: 12/1/2016 11:00 AM
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Last Christmas, I gave you my heart and now I’m dead because, apparently it’s vital for survival. I kid. Last Christmas, I actually had the privilege of interviewing a silver fox commonly referred to as Santa Claus.

It was a delight on many levels and likely the high-point of my career thus far, but what it really did was awaken the spirit of Christmas in the Grinch who usually resides in my soul.

I’m going to speak of many fun things going on this Christmas in which readers can participate, but before that, let me talk about holiday depression. The holidays can be very depressing for a lot of people. Some years, had I a real tree, I could have watered it with my tears. If you’re feeling blue like a spruce, make sure you reach out; there is help out there. Tapline’s crisis number for Northumberland County is 800-222-9016.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

We’re running a lot of fun promotions this Christmas at The News-Item and I’d like to let those who don’t know, know about them.

Letters to Santa

The big guy has received an influx of letters from students at Lourdes and local kids around the area. Through a special connection with local legend Tom Kutza, Santa is able to receive letters from local kids through our website.

Now, be careful what you ask for. Let’s not get too greedy. A 50-inch plasma smart television is a bit much for a 6 year old. But he’s not only going to get your letter, he will read it on a daily show on our site. If you go to newsitem.com and click on the “Letters to Santa” graphic on the left-hand side, you’ll be transported to a scene from the North Pole. There, you can listen to the day’s broadcast or click on the mailbox to the left of Santa’s house that says “Send Mail.”

Santa is so gracious. He loves getting letters and takes time out to read each one, so drop him a line and tell him what’s on your wish list. Another good idea is to tell him what a great guy he is, because we would never want Santa to feel unappreciated and slip into Seasonal Affective Disorder because, we love him (no, not because you won’t get presents; don’t be a brat.)

Ugly Sweater Contest

This is a first for The News-Item. Our inaugural Ugly Sweater Contest. You may have seen the ad, but if not, I’ll explain. It’s very simple. Take a picture of yourself in your best ugly Christmas sweater and email it to heather_m@newsitem.com. Readers will then be able to vote for their favorite for only 10 cents.

The winner will receive a $50 gift card (which they can split $25/$25) to be used at one of the following sponsors: Heimbach’s Bakery, Community Pharmacy, Wehry’s TT&A Meats, Wal-Mart, Irish Beer Distributor, Masser’s Restaurant, Creekside Restaurant, Wedgettown Crafts and Blazing Angels Tattoo. There’s really something for everyone and, hey, $50 is a good chunk of change.

I, personally, have a sweatshirt featuring a decal of a tiny kitten in Christmas garb. I don’t consider it ugly, but some may. What’s ugly to one can be breathtakingly beautiful to others, always remember that in life.

All proceeds from voting will be donated to Toys for Tots, and speaking of Toys For Tots...

Toys For Tots

We, as many businesses do, have a bin here to collect toys. When you’re stopping in to pay your bill, pick up a paper, place an ad or yell at us for something, it would awfully kind of you to bring a new toy for donation to the less fortunate children out there. It doesn’t have to be a 50-inch plasma TV, it could be something from one of the dollar stores.

Remember, you have to give in order to receive — very important in life. You can’t expect the world to fall into your hands if you don’t give back.

Coloring contest

In addition to all of these amazing things in which to participate, we also have an upcoming coloring contest. I, personally, love the coloring contest. I swept Elysburg when I was a kid because my coloring skills far exceeded my age group, so it’s awesome to see all the colorful works of art on display in the lobby when I come to work. It brightens my day.

So, interact with us. We’re not as bad as Sound Off may make us out to be. We’d like to share in the holiday spirit with you, our readers, because we value each and every one of you no matter what.

(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item. Her lifestyle column appears Thursdays.)

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