Gift Guide

There are a lot of proverbs out there about how one’s life ought to be lived. Most are cheesy, some are apt, but there’s no cliché we like so much as “work hard, play hard.” It’s the simplest way to sum up the ever-important balance between buckling down and letting loose.

Every year around this time, the Weekly tries to help readers sort through the consumerist frenzy that descends each winter like a vaguely benevolent heart attack, one that can’t quite kill us but nevertheless does its best to spoil the party. There’s nothing wrong with giving, of course–for our part, we just think the holiday season is at its best when we’re a little more thoughtful about our choices, and when we focus not only on the perfect gifts, but also on where and how we found them.

For our first guide of the year, we’ve decided to take the holiday season up on its moniker as the “season of giving” and are happy to present our first Holiday Giving Guide. 2009 seems like the right year to explore ways to start the season with a commitment to strengthening our community.

Working a soup line at Christmas or chipping in at a shelter on Christmas Eve–these are generous acts. What service groups desperately need, however, are more long-range commitments.

Some seniors–especially those living alone–need a little help here and there. If there’s someone in your ‘ohana who fits that description, consider making a point to stop by for an hour or two as often as you can to help with tasks like shopping, errands, heavy lifting or other tasks.

Despite signs that Hawaii is finally willing to open up about our homelessness problem, there are still far too many families in need. Aleck provides these two examples of groups working to solve family homelessness.

Ask a local shelter about its wish list. Aleck reminds us to remember domestic violence shelters when donating clothes, blankets and other items. Their addresses are tightly guarded secret, for obvious reasons, but groups like the Domestic Violence Action Center (531-3711) and others are glad to accept public support.

This week