For me this is the last official Hometown View of the year as next week I’ll be living at the Pine Belt Arena during the WOBM Christmas Classic and after that will take a few days to rest and relax. I wanted to take a moment to personally wish you and yours the merriest of Christmas’ as well as a Happy Hanukah which for some will not be easy.

While it’s a joyful time for many the holidays are also a stark reminder that for some there is little to celebrate and December 25th is a day that can result in empty feelings. But this time of year does bring out the best in people with so many recognizing that it is so much better to give then receive. Think of how many people you know who have performed acts of kindness that will bring joy to families throughout Ocean County who because of the generosity of others will be able to tell their children that Santa Claus did not forget them.

There’s Kevin and Peggy Burger, the architects of “Kevin’s Kids” which will result in hundreds of children in Manchester Township getting to open toys and clothes they would not have. The Burgers do it with an army of volunteers like Pat and Laurie Barry, who get as much job in wrapping gifts for others as they do for their own children.

Ralph Wolf (pictured) is the owner of Jersey Coast Appliance but devotes much of his time to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County and along with people like Scott Martin and Jerry Bove helped bring Christmas cheer to some 200 children during their recent Holiday Celebration which included a visit from Santa. How about the “Kmart Angels”….people who go into Kmart stores nationwide and pay off holiday layaways that are in jeopardy of not being satisfied and in most cases filled with toys and things for children?

While there is so much bad in the world you really don’t have to look far for the good as it’s often right in our own backyards. Whether it’s donating a toy or a buck or two there are those who believe in paying it forward. Sometimes we wonder if it’s enough but think of the smile you will bring to a boy or girl when they open that toy you purchased…or put on a winter coat they didn’t have.

My wish for all of you is that you experience peace and joy during this holiday season and that 2012 is better than 2011. I’m also hoping you’ll keep listening to the Hometown View and at some point I make you smile, laugh and yes even cry.

Talk to you next year!

The Hometown View returns on Tuesday, January 3.