The hustle and bustle of Christmas is hitting the home stretch.
By now for many people, the season of giving has turned into the season of getting everything done on the to-do list from wrapping to baking.
If your list is bad, just think about Santa's.
He's got to come up WITH the ideas and produce the gifts.
"Johnny wants a pair of skates; Susie wants a sled; Nelly wants a picture book -- yellow, blue and red," according to the words of "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas." "Now I think I'll leave to you what to give the rest. Choose for me, dear Santa Claus; you will know the best."
But if Santa needs some help this year, several area residents offer a few suggestions. Asked what is your Christmas wish for your community, they came up with lasting "gifts" for not only the holidays but throughout the year.
With last week's tragedy in Connecticut in mind, Kaye Iftner hopes Pike County continues to be a safe and caring community that rallies around those in need.
"My hope is that we always help those who live in poverty, keep our kids safe, curb the rising impact of drugs in our communities, bring jobs to our area and help our citizens and businesses prosper," said Iftner, executive director of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.
Dave Dexheimer, executive director of Douglass Community Service Inc. in Hannibal, Mo., focused on the giving spirit of the season.
"I'd say that the true spirit of Christmas would prevail during the current economic times and that we would all be much more aware of needs around us and willing to help those who have those needs," he said. "This time of year we always have a lot of folks donating things, food and so on. I guess part of that wish would be that same spirit would continue throughout the year."
Holly Cain, executive director of the Quincy Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, stressed the idea of giving, not getting, at the holidays.
"I wish that the real meaning of Christmas won't ever be untold in our schools, homes and public places," Cain said.
"My wish for our community and Pike County is that we have a continued spirit of unity and cooperation as we work to achieve goals of progress and prosperity," said Gina Sheurman, executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Corp. "Like every parent, I also wish that every family feels safe and secure during the holiday season, counting each blessing that has been bestowed on them."
Karla Metz with the Tracy Family Foundation in Mount Sterling wants to see people take part in their community.
"Get more involved, whether that be through volunteering at the local schools, churches or nonprofit organizations, or helping a neighbor with home improvement projects or being involved with a local festival or serving on a governmental board or committee," Metz said.
Jenn Edholm, reading specialist at Carthage Elementary School, focuses on what the community can offer to others.
"My Christmas wish is that we will be able to share all of our wonderful blessings with others by welcoming people to Carthage and the surrounding area," Edholm said. "Welcoming people to our community is a win-win situation for everyone involved."
Quincy Public Library Executive Director Nancy Dolan said there are many things to wish for this Christmas.
"I wish that everyone in the community has good health, good food, a warm home, good books to read and family and friends to share it with this Christmas," Dolan said.
Adams County Farm Bureau Manager Shawn Valter has a weather-related wish for the farming community.
"I wish Mother Nature delivers an ideal growing season for our area farmers with sufficient moisture and normal temperatures as 2013 unfolds," Valter said.