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Don’t discount the lights

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

It is hard to say what I love more; Christmas music or Christmas decor. When I purchased my first home here in Suffolk, I remember being so excited to buy decorations for my first Christmas as a homeowner. My favorite color is purple, and that year my tree was decked in purple bows with ornaments of silver and white. Each year, I change the color scheme for my holiday scene. I adore wrapping paper, Christmas bulbs, ornaments and bows. Every year, I add more to my collection.

Our Big Lots store is one of my favorite places to shop for inspiration for my Christmas creations. Have you ever saw something you did not plan to purchase at the time but prayed it would be there when you returned? Recently, I was in the Suffolk Plaza Big Lots store when I came across an unwrapped package of pre-lit garland. I spotted it a few days prior and thought it had to be a markdown. There was a price attached and it seemed reasonable, so this time, I placed it in my basket. At the checkout counter, I discovered that the garland had been discounted 25 percent off its labeled price tag. Discounts are great, but I wondered if something was wrong with the unwrapped package. Perhaps that is why it was discounted. I decided to purchase it anyway.

When I got home and unraveled the garland, I discovered that only one half of the garland had working lights. I had suspected that. Yet, before I determined to take the package back to the store, I inspected my investment. I found that one of the lights was missing. Lucky for me, a string of lights always comes with replacement bulbs. I simply replaced the missing light and the garland was good as new.

For a moment there, I nearly discounted (regarded as unworthy of my consideration) my discounted (reduced in price) pre-lit garland. But I stopped to consider the investment that I had already made in the decor. I found the issue was resolvable and I was able to work it out.

I can’t help but see this string of lights as representation of a community or a family. That single missing light could have been the matriarch that made Christmas time memorable for a family who could not get along otherwise. In fact, that is the storyline of a few Christmas movies. You may be living that storyline in your holiday right now. For those who have lost a loved one during the holiday season and celebrating is difficult this year, take a lesson from the granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush.

On the “Today” show on Dec. 10, Jenna Bush Hager was asked to reflect on how her grandfather lived his life. She stated “when someone passes away, some of what they left, you are left to fill the void. When people you love have gone, you can be there to fill that void.” She went on to say that she began to search herself to see which of her grandfather’s qualities she could share with others, and she chose to be more patient, because her grandfather had been extremely patient with his family. What better way to honor and cherish the memory of a loved one than to carry on the values that they may have imparted to you.

If there is a seemingly unresolvable issue in your family, your community or your personal story, consider the void you may be able to fill. I encourage you not to discount what could possibly be a blessing for you this Christmas. Who would’ve thought I would find a message in 18 feet of unwrapped, pre-lit garland in Big Lots? That’s just the wonder of the season. Anything is possible!

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.