We trust all our readers survived Black Friday. (Well, actually, it was more like a Gray Friday here.)

The American economy appears to be booming with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales rising to record highs. That generosity carried over to Giving Tuesday for many charitable organizations such as STCH Ministries.

We continue to be vocal proponents of the “Shop Local” message. For a half century and much longer, we at this newspaper have encouraged Bee Countians to support their local merchants.

A shining example was our Holiday Guide, featuring 52 advertisers from our seven-county area of the Coastal Bend, which appeared in last week’s pre-Thanksgiving edition.

In addition to the specials and season greetings from the advertisers, our editors listed some of the favorite area attractions, along with colorful photos of Santa Claus, smiling kids, lights, parades and snow fun.

We hope everyone enjoyed and appreciated our holiday coverage.

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In fact, two immensely popular Christmas kickoff festivities take place this week in Beeville.

First, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held on the courthouse grounds Thursday evening coinciding with the arrival of Santa Claus.

Kids of all ages are invited to come watch the courthouse lawn be transformed into a winter wonderland.

Then on Saturday, Beeville Main Street will stage its Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration downtown, featuring a Santa Fun Run, Christmas Bazaar, horse-drawn carriage rides and annual lighted parade. 

Special thanks to Michelle Trevino, Main Street manager, County Judge Stephanie Moreno and others who plan these fun activities “with a small-town atmosphere.”

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On a related topic, we again are amazed by the generosity exhibited by some local residents coming to the aid of those in need.

People like John Gutierrez, Mickie Ochoa, Marco Garcia, Wally Rodriguez Ruben Cuellar Jr. and Sr., and Laly Arteaga are remarkably unselfish. 

Because of their love for their hometown, they always look for ways to give back to their community, especially during the holidays.

Enlisting donations from friends and help from the staff at Our Lady of Victory Church, they fed about 600 people a hot Thanksgiving meal, featuring turkey and all trimmings.

The effort was declared a “huge success,” and a majority of the meals were delivered to residents unable to make it to Julio’s Cafe that day.

Before the event, Gutierrez hoped this would spur others to do projects like this for the community. 

“Instead of working against each other, we need to work together,” he said.

Amen — especially coming at a time when our nation is so deeply divided.

We’re extra thankful for citizens with vision, vitality and a caring spirit. It gives us hope for the holidays and the future in Bee County.

– Chip Latcham