It’s Your Money Column Â?? First Call

Many people lament that commercialism hides the simple pleasures of holiday sharing. However, those who enjoy the holidays the most suggest that several important components help their enjoyment of the season – sharing time with those they love and giving what they can to others.

A Web site at covers Larimer County and is rich with ideas of things to do and ways to share. There are lots of fun things to do in Larimer County that cost little or nothing.

Take your children to the Farm at Lee Martinez Park on Dec. 14, 15, 21 or 22. From 3:30-7 p.m. each day, participants may enjoy hayrides, refreshments, cookies and Santa Claus, too. There is no cost.

On Dec. 14, Old Town Square hosts a family-oriented celebration of the holidays with free entertainment.

"Take Apart Day" is Dec. 14 at the Discovery Center Science Museum. For a small fee, you and your children can see how things work by taking apart computers, telephones, VCRs and more from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Yearly memberships are available.

Visit the Swetsville Zoo on Harmony on the east side of I-25. This whimsical metal sculpture park will charm children and adults as well. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

The FirstCall Web site also has a comprehensive "Holiday Giving Resource List" that tells where families can get meals, food baskets, toys and gifts. Registration is closing fast for many of these opportunities.

Maybe your family has talked about giving time in a way that would make a difference in the lives of other families. Right now there are many short-term opportunities such as wrapping and delivering gifts and holiday baskets for the Northern Colorado AIDS project, working at the Toys for Tots giving tree in the Foothills Fashion Mall, serving a holiday dinner for seniors and individuals in need with Volunteers of America, and helping to wrap and distribute gifts to children in need with Christmas for Kids.

FirstCall has an extensive list of volunteer opportunities. Just a few requests are Spanish-speaking parents to teach parenting skills, people to work at the Larimer County Humane Society, individuals to help in the Rocky Mountain National Park Service Greenhouse, drivers to deliver Meals on Wheels and people to supervise family court-ordered visits at the Harmony House.

During this special holiday season, try to find one way to share your holiday spirit with others.