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Home for the Holidays

Super Storm Sandy may have redefined “home for the holidays” for many on the Jersey Shore. Sandy caused much devastation along the coast – people lost their homes, their belongings, their decorations. But the one thing Sandy couldn’t take from the people of the Jersey Shore was our spirit. Apparently, there’s nothing like a devastating storm to bring out the best in us: people helping people, cleaning the mess together, rebuilding side by side – some tears, many hugs, and a great deal of heart.

After the devastation, the people who could help jumped in – they didn’t stop to ponder what color people were, what level of education they completed, what income level they were at. They just helped whoever was in need. It was a most beautiful sight, and a tradition we can only hope will continue as the Shore is rebuilt.

Many will find that this particular holiday season will bring them wonderful memories like no other. For those that escaped Sandy’s wrath mostly unscathed, the devastation has presented an opportunity to really do some good – and it’s an amazing feeling to know that you were able to have a direct, positive impact on someone else’s life. Down trees became a backdrop for Christmas cards. Extra decorations were given to people who lost theirs in the storm. Town tree lightings have carried a different kind of warmth. Hugs have seemed so much more abundant.

The outpouring of love and care for neighbors has never been so evident. That, to me, is the true meaning of Christmas.

So, yes, “home for the holidays” will take on a whole new meaning at the Jersey Shore this year. Homes that withstood the storm will have extra places set for friends and family who did not fare as well. Many will give to others what they might have spent on themselves. Parties may not be as extravagant as in the past, but are sure to be more inclusive.

Hopefully, this will be a year where memories of the destruction of homes, boardwalks, and storefronts will quickly be replaced by lasting memories of kindness, love, and goodwill. And if home is where the heart is, for many home is at the Jersey Shore. We are Jersey Strong!

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year,
Barbara Scaffidi
Jersey Shore Specialist