A Holiday Perspective

As I come back from spending a wonderful holiday with family and friends and begin my preparation for the next Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results seminar, I began pondering exactly what impact does agriculture have on making my Christmas experiences memorable, joyful, and fulfilling? Here are my thoughts.
1. The live Christmas tree with its brightly colored lights and ornaments that serves as the centerpiece for the Christmas gift exchange. The tree would be gone without the agriculturalist who patiently plants, nurtures, and then skillfully trims each tree to ensure that we have the “perfect” Christmas tree.
2. The beautiful poinsettia with its leaves in colors that brighten any home and bring smiles to our faces as we begin our preparation for Christmas. This plant takes hours of effort and dedication from its growers as they follow the many steps needed to get the beautiful color and fullness that we want.
3. The presents enclosed in boxes and dressed elegantly in gift wrapping paper. The joy one gets when we carefully select the gifts and present them to people in our lives that make a difference. Every piece of paper and cardboard originates from a tree that was carefully managed, harvested, and processed into paper and paper products.
4. Let the baking begin. In my household and in thousands of others, Christmas would not be Christmas without the “goodies”. We are talking homemade cookies, candies, cakes, pies, rolls, and etc. Each person brings to our gatherings something to share during our fellowship. Do we really think about where all the ingredients come from? Flour-wheat; sugar-sugar cane or sugar beets; eggs-chicken; cream, milk, butter-cow; flavorings such a vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, cloves, ginger-plants or trees. Every delightful morsel can be traced back to a farmer.
5. Our holiday “cheer” whether it be the eggnog or a cup of hot chocolate, cider, tea, or coffee that helps remove the chill after a night of caroling or enjoying a glass of wine with our meal, we can enjoy these beverages because of agriculture.
6. The holiday meal of turkey or ham and all the trimmings. All of our food can in fact be traced back to the farm.
The list can go on and on. So, back to my original question, agriculture has a HUGE impact on my holiday and on everyone. When we are so caught up in the excitement and joy of the holiday, we often forget how and who made it possible—-agriculture. Therefore, I am personally going to say a special thank you to every person in the agriculture industry who made the holidays possible. You don’t hear it enough for all you do so, Thank You!

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