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The holidays are upon us.

Thursday, on Thanksgiving Day, most of us probably ate more than our fill, took in a football game or two or maybe even staged a game in the backyard with friends and relatives. We gave our thanks for what we have, be it good health, a job, friends or family. Some of us might have taken a moment to remember those who are no longer around to spend this time of the year with us.

Some of us might have skipped out on a late dinner engagement to go stand in line at a local store, ready to jump on a bargain as some retailers decided to open doors a day early and draw in the Black Friday shoppers. And it is sometimes in those shopping aisles, long checkout lines and parking lots where we lose that sentiment of being calm and thankful.

The retail world explodes around this time of year, or so it appears. Here in Southern Maryland, we donít often hear about any major incidents involving shoppers fighting over items, but that is not to say it does not happen. As we travel from store to store this holiday season, letís try to be courteous to not just our fellow shoppers, but to the store clerks as well. This time of year is stressful on everyone, especially since we are still in a down economy and gift-buyers are likely to be curbing how much they spend.

But we donít have to pay a price for civility. Instead of taking frustrations out on each other, let us try to take a moment to plan ahead, give ourselves extra time to get from destination to destination and use that time to decompress a little before heading back into the lionís den. Some items might be worth purchasing online and having them delivered. A lot of retailers are making their Black Friday sales available for purchase for the same price online (with a couple more dollars added on for shipping, but think of that as gas and time saved instead of a penalty). Many of us have learned that shopping for gifts online is a pleasant alternative to spending a day developing blisters on our feet and coming home exhausted.

If we do decide to jump in the car and head out to face the crowds, letís try to keep in mind we all want to do the same thing: provide a happy morning or evening for whatever holiday we will be celebrating with family. Thatís the goal. Letís try to do so in a manner in keeping with the seasonís message of goodwill to all.