Many people are buying gifts this holiday season, and looking for small and big ways to give back to the community and help others. This year, focus on the Auburn area, whenever you can. • Buy your tree locally. The Placer High School band boosters have a tree lot in front of the school parking lot. All money raised goes toward Placer’s award-winning school band. Local tree lots, such as Pine Valley Ranch and Poppy Lane Tree Farm, preserve open space, help keep our air fresh and keep money local, feeding back into the local economy. • Toss some change or a few bills into one of the Auburn Salvation Army red kettles. Those manning the kettles are volunteers. There are a record number of needy families and individuals being served in Auburn this year. This is the Salvation Army’s largest local fundraiser. • Volunteer to ring the bells and man a red kettle. You can bring your kids, animals and music. Contact Sharon Ferrante at 530-889-3990 ext. 22. They will be ringing bells up to Dec. 24. • Shop locally. Spend a few hours seeing what the stores in your hometown have to offer. When you consider the time, effort and gas costs it takes to go down the hill, you can save money by shopping in Auburn. Some local sales tax revenues also stay within the community and helps keep our infrastructure strong. • Go to the farmers market across from the courthouse Saturday mornings and buy locally grown produce. Machado Orchards, Ikeda’s and other fruit stands sell delicious fruit grown in our own backyard. Also, Placer County is known for its abundance of mandarins. Learn more about this citrus wonder and where you can buy it and other produce offered in the foothills at placergrown.org. • Pop open a bottle of a foothill wine. There are several Auburn area wineries that offer the wine enthusiast or the curious taster a great variety of vintages to choose from. Find out more about them and a good time to visit at auburnwinerytrail.com. • Babysit a cat or kitten for the holidays. The Placer SPCA is overrun with cats and kittens. Chief Executive Officer Leilani Vierra sent out an appeal this week asking those with nonstressful homes to “cat sit.” Her nonprofit shelter in Roseville is at more than 100 percent capacity. To become a foster volunteer with the Placer SPCA, call (916) 782-7722 or (530) 885-7387, ext. 114, or e-mail animalcare@ placerspca.org. • Buy your See’s Candies from the local Kiwanis Club at the Raley’s shopping center on Lincoln Way. The Auburn Kiwanis Club uses the money to help homeless and hungry people, supports Operation: Mom, which sends care packages to troops overseas, funds youth scholarships and much more. • Volunteer for Operation: Mom or send them a check. Pat Ryan is the new Auburn area group leader. She recently took over from Dee Rein, who did an outstanding job for several years. The volunteer group collects and sends care packages with personalized notes and messages that give a touch of home to servicemen and women serving our country overseas. Contact Operation: Mom, Placer County. At P.O. Box 8002, Auburn, CA 95604-0515; phone 530-263-0503; website: www.operationmom.org • Spend some time outdoors with your family. There are lots of free things to do in Auburn such as walk through the park. Both Recreation and Regional parks now have paved pathways suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. Take the kids to the new playground in Recreation Park. And for the more adventurous, walk Clementine Trail to see the majestic Lake Clementine dam waterfall, the Auburn-area’s mini version of Niagara, which is 15 minutes from town just across the confluence bridge. Or how about walking Stagecoach trail, which is wide and suitable for those in fairly decent shape of all ages? • Want to help a less fortunate child? The Auburn Police Department and California Highway Patrol are both collecting new toys for kids. The Auburn Police headquarters at 1215 Lincoln Way has a bin (see page A5 in today’s edition.) And the Auburn Area Highway Patrol is collecting toys for its ChiPs for Kids Toy Drive through Dec. 17. There are bins at various sites around town and the CHP office is just off Interstate 80 at the Newcastle exit. • There are plenty of small and large ways to celebrate the holidays by giving to others, helping the less fortunate and supporting businesses and nonprofits in our community. The holiday period is the season of giving. As the local newspaper, we encourage to give, shop and play locally. Happy holidays.