As the November elections draw ever closer, it can be hard to imagine sitting down with those relatives that you don’t agree with over a meal. Yet, that time is almost upon us, as Halloween next week gives way to preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with other winter celebrations.

I know that one of the most enjoyable parts of this season is that time with my family, particularly the ones that I might not see as often throughout the course of the year. We laugh, share family stories, and help make new stories as we decorate, eat, and spend time together. I am sure that you have your own family traditions that bring a smile to your face just thinking about them.

In Colorado Springs, the winter also brings multiple activities that draw people of a variety of backgrounds, beliefs, and values together for fun and in support of charitable causes. There are runs, spooky houses, and even fun holiday themed movie events. One such event with a great Halloween theme is the Emma Crawford Coffin Race, in which teams race through Manitou Springs and a festival is held for local businesses, making it a great time to buy a unique present for a loved one.

Another option is a nod to our western heritage at the Professional Bull Riding event held in the Broadmoor Arena on Friday and Saturday, October 26 and 27. This is an opportunity to see a tradition that has lived on for generations as part of the rodeo. Clearly, there are also plenty of other family friendly options to see the variety of wildlife that call Colorado home.

During this time of year, there is also an increased focus on giving to others and lending a hand to our fellow man. Many of us volunteer at local shelters or food pantries, while making donations to those groups that work to help others who might be dealing with difficult circumstances. Wrapped into this season of connection and good cheer is a divisive event, known as the mid-term elections.

Now I am not advocating a specific candidate or political ideology, but I am suggesting that as individuals we put down our political pitchforks and embrace the theme of connection instead. Regardless of whether your candidate wins, or your party takes the House or maintains its majority, the point is that you will be with the people you love and care for deeply. It is a time of building memories, and those memories might include your first home or a place to make home during your assignment to the beautiful state of Colorado.

In support of our military who make their home here and their families, I encourage you to make this a time of joy and blessings to those around you. Passing on goodness and kindness to others throughout your neighborhood, place of employment, or even the local veterans’ center can be a way to combat the negativity that seems to permeate the election season and bring people together in hope.