It's Thanksgiving! Time for turkey, family, friends and new memories. Let's get out our stretchy pants, eat to our heart's content and then nap to get ready for Black Friday shopping! But don't forget, not everyone is blessed to be spending this time with family.

Retail and restaurant workers may not have time off today to celebrate. Instead of pigging out with family, our emergency personnel are on standby in case something happens to one of us while we celebrate. There are countless others who have to work or otherwise don't get the opportunity to celebrate.

Then, there are those who've lost someone and they haven't healed enough to celebrate. Also, remember those in the hospital who don't have anyone to celebrate with. Some of our elderly won't receive an invitation to come home for Thanksgiving dinner, because there's no one to invite them.

There are so many who are broken, hurting and tired while we celebrate. Don't forget them. Don't just be thankful this Thanksgiving for the many blessings you have, but pay your blessings forward and be kind. Someone else’s life may depend upon it!

Leeds was really lit up last week with celebrations ushering in the holiday season including the Leeds Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting activities. Miss Leeds Area Charity Bowden and Leeds High School Band entertained and led the crowd in Christmas carols while kids enjoyed face painting, balloon artist and selfies with Santa. Mayor David Miller welcomed everyone and led the crowd in the countdown to the downtown tree lighting. Santa then made his arrival and families enjoyed the kids getting selfies with Santa while others got their balloon art and face painting continued. Somehow, the timing got off with the band march down the Parkway which caused a little confusion with some, but the evening ended with the Lehigh Tower Christmas Tree Lighting. Crowds were even bigger than last year and with the increased activities sponsored by Mills Pharmacy and Shops of Grand River, all of the kids had plenty to do while they waited to have a personal moment with Santa.

Friday evening was consumed with the Grand Christmas Tree Lighting at Grand River who also had plenty of activities for kids and their families plus plenty of great deals to kick off the holiday shopping season. Saturday, Bass Pro had activities to help families with their holiday cooking for kids and adults alike to get involved.

As you shop for all of your holiday needs, please remember all of the retailers and restaurants in Leeds and Moody. From Grand River and Bass Pro to Leeds downtown shops and onto Ashville Road and Moody Parkway for other Leeds and Moody businesses, there are many opportunities to find just the right gift for the right person.

Moonlight Madness will begin on Thanksgiving at The Outlet Shops of Grand River. Doors of the shops will open at 9 p.m. for 24 hours of grand deals. Door busters and amazing sales will be available all weekend long, as well as swag bags and “text to win” with over $15,000 in prizes!

Check out all of the area retailers for deals beginning with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, then on to Small Business Saturday this weekend followed up by Cyber Monday. There should be no shortage of deals right here in our area so shop local and shop small!

Also, Leeds Lions Club will host their annual Turkey Shoot on Thanksgiving morning at Leeds Civic Center beginning at 7 a.m. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. You bring the shotgun and they will provide shells and hot coffee.

Other news this week includes Moody Fire Department taking delivery of New LIFEPAK 15 heart monitors to equip each front line unit. These new monitors are outfitted with some of the most innovative technology on the market. Also, a LUCAS device has been added to their primary unit. This is a mechanical chest compression device that delivers high-quality, guideline-consistent, continuous chest compressions to sudden cardiac arrest patients. Having this device added to their fleet will allow for more effective CPR while freeing up crew members to perform other life-saving interventions for the patient.

Moody Police Department is in the process of adding Flock Safety cameras in strategic places throughout Moody that capture photos of each vehicle and license plate entering and exiting the city. Representatives from Flock Safety spoke at the Moody Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon this month and explained how the cameras work. Moody installed the first camera several months ago. Chief Hunt spoke very highly of the technology, how the first camera had already been instrumental in solving crimes and the plans to add the additional cameras. Camera images will be available to the police department for 30 days and then automatically deleted. Images are accessed only when they are looking for a crime suspect and images can be accessed from other police departments when a suspect crosses a city line.

The Barry Graham Exhibit opening reception will be hosted by the Leeds Arts Council on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. To learn more about the artist, visit https://www.coroflot.com/Grahambarry/profile.

Moody Lions Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 at White's Chapel.

The Leeds City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 at Leeds Civic Center Meeting Room.

Moody Kiwanis Club is scheduled to meet at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Moody City Hall.

Auditions are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 2-3 at Leeds Theatre and Arts Center for “The Women”, a 1936 American play which is a comedy of manners by Clare Boothe Luce. The cast is made up of over 30 women of all ages, from late teens on plus one role for a girl 10-12 years old. Show up, be prepared to read from the script and bring a headshot or snapshot of yourself. For more information, contact Director Suellen Wilkins, at 205-655-2712.

The Friends of the Leeds Library will host their annual Scholastic Book Fair in the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library's meeting room from Wednesday, Dec. 4 through Monday, Dec. 9. All proceeds will benefit library programming and new books for children of all ages.

The Leeds Arts Council will host a Christmas Variety Show on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Come on out and get into the holiday spirit!

Remember the City of Moody’s annual Toys for Kids fundraising luncheon at 11:30 a.m. next Friday, Dec. 6 at Moody Civic Center. This event will include a delicious lunch, wonderful entertainment, live auction and many fantastic door prizes donated by local businesses. Toys for Kids does make a difference and we hope that you will be part of that difference. For more information, contact Melissa Fraser at 205-640-0307 or mfraser@moodyalabama.gov.

Thought for the Week: “Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.” ~Catherine Pulsifer

I thoroughly enjoy sharing information, news and calendar items with you each week and I thank you for reading my column. Happy Thanksgiving and please remember to send any news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com and have a great week!

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