Mid-December approaches, and it’s that time of year when we hear a lot about “that time of year.” But what does that mean, here, in our little slice of paradise by the sea? In South Coastal Delaware, it’s surely a time for tree-lightings and shopping and visits with Santa, as is the case in so many other places. But what makes this season, here, unique as the first snowflake of the season?

The people, and the effort they make at making things easier, nicer and generally merrier for those around them.

In recent weeks, we’ve had those tree-lighting events, many of them planned and carried out by volunteers. We’ve had Santa visiting Bethany Beach for Holiday Happenings and Frankford Town Park for Christmas in the Park, and even riding around atop a Millville Volunteer Fire Company firetruck so he can visit even more kids in the area.

Add to that the tremendous spirit of “Shop Local” demonstrated with Weekend Wonderland in Bethany and in general since Thanksgiving — which also brings to mind the volunteers with Blessings for Badges, who delivered Thanksgiving meals to first-responders who were working that day. And that’s before we get to Thanksgiving for Thousands and its additional incarnations.

And what would the holidays be without toys? The Toys for Tots efforts locally do the Marine Corps League proud, especially when people get creative, like the folks at Right Coast Tattoo, who are offering free small tattoos and gift certificates in exchange for donated toys.

Each year, we see this area turn out in droves to celebrate the “season of giving” — with actual, literal, giving. And not just to friends and family, but to our community at large. And when it’s the time of year we can especially celebrate that giving spirit, that’s the time of year that makes snowflakes melt just from the sheer warmth of this community’s heart.