The word FAMILY is a single word with many different meanings. Families often look different and have different family traditions. Some see each other more and others are located geographically distant. However, FAMILY is truly what you make it. 


Recently, I attended a birthday party for a friend. This friend is special, not only to those some define as his traditional family, but to his community. At this birthday celebration hosted in a small community that I adore, I was reminded of the true meaning of FAMILY. I observed a community come together. Each guest who walked into the room knew the others’ names, they inquired about each other’s business, family, health and even the favorite family pet. The gathering filled with laughter, reminiscing of times past and the little details that make up our life. This birthday party was truly a FAMILY gathering, made up of a community.  


FAMILY is the people who raised you, the people you grew up with and shared childhood memories. FAMILY is also the people who support you, fill your schedule with shared interests and activities, and are there with you through the good times and the challenging. My point is that FAMILY can be your close and distant relatives, your coworkers, your pets, your groups of friends, your church family and more. FAMILY can even be your community. 


Our communities are my FAMILY. I love watching them grow, watching individuals take the leap of faith into becoming small business owners, watching individuals be recognized for their service, watching new love and love that has stood the test of time. I love featuring the celebrations, honoring the tributes and sharing in the memories. I love our communities. I love how our communities have become filled with individuals I know, look forward to seeing and feel honored to be a part of. They have become my FAMILY.


In this holiday edition, you will find over 130 holiday events to enjoy with your FAMILY. You will find inspirations for gifts for your FAMILY, and we have featured men and women in our community who have been recognized as the best waiters and waitresses and have become part of our FAMILY with their service. 


FAMILY is important and this time of year we are reminded even more of that sentiment. I hope this holiday season you are surrounded by your FAMILY, whether traditional or otherwise!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


P.S. Remember, the best way to support your community this holiday season is to shop local! When shopping local, you are supporting a dream and are connected with the business owner’s passion. You will find over 50 locally owned retailers throughout these pages who will often personally greet you, offer you the best customer service and truly appreciate your purchase. After all, shopping local helps support our FAMILY! 



Show Me the Ozarks Magazine
P.O. Box 3325
Joplin, Missouri 64803



Lee Radcliff

Editor/ Publisher