By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Dec 13, 2011 at 9:35 AM

There are lots of issues around holiday time but one of the biggest is developing your strategy for the Salvation Army kettles.

God bless 'em, those kettles are everywhere. And the Salvation Army does a fantastic job fulfilling its mission.

But those kettles can prove to be a real problem. I mean I've got a lot of Jewish blood in me and guilt comes pretty easy to my shoulders. Those kettles are guilt served on a silver platter.

There are a few different alternatives and you've got to have a strategy unless you plan to enter zero stores between now and New Year's.

One, you can drop whatever change you just got from your purchase in the kettle. That will earn you a "Merry Christmas" from the bell ringer.

Two, you can put a few bucks into one of the kettles and then you can tell every other bell ringer "I already contributed." My guess is that the bell ringers only believe about 20 percent of those claims. And who can blame them?

Third, you can write a check and send it to the Salvation Army. Then you can tell the ringers "I contributed with a check."

Fourth, you can brush by them and mumble something that sounds "Humbug" and keep on walking. No happy wishes and you better watch out for a wild reindeer attack.

My strategy is number one. Who needs change anyhow.

I wonder how other people handle this one.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.