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My grandmother was born in 1906 to John and Mary Quinn. She lived in Vermont with her parents, four sisters and a brother.

From the age of 8, she lived and worked at a local farm, rising at 3 a.m. to help prepare the meat and potatoes, biscuits and apple pie for the farmer’s breakfast.

When breakfast was over and dishes were done, she ran down the hill to the one-room schoolhouse. On Saturday, she would go home to see her family, and hand her mother the $2 she received for her week’s work.

Needless to say, her family had little money. Food was scarce. As a Christmas gift, she recalled receiving an orange. Another year, she got a chocolate. One.

A century later, what anyone receives at Christmas or during Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other holiday period, covers a wide spectrum from the outrageous to the wretched next-to-nothing.

Most any family would like to give its children presents to bring smiles and laughter to their shining faces. But along with these material possessions should come a more important gift — that of understanding what is truly important in life.

I’ve often thought that if I ever hit the lottery (highly unlikely since I don’t play it), I’d like to visit children’s hospitals and slip cash to parents who are struggling to deal with the necessary and high costs associated with a sick child, while at the same time care for and worry about their beloved child. How wonderful it would be to take at least that one worry from a parent’s mind.

For families with loved ones serving in the military and deployed overseas, what’s important in life is only too well understood. They know it’s not expensive gifts but the presence of the ones they love.

And so it goes.

In this holiday season, the love and good health of those we care about should be uppermost as we honor our beliefs, whatever they are.

In searching for an inspiring quote to use, the following seemed to fit well. I think you’ll recognize it.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?…” — Dr. Seuss

We wish you all the happiest of holidays.

— Kate