Have you ever noticed that as you and your family grow older, there are fewer gifts under the Christmas tree? When our kids were small the living room was filled with presents of every size as each child was offered a variety of toys, games and goodies to enjoy.

Today with our oldest on military duty far away and the others "busy" with work and friends, there aren't as many boxes to open as there used to be. I think of my mother, being alone in Montreal, whose only Christmas fare are the several modest gifts we send her way to brighten up that holiday morning she celebrates in snowy isolation far removed from her grandchildren and only son.

I don't mean for this final article of the year to seem melancholy, and it is saved from being so by those invisible gifts that have always been there at this time of year, but have only recently come into my view.

Your see, with the lessening of boxes & bows I have come to understand how precious our children's growing up years were. Shrieks of delight and childhood dreams of anticipation still echo in my memory of Christmases past. I've realized that good friends and cheerful times of fellowship are more precious than any gift could ever be.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the happy moments as they sweetly pass by. Take the time to give and receive, but most of all, cherish those invisible gifts that remain to warm your hearts in Christmas days to come.

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