December 22, 2003

Side note: "Merry" was pictured at "Trilogy Tuesday" by CNN.com. (Pictured with her mother in the 6th image.)

As we enter the final stretch into Christmas, I'm thankful for everything that I have, from friends to loved ones, all the way down the list to material posessions. A recent marriage crisis with one of my friends has shown me that the only gifts that need to be exchanged between people are love, friendship and compassion. With them, you'll have a great Christmas, no matter what you get under the tree. Without them, the season becomes empty and cold, regardless of what you can put a bow on. Especially so in this friend's case, where he is still freely giving these gifts, and the recipient does not give them in return.

I offer these words of advice for the season:

Spend the holidays with those you love. Call the ones that you love, that can't be with you.

Try out new holiday traditions every year until you find one that clicks with your family. Then make that a recurring tradition.

Finally, if you're the first one awake on Christmas morning, take five minutes to think of all the intangible gifts, such as love and support, that you have already received from those around you.

Merry Christmas everybody.

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