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Small Gifts
   I was out and about one day when I ran into a young man who greeted me and called
me by name.  I confess that I didn't have the first hint as to who he was, so I just smiled
and waited for him to start the conversation, hoping his identity would come to me before
he realized my cluelessness.  Sure enough, eventually, he said something that brought it
home.
   He was one of the sons of neighbors who live behind us and whose property adjoins
ours.  I hadn't seen him since he left home shortly after high school, so he'd gone from
school boy to grown man in the several years since we'd last met.
   As we were saying our goodbyes, he suddenly said, "Do you know what I'll always
remember about you?"  I couldn't imagine a thing that might have made an impression on
him, in fact, we'd had very little interaction during his childhood, so all I could do was
hope that, whatever it was, it was good.
   He said that each year, when he and his brother were in elementary school, their
classes were tasked to sell items from a catalog to benefit the Parent-Teacher
Association.  The items were meant for people to use as Christmas presents, so
Thanksgiving break found them going around the neighborhood knocking on doors.
   Many people said they were too busy to look through the catalog and a few glanced
quickly and chose an item at random, hurrying through the process.  "But you," he said,
"were our favorite stop, because you always acted so genuinely pleased to see us.  
You'd say, 'Let's see what you have this year,' and we'd all go sit in your gazebo while
you went through the catalog.  You made it seem like those were the neatest things you'd
ever seen."  He smiled, "I'll never forget that."
   I was doing some Christmas shopping online a few days later and thought about that
conversation.  No matter which shops I visit or what I buy, no one will ever appreciate my
patronage as much as those two little boys of long ago.  And, until I ran into one of them
recently, I hadn't known how much it had meant to them.
   That's the thing, isn't it?  We never know what we might do that will mean quite a lot to
someone.  Even something that seems small and insignificant to us might give someone
else a memory joyful enough to last a lifetime.
   And the happy thing is, we don't have to wait until Christmas to share small gifts from
the heart.
   Any day will do.  -- Nancy
Christmas is not so much about opening our presents
as opening our hearts.  
-- Janice Maeditere
Christmas is love in action.  Every time we love,
every time we give, it's Christmas.  
-- Dale Evans
If you make a kind gesture or return a friendly smile, no matter
the season, you're celebrating Christmas.  
-- Susan Wright
When Christmas waves its wand over this world,  everything is
softer and more beautiful, and every heart more caring.
-- Norman Vincent Peale
An act of kindness may eventually touch people we will never know.
Some small thing that we offer may move through a web of connection
far beyond ourselves to have effects that we could never imagine.
Each of us may leave behind far more than we ever know.
-- Rachel Remen
Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone;
But there's half a hundred ripples circling, on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, no way of telling
Where the end will be when they are done.

Drop a word of kindness to your neighbor, just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half a hundred ripples circling, on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave,
Till you wouldn't believe the volume of that one kind word you gave.
-- Rebecca Ryl
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