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The holiday season can be a tough time for some people, Pamela Loxley Drake writes.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeMy great grandniece and her 2-year-old daughter Della were here for a visit. My grandtwins and I met them at the airport.

"MeMe, Della can play with Spotty," Nolan said.

Spotty. The best stuffed toy ever, because he and Daddy picked him out. The stuffed toy never leaves him. This was quite a big deal. Emma, his twin, piped up, "I don't want Della to play with DogDog."

I assured her that it was just fine if she wanted to put DogDog up until Della left.

The kids played and the evening passed. Emma crawled up onto my lap: "MeMe, I asked Della if she wanted to play with DogDog, and she didn't."

Generosity. Generosity of the heart, generosity of gifts, generosity in the spirit of giving.

No one told the twins to share. No, wait. Their hearts asked them to share. In their innocence, I saw my selfishness. My selfishness of my time, my ease, my comfort.

What do I give? I was sitting at a pancake house waiting for a table. A couple of young ladies came in and sat next to me. We chatted about being hungry and about life in general.

As my son says, "Mom will go into someplace knowing no one and come out with friends." I just like people.

These sweet, young ladies were new to the area and struggling to settle in. It was a time when jobs were impossible to find. We were all in the same boat. I continued on to my table and they to theirs.

When the bill came, I found that they had paid it. My heart grew 10 times its size in that one moment. They gave up a little bit of themselves and helped me. We are blessings to one another. A gift in our actions. The interaction with everyone we meet is an opportunity. Giving of time, serving meals to the homeless or delivering Meals on Wheels, or buy a toy or candle for a family in need, a neighbor who has had loss.

We are creative creatures who can serve in many ways — if we just give up a bit of ourselves. This is a difficult time for many. People alone. Those feeling the loss of a dear one. People unemployed and those without a home. People who have no family close by. So much pain and sadness seems to happen this season.

We each have the ability to make the holidays easier and more comforting for someone out there. An extra plate at the table. A visit with an old friend. A plate of cookies to the fire house or police station. A long overdue phone call.

So easy. So very easy. Generosity is a wonderful word. The quality of being kind and generous. The heart speaking and the hands acting. May you be the bearers of heart gifts this Christmas and the receivers of great joy.

The 4-year-old duo had just scoped out the toys and were making a list and checking it twice. Of course, my grandchildren have no idea what poor means. They cannot fathom a child without a toy.

On our next outing to the toy store, I tried to explain a little bit about being poor.

"Honey, there are children who do not receive toys at Christmas," I explained.

As we were walking out of the store, Nolan looked up at me.

"MeMe, they can have mine."

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."


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