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Their Smiles Are Different

One of the best parts of Christmas for most of us (I hope) is the ear-to-ear grins and whoops of delight from our children and grandchildren when they open those packages from Santa Claus. Is there anything better?

Yes, there is, as hard to believe as you may find it. There’s a different kind of smile. With it often comes a more quiet expression of happiness and genuine surprise.

Santa sometimes misses children. Don’t pretend you don’t know why. Even old St. Nick needs help from you and me.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of Christmas shopping in earnest. With less than a month to go before the big day, moms, dads, grandmas and granddads want to be certain the children in our lives get what they’ve asked Santa to bring. In our households, they will.

It is not so in thousands of homes right here in the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio. Some parents and grandparents struggle to put food on the table. If their children are to have new clothes, they must come from the thrift stores or compassionate friends and neighbors.

There isn’t much — sometimes nothing at all — left with which to play Santa Claus.

Someone will take care of the needy children, you say? There are scores of organizations dedicated to helping them at Christmas, you add?

You know better than that. You and I are that “someone.”

I’ve always been grateful for the privilege of a career in journalism. It has given me priceless memories of experiences wonderful in many ways.

Ask me which ones I treasure most. That’s easy: On several occasions, I’ve been present when needy children received Christmas presents they didn’t expect.

Trust me on this: Their grins and cries of delight are different. To them, a little doll we might consider an afterthought or a toy car we buy as a stocking stuffer is a Christmas miracle.

Don’t believe me? If you choose, you can see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears. Just drop in the day a church or some other organization delivers toys to needy children.

Perhaps you don’t have the courage to do that. I understand. You might experience something that would addict you to digging a little deeper into your own pockets every Christmas. Knowing the delight you can provide a child is a dangerous thing, in a way.

Try it, though. Embrace the habit. As I’ve pointed out many times in the past, it’ll be the best present you’ve ever given yourself.

Think of it: On Christmas morning, you’ll know that because of you, the most beautiful smile imaginable is lighting up the face of a child.

What could be better?

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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