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Tis the season for giving and receiving.

Every year about this time I am all wrapped up in what gifts to buy and give family and friends for Christmas.

But I also have a special shopping list for children in the Yoakum Blue Santa program.

It is a great feeling to donate, but it is an even greater feeling to see the happiness in a child’s face when they are given a gift they were not expecting.

I’ve never been with the Yoakum emergency services people as they deliver gifts, but I can only imagine the happiness they bring to young children.

Several years ago when I was a member of the Rotary Club in Cuero, we adopted 10 families a year and bought and delivered gifts to them. It was so heart warming that several times us tough Rotarians had lumps in our throats after making deliveries.

One young mother still stands out after all these years later. We drove up to her small house on the edge of town, she came out to greet us, holding a small infant. When we told her who we were and why were we there she starting hugging her baby and said "look baby we will have Christmas after all."

On another stop, the family we were looking for had moved, but the children who were living in the apartment got excited when they saw presents. We weren’t sure what to do since the gifts weren’t suitable for them. So we went back to the car to regroup. Fortunately, the woman in charge of the project had thought ahead and had extra gifts. So we found some age appropriate books and a toy for each child. The children were so excited they followed us out to the car to thank us again.

Another year, the grandmother at one house was so grateful to us she gave us tight grandmother hugs and invited us to stay for dinner. We declined the invitation because we had more stops to make, but it made our day.

The area is fortunate to have so many groups who work each Christmas to make sure kids and families have Christmas gifts and food for their families.

We have Blue Santas, Brown Santas, Deputy Santas, Silver Star Santas, Toys for Tots, St. Nicholas project, and the list goes on.

When I get caught up in the frenzy of the season, it’s good to step back and remember the greatest gifts I give and receive are the ones from helping others.

Merry Christmas