My niece read this to us on Christmas morning before we all opened our presents. It was absolutely beautiful and I wanted to place it here verbatim.
Please enjoy. I couldn't be more proud of her:
The Holidays-- an essay by Alyssa Jones, ninth grade
"As the snow falls on the ground in December, you think about all the gifts that you want, that you have to buy for people. you also think about when your family gets to come down or up for Christmas, or if you get to go up or down to your family for the holidays. you think about if you will be able to get your car out of the snow tomorrow for work or school, but what we really think about is how lucky we are to have our family,how lucky we are to see and have snow, to have a warm house, money to buy and receive presents, if you just think about those things and don't get caught up in all the movement of the holidays and just let that stress fall off of you and get caught up in the moment of happiness, that's what Christmas and the holidays is really about. well, actually, no, it's about the birth of Jesus Christ as a baby, and the holy story of it, so see if you really think about what it's really about, many things come to mind. so just try to remember that through the holidays, and I'm not saying to not enjoy it, that's the point I'm making, be happy with how lucky you are and be happy about whatever happens, and make it happy for everyone. God has a plan for everyone so let it be. Happy Holidays. :)"