Emery Law Office December 2018

DEC 2018

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I ’m just going to be honest and tell you from the start that I’m not the world’s biggest Christmas fanatic. You won’t catch me listening to Christmas music non- stop or lining up to see “Home Alone” or “A Christmas Story” for the umpteenth time. Maybe it’s because of the insane amount of Christmas-themed commercials and promotions, but I’m usually tired of all the red and green by the time Dec. 25 rolls around. That being said, I don’t want to come off as a total Grinch. There have been many moments throughout my life when something or someone has cut through the noise and hit at the true spirit of the holidays. When those moments happen, I forget all my reservations and remember that Christmas really can be the most wonderful time of the year. The first person to inspire such a feeling in me was my sister. At the time, which had to be about 10 years ago at this point, I was a recently divorced single parent. These were lean years and not always easy ones. We always spend the holidays back in St. Louis with my folks, and one of the city’s big attractions I’d never visited was the City Museum. So when my sister bought tickets for each of my kids and me to go visit the museum, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. But it was what happened when we were there that really blew me away. The City Museum is basically a mix between a traditional museum, an exploratorium, and an obstacle course. At one point, we were tunneling through a hole in the floor. All of the kids managed to make it through just fine, but I wasn’t so lucky. As I was crouched down, struggling to figure out how the heck I was going to get out of there, my kids were eating up every second of it. Then, in a moment that’s etched into my mind to this day, my son looked down at me and said, “Mommy, we’re never going to forget this, are we?” Sure enough, he was right. That moment, provided by the kindness of my sister, showed me what a meaningful gift could do. A few years later, I had the chance to give such a gift — this time to a total stranger. Our church had an Angel Tree, which is a charity that provides gifts to needy families. They mentioned that one family in the program had a son who HOLIDAY CHEER LIVES YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK FOR IT

was technically too old to qualify for a gift. This young man was into art, which was a passion of my daughter’s as well. Somebody asked if I’d be willing to pick up a gift for him. Doing so started a tradition of sponsoring a family during the holidays that hasn’t stopped since. Every year, we work with local schools to support families who need a little help to enjoy the holidays. Last year, I even took a member of our Client Advisory Panel with me to shop for our chosen family. As you can probably guess, shopping for gifts is not normally a joy for me, but in this case, it was nothing short of incredible. We had so much fun and knew we were doing something that would brighten Christmas morning for kids in need of a pick-me-up. We may never know the kids receiving the gifts or see the looks on their faces on the big day, but knowing they have a present to open is more than enough for me. I hope you and your family have a way to escape all the commercialism surrounding the holiday season and enjoy the time on your own terms. For me, doing so has entirely changed my opinion of Christmas — just don’t expect me to don a pair of reindeer antlers anytime soon. -Melissa Emery

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