As everyone sits around their Christmas tree, menorah, kinara or any other holiday symbol with their family this year, keep in mind what’s important – family.

I’ve been asked over and over and over what would I like for Christmas. But each time, I cannot think of anything that I want or need – except maybe a new phone charger.

I break or lose those too often, and the front end of my car could use repair, but I’m not going to ask anyone to tackle that when I haven’t even mustered up enough money to do so.

The truth is, I have everything that I could need.

I have a family made up of my beautiful little girl, who’s nearing 2 years old, and each time I see her smile or hear her laugh, I’m reminded how lucky I am.

I am still lucky enough to have both my parents and both my siblings who are always there for me, even during the difficult points in my life, and I’ve tried to do the same for them.

I have a handful of friends who still try to include my daughter and myself, and who are also there for me when it really counts.

I have a job, which as you already know includes a promotion next year, and a steady income to help take care of my family and I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back and more clothes at home than I really need, and food on my table.

I’m more blessed than some.

Over the years, I’ve been blessed with clothes and cameras and other tools and items needed for my job as well as other items that I am so grateful for, but there really isn’t an item this year I can really think of that I want.

When friends and family ask, I’ve said just get something for my daughter, and really, she already has all the toys and clothes she needs.

And like most children, she’d rather play with anything but her toys except for the occasional quick play with her blocks, baby doll or Mickey Mouse.

Give her a bag of any kind, and she’s just as content.

I guess all children are like that even though that didn’t stop us for asking for the popular toys of our time.

I still remember the doll my papa and nanny gave me that ate food and drank milk as if it were real, even though it was nothing like the like-real dolls today.

I remember the Deluxe Talkgirl that made me feel like Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone and the year my sister and I received four-wheelers.

We emptied our stockings and said, “What are these keys for?” My dad said, “Look outside,” and away we ran.

I still enjoy gift giving and receiving, but I much rather just sit back and enjoy the looks on the faces of my daughter, my nephew and all my little cousins.

It’s about the time spent with family, the moments that we share, and the good food doesn’t hurt.

Hope you all have a lovely holiday.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at