I walked in and the place had been transformed. Dozens of fir trees, the smell of hay, sheep, goats, geese, rabbits and even a pot belly pig. The path led along store fronts: a hardware store, bookstore, toy store, grocery store, etc. A strolling Mandolin player was singing carols. Smiles, laughter and light conversation abounded. No grabbing of merchandise, just simple tags with requests from people in need around the world – a refrigerator for an orphanage in China, building supplies in Haiti, buy a goat (or two) for African families. $20 would provide a birthday party for a child who never had one. Yes, there was the requisite manger seen as well. My children looked darling as they played Mary and Joseph for a short time, but the major impact was they gave their allowance for someone around the world. It was a wonderful way to usher in the advent season. Giving to those in dire need before thinking of self.