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 What a wonderful time of year it is. Holiday season makes us think of many of the things that have become synonymous with Christmas and Hanukkah: holiday music, gift-giving, an exchange of greeting cards (emails today), church and synagogue celebrations, special meals, holiday cookies, egg nog, singing carols, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, menorahs, wreaths, colored lights, garlands, mistletoe, holly and nativity scenes. It is the time of year that many of us still enjoy watching Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.It is a time of year to spend time with family and loved ones and a time to count all of our blessings. It is a time of year to remember those who are less fortunate than we are. There are many, particularly today, who need assistance and it is a time of increased charitable giving. Anything that can be done to help, should be done, especially when it comes to helping disadvantaged children who may be particularly sad at this time of year. A helping hand or an act of kindness can go a long way. It is a time when people devote time and energy to causes which are most meaningful to them.Generally, at this time of year, people are in better spirits and “goodwill towards man” is commonly exhibited. On busy streets and in crowded stores, people tend to be more courteous and kinder towards each other. The holidays tend to put us in a good mood and cause us to think about others and their feelings more than we might at other times of the year. It is a time when we often put ourselves into the other person’s shoes to think about things from their perspective. When we do this, it encourages all of us to treat others with courtesy, dignity and respect.To illustrate, I would like to share a story with you:Years ago, a 10-year-old boy approached the counter of a soda shop and climbed onto a stool. “What does an ice cream sundae cost?” he asks the waitress.“Fifty cents,” she answers.The youngster reached deep into his pockets and pulled out an assortment of change, counting it carefully as the waitress grew impatient. She had “bigger” customers to wait on. “Well, how much would just plain ice cream be?” the boy asked.The waitress responded with noticeable irritation in her voice, “Thirty-five cents.”Again the boy slowly counted his money. “May I have some plain ice cream in a dish then, please?” He gave the waitress the correct amount and she brought him the ice cream. Later, the waitress returned to clear the boy’s dish and when she picked it up, she felt a lump in her throat. There on the counter the boy had left two nickels and five pennies. She realized that he had enough money for the sundae, but sacrificed it so that he could leave her a tip. The moral of this story, before passing judgment, first treat others with courtesy, dignity and respect.So at this wonderful time of year, I take a break from thinking about real estate and would like to wish each of you and your families a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season filled with love, hope and goodwill towards others.Mr. Knakal is the Chairman and Founding Partner of Massey Knakal Realty Services in New York City and has brokered the sale of over 1,000 properties during his career.

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