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We asked area residents: If anything were possible, what would you want to give or receive?
Amanda Reed

In nearly every house, under every tree there are sure to be a few beautifully wrapped gifts.

The gifts were chosen with care. Each one selected from a store or made by hand to show how much the recipient is loved.

But what if the gifts weren’t limited to what the stores carry? What if the gifts didn’t have to be physical at all? What if anything were possible?

The Times asked area residents what they would give or get if Christmas gifts had no bounds.

David Bennett and his two children, Kaylie Bennett, 11, and Cooper Bennett, 8, shopped around the downtown square in Gainesville on Friday afternoon.

If money were no object Cooper Bennett said he’d like to get his mom a brand new car.

David Bennett laughed and told his son he should have asked for a new house.

David Bennett said he would like "no more house payments" for Christmas. Cooper Bennett opted for a bunch of video games, while Kaylie Bennett said she’d like some shoes.

And while many children are dreaming of gadgets and games, some also are thinking of others.

Ryan Li, 10, and Jesse Li, 12, agree that they would like to get iPads for Christmas. But the boys would want to give much better gifts than that.

Jesse Li said he would give someone a "better life."

Ryan Li would want to get his mom a coupon book and "help her around the house."

Their mother must surely be proud.

Meanwhile, some adults are dreaming of a white Christmas — but instead of snow, how about gleaming sandy beaches?

Molly Ross and Michelle Heathfield pushed baby strollers down the sidewalk, past gift shops and clothing boutiques.

In a world without limits, Ross said she could use a vacation to someplace tropical like the Bahamas.

Her friend wanted a different type of stress relief.

Heathfield took a few moments to think about what she would give and decided she would give the most important gift of all, the gift of health.

For some people, the Christmas holiday isn’t about the presents so much as it’s about being with loved ones and meeting the most basic needs.

Amanda Reed said her Christmas wish would be to have everyone in her family together at the same time.

And she would give a gift to help another family.

"I’d want to give a needy family everything they’d need in order to survive for the year," Reed said.

On Christmas Eve, as Connie Albigese thought about her wishes, a big smile swept over her face.

She said that though her Christmas wish might seem cliché to some people, it’s exactly what she’d want.

"All the hugs and kisses from my four grandchildren," Albigese said laughing.

"They’re all under 6 years old. I want all of their hugs and kisses for the whole year."

She would also give them all college educations.

Noe Flores walked into the Chevron gas station on E.E. Butler on a rainy Christmas Eve.

He tucked his umbrella under his arm and his lottery tickets into his wallet.

If anything were possible he said, he wouldn’t give any presents at all.

When Flores was growing up, he looked for Santa in all the store windows.

On Christmas mornings he watched as all the other children opened their presents.

He said he didn’t understand why he never got a present until one day when an adult told him that Christmas was how the stores make money.

So he said he wouldn’t give a gift.

"The best gift is inside," Flores said tapping his heart with his open hand.

But if he could have any Christmas gift, he’d ask for something the whole world would benefit from.

"Peace in the world. No more wars. Just peace," Flores said.

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