Rachel Lutzker is shown on the cover of our Connecticut Holiday Wishes second edition. Today she shares her very personal Holiday story.

I'd like to consider myself fairly fortunate around the holidays, in the sense that my parents involved me in Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations. While I was raised Jewish and celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah with excitement every year, I was also lucky enough to share with family friends the joys of Christmas.

To this day I remember lighting the Hanukkah candles then waiting in anticipation with my brother in the living room for my parents to emerge from their "secret hiding spot" where they kept our Hanukkah gifts - then tearing the wrapping paper open in a hurry to see just what my gift was. Cabbage Patch dolls, a "speak and spell" game and my yearly Hess Truck were among the memorable gifts.

While these are memories I have with my parents and brother, I also had the pleasure of sharing Christmas with family friends year after year as we awaited the arrival of Santa. As a child there are photographs of me on Santa's lap at the mall until I was about five years old when I told Santa I was Jewish. That's when my Mom stopped taking me to the mall to see the jolly man in red...

No matter what holiday you celebrate during the season, this is the time to look around and find something spiritual and wonderful about yourself, your life and the people that make the holidays so special. While the gifts and presents are great, what can be more meaningful is giving thanks and finding the understanding that even though times may be tough and the daily stresses of life may get in the way, you are alive and well and have loved ones around you. Happy Holidays!

Celebrate the holidays with Rachel Lutzker, Joe Furey and Jeff Valin on FOX 61's Holiday Wishes show Dec. 4, 11 and 18 from 8:30 to 9 a.m.