LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Solaye Rawls, 7-years-old, lights up, hopping on her brand new bike.
"I feel excited," she said.
She's celebrating Christmas at the Hope Center, with other families.
Solaye knows Christmas is not just about opening presents.
"It's all about cookies."
Well not all about cookies.
"It's a special weekend on Jesus birthday. He made all the Earth in seven days," said Solaye.
Robert Proctor Jr., a youth pastor at the Church by Christ Jesus says Solaye has the right idea. "Christmas trees, Santa Clause, that's good but we really want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and that's Jesus birth," said Proctor.
He says it's why giving is so important during the holiday season.
"We want to be Christ like. He was always a giver. So we want to be the same way giving back," said Proctor.
Councilman Robert Shankle believes Jesus is still very much the reason for the season. He says hard times drive people to God.
"Getting back to our roots, thanking God for what he has done. I think that the purpose of the way the economy is going is to bring us back to God," said Shankle.
He says it reminds people to count their blessings.
"It's not all about presents and how much a present costs. You know, just to be alive and well, is a gift from God," said Shankle.
A gift some East Texans say is far better than anything they'll find under the Christmas tree.
"We all get together and remember the birth of baby Jesus. He gave his life for us," said Armando Palomino.