How have you received the gift of generosity?

Generosity and reflection are hallmarks of the holiday season, more so than at other times of the year. We want to hear your stories of generosity: How were you helped during a time of need?

Who was the good Samaritan who helped you through a rough patch in your life? (Think of your essay as a thank-you to him or her.) How can your story inspire others to do good?

Your story might be about something that happened during the holidays, but it doesn't need to be. It can be poignant, melancholy, happy, sad, funny or irreverent, but it must be unique and personal. We are not interested in hearing how you helped others, however, only about how you have been helped.

Your essay must be true and well written, preferably told in the first person, and it should be a maximum of 600 words. Prose and poetry will be considered. Previously published works will not be accepted.

We'll publish the best submissions in the Herald-Leader print edition and online throughout the holidays.

E-mail your submissions to with the subject line "Holiday essay."

To submit by mail, send entries to: Holiday Essay, Lexington Herald-Leader, c/o Features Department, 100 Midland Avenue, Lexington, Ky. 40508.

You must include your name, age, where you live and a daytime telephone number. This is not a contest, and no prizes will be awarded.

The deadline for receipt is Dec. 7, but early submission is encouraged.