The fire that tore through an apartment building in Manchester, New Hampshire, just days before Christmas, left some 30 families without a home including Margarita Vela, her husband and her 6-year-old daughter, Jazmin.
"Everything was gone," Vela said.
The Velas were devastated. Although thankful for a temporary hotel room, they are searching for answers.
"I ask God every day, 'tell me what are you trying to tell us, it’s Christmas, it’s time to give, in one night everything got taken away,'" Vela said in the hotel lobby Thursday afternoon.
Soon though, despite the loss, Vela understood the true meaning of the holiday.
"Christmas is about being with family, being able to enjoy one another, and that’s what we did this Christmas," Vela said.
So Christmas included mass where they gave thanks for their lives, and a day with family at the home of Margarita Vela’s mother. Santa made an appearance thanks to gifts from the Vela’s co-workers, friends, church members and strangers. And little Jazmin had a new bike and a new Hello Kitty outfit - just some of the gifts under the tree.
"She received so many presents, making her Christmas as happy as it was meant to be," said Vela.