There is something magical about finding a sand dollar hidden in the shallows. It's a session of patience and then awe as you gently fan the sand away to reveal a beautiful white sand dollar. Sometimes you are not so lucky and it's broken or occasionally still alive and those must be left to mature.
Sand dollars are members of the sea urchin family but are very flat and when alive have tiny spines all over them. If you ever find one like that then put it back and let it live. They have a wonderful story attached to them. The 5 pointed stars radiating from the center is said to represent the Star of Bethlehem and the 5 openings (although sometimes there are more or less) to represent the wounds of Jesus on the cross. The underside can show an outline of a Pointsettia flower. If you break one open you can find 5 'doves of peace' inside which are actually the jaws of the sand dollar's mouth. It's no wonder that they make great Christmas and Easter decorations. Always fun to find something with a story behind it, makes it so much more interesting.