I loved Christmas growing up! It was my favorite time of year. Everything seemed better during the Christmas season. Everyone seemed happy and joyful. Going shopping was actually fun as all the stores were decorated and Christmas songs played overhead and back then, it seemed everyone said “Merry Christmas”.

Christmas morning was always great! In our house, the rules were nobody could enter the living room until Mom and Dad had their coffee and we all had something to eat. It was torture having to wait when you knew just around the corner were all the presents that Santa had left the night before. When my sister and I were young, Santa would just leave the presents out in the open but as we got older, the presents were always wrapped – I guess that’s why there are so many elves at the North Pole.

Anyway, after lunch we would head over to my Aunt Saralene and Uncle George’s house for dinner and to exchange gifts with each other. Some of the best times I have ever had were those Christmas afternoons. We would spend the whole day and most of the night eating, playing games, watching TV and just hanging out. And you never knew who might drop by to just say hello. As I made my way through the teen years this always remained the one thing I always looked forward to; that and the New Year’s Eve Party they always had but that’s a blog for a different time.

As Lisa and I started our own family we always wanted Christmas to be special for our Children and hopefully we provided that for them. Traditional we are not, I can only think of one thing that we have always done at Christmas and that is the stocking presentation (if your interested in what that is exactly, just let me know). What we have tried to do is make sure that wherever we are – we are together and usually with extended family.

Over the years with our kids, there have been Christmas’ that we were fortunate and would have a real bounty of gifts to buy and share with everyone and we also have had some occasions where only essentials were bought for gift giving. I always seem to struggle with those years because I want to buy lots of gifts for Lisa and the kids but alas, our bank account just doesn’t agree with that philosophy.

I really never associated Christmas with being a celebration of the birth of Christ until I was married and having children of my own. And that is something, hopefully, that our kids have understood all along. In the years we have money it is always easy to be in a joyful mood but being honest here, it is tough when you know Christmas presents will be scarce.

I am thankful that over the last couple of years, I have rediscovered what the Christmas season and Christmas Day specifically, should be about….at least to me anyway. Christmas is a time to be thankful for what we have, not just stuff but things like our families (extended families and church family) and friends with whom were able to make memories with. Thankful for life, the opportunity to live and experience life!! Think about that for a second…..everyday is an opportunity for you to do something you’ve never done before or do the things you love to do!!

Over the next four weeks my family and I will be together and it will be a time of celebration as we enjoy parties, shopping, various feasts here and there and hopefully, once again, make memories to last a lifetime.

Yes, those are the things I am thinking about this Christmas season along with the simple but amazing gift that God has given us – His Son! May of all of you have a joyous and peaceful Christmas this year!