Holidays are a time when families come together. You see the uncle you try to avoid the rest of the year. You entertain your aunt and explain all of the friends you post pictures with on Facebook. It becomes pretty redundant, and there are a lot of memes and viral tweets about hating the holidays that us young people like to share. While I don't feel this way about any of my family members, I can relate to the anxiety of seeing people once a year. You have that day or two to make an impression about whether or not you have your life together, when you're graduating college or if you have a significant other. And it's stressful.

But I didn’t realize how much I missed those few days with my family until I didn’t have them anymore. I didn’t go to the place I consider home this year for Christmas. Instead, my grandparents came to my parents' house and we spent time together there. While it was nice to not deal with traveling during the holidays, I couldn’t help but notice that certain things were missing. The people, atmosphere and food, of course, didn't feel the same as they had in the past with all of us gathered around a giant table. Then I remembered all of the others holidays that I quit celebrating years ago when I moved away but, for some reason, didn't really phase me.

I find it very disheartening how much I took for granted as a young person. The times I had with different parts of my family at certain parts of my life are some I don’t even remember, but I do have photographs. And those pictures are some of my favorites. Although times and family dynamics change, there’s still a place in my heart that misses the goofy antics and bickering at the dinner table. I’m sure you can also think of certain holidays and traditions that come along with them that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

As cliche as it sounds, you never know when the last time you see someone will be. Even though the holidays shouldn't be the only time we take this into consideration, often times these are the days that tend to bring back memories or feelings that we don't think of on a daily basis.

So this year, as I watched another family tradition change, I decided to be thankful that I have a family to miss. I'm thankful to have spent the time I did with the ones I could. In the past few years, I've been learning more and more to count my blessings and not take people for granted, but not going home for the holidays really amplified that feeling.