Christmas is, by far, my favorite holiday. It’s the holiday that’s defined by cold weather and pine trees. It’s the holiday where you get to dress up in footy pajamas and not get judged for it. It’s the holiday where parties are centered around ugly sweaters and uncanny gift exchanges. It’s the holiday where people are surrounded by loved ones and cherish their time together.

At times, it can be one of the most emotional holidays. This time can be rough for some families because they have lost loved ones around this time last year, or it makes them remember how things used to be when those loved ones were still around. It’s a time when people reflect on their lives and remember the things they have or haven’t done. Since it’s so close to the New Year, it’s also a time when people realize they haven’t done any of their New Year’s resolutions and make plans for their future. Overall, it’s a time when people really reflect on their lives.

Christmas at my household has always been filled with laughter, hot cocoa, and my silly family. As I get older, traditions change or just become memories, but the thing that stays the same (or gets bigger in my case) is the family and friends that I’m surrounded by. This Christmas will be a step back into my childhood by pretending Santa is real for the sake of my nephews and niece and decorating the snowman shaped cookies in red and green. Taking a step backward is like reliving those traditions that I thought were long gone or making new ones because the others were too outdated. These traditions and memories are something I will cherish throughout my entire life. Also, it’s a wonderful thing when my siblings are all grown up and have their own little families but are still able to celebrate Christmas in a way we did when we were all kids.

Even though not everyone has the opportunity to be with family members during this time, they still have the opportunity to be with loved ones and make impacts on those around them. Making an impact could be sending a shoe-box filled with toys or necessities for kids to the Shoe-box Ministry, it can be something like going to the soup kitchen and helping those who are less fortunate, or it could simply be wishing someone a Merry Christmas. Christmas is a time for giving even if that means you’re just giving a smile to someone walking down the streets.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s typically a reasonable time to be with family. Family isn’t just someone who you’re related to, it can be anyone who has made an impact on you or vise-versa. It could be your immediate family, or your long-lost cousins, or the person that knows your Starbucks order by heart, or even those friends that you call family. Being around anyone that you love and care for is what the holidays are all about.