To me, Christmas spending time with loved ones. Of course, that means family (DUH!) but it also means spending time with people I consider surrogate members of my family, like Allie. My best friend, John, who I have know all my life, is another person in that category. I feel sort of greedy saying this, but this time each year, people ask me “What do you want for Christmas?” My answer is money. And I do not mean to sound greedy, but I don’t know what material things I want for Christmas. The reason I ask for money is because when I see something I want, I can buy it and not have to wait. I think I am happy with what I have this time of year. I have two jobs, a great family, a loving and supportive girlfriend, and the best agency I could ever ask for! What else does a guy need? (Apart from money…) I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to have all these great things that are not cliché gifts, like video games or something. This is more important. Having said that, this will be my first ever Christmas without my grandfather, so I have a feeling this Christmas will be maybe a little bit more somber and bittersweet. But I feel so incredibly lucky to have a family that actually give a damn about each other. Some families are broken or dysfunctional. That isn’t to say my family isn’t crazy (they are!) but we can all be crazy together and still somehow manage to function. So to me, Christmas isn’t about gifts, though they are a nice touch. It’s not about drinking the day away. It’s not about stuffing your face with cookies that were meant for Santa. To me, Christmas is about spending time with those who are close to us and, in my opinion, handing down traditions. My grandparents used to do a caroling party every year for Christmas. My sister took over that tradition this year. Other traditions that are passed down, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, social status, whatever…is hope. Whether that hope is that a fat guy with a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer will leave gifts under your tree and eat your cookies and milk or the hope that you get what you want from Santa, it’s still a hope all the same. A tradition in my family, at least for my sisters and I, is anticipation. We would stay up or wake up SUPER early to wake our parents up so we could open presents. I can’t speak for my sisters, but I am still like that. I get so excited at Christmas that it is damn near impossible for me to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. I am just so happy knowing that my family can come together and be happy. So for Christmas, raise a toast and remember those who are with us in spirit. And yes, I know that Christmas, to some, symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ, but to me, it’s much more than that. Please note I am NOT saying thinking Jesus’ birth is unimportant, but that was 2000 years ago. I am merely saying unity and family and bonding are what Christmas means to me. So I want to hear what this most wonderful time of the year means to you. Per usual, write in and let me know. Happy holidays! And for those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!