UNITED STATES—Man I cannot believe it Christmas is literally less than 2 weeks away. It seems like as soon as Halloween comes, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and after that Christmas is upon us. I love the season of autumn; it’s that time of year where it’s all about family, memories and giving to the less fortunate. For so many people, they think Christmas is all about gifts, but it’s not. Yes, receiving a gift or a few gifts is always a great thing, but in my opinion, I love the idea of giving more than anything. To see the expression on someone’s face when they receive something that perhaps they didn’t expect just warms the heart.

However, as I get older I always find myself reflecting on those golden Christmas memories that just remind you how important the holiday truly is. I go back to my earliest years as a kid, when myself, my brother and sister would go to sleep at like 6 p.m. because we were so excited. What was the problem? We could never stay asleep no matter how hard we tried to stay asleep, the excitement was so feverish we would toss and turn all night. Well, that was until we snuck down stairs at like 4 or 5 in the morning and tried our best to be as quiet as possible while opening gifts. The fun thing about watching a kid open presents is no matter how quiet one attempted to be, the noise of ripping paper apart is going to wake someone up.

Those are the moments that I miss, but at the same time I get to relive as I age and watch my nieces and nephews indulge in the festive holidays. My mom would ALWAYS cook a massive breakfast for us, in addition to ensuring we always had a ham, greens, macaroni and cheese and some of the best rolls in town. I’m not a big ham person, but this is indeed the one time of year that I would indulge in eating ham, especially with a roll and slice of American cheese!

Other fun memories include that last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, even though I tell myself every single year that I’m not going to wait till the last minute to get my shopping done, there is always that one person I have trouble finding a gift for and I find myself dealing with the massive crowds, the long lines and my patience just running thin, however, as chaotic as it sounds I like it. It’s something about being in the company of others and that madness that always reminds me of Christmas. The lights, the singing, the trees, the decorations, the snow, the hot chocolate, the cookies, should I continue?

Christmas is all about being with family, and rather you have a small family or a large one or small one appreciate those who are in your life, rather that’s your work family, friends or your actual family. Make memories because gifts come and go, but the memories and traditions that you make continue for a lifetime.