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Now that we have said our thanks, its time to get ready for the gift giving to begin! My favorite part about Christmas has always been spending the day laughing and celebrating with my family. Growing up the youngest with a pretty decent size extended family, Christmas was always a big deal. We put any family drama aside and all gather together and laugh and enjoy that we are all still together.

As the years come and go, the number of seats at the dinner tables morphs back and fourth. Loved ones pass on, marry, have kids and move away; we need to learn to adjust to the changes and accept them, which isn’t always easy.

Last year was the first Christmas without my Grampa, and when the card came from Florida without his name and then the phone call without his voice was such an awful reminder that he was truly gone. So this year, when I heard the news that my cousin and his family are going to be flying in for Christmas I got super excited! I love spending time with my family, and it seems the older we all get the longer we go without getting to see one another. We grew up spending every holiday together building tree houses, playing football in the back yard, spending summer vacations exploring and hiking through the woods.

Now that we are older we sit around and talk, laugh, make fun of each other and reminisce, play with the children, enjoy each others company and put aside any issues that may be stirring in the family pot. We focus on the positive and stray from all the negativity – at least for one day.