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Growing up, there were certain things you looked forward to right after Thanksgiving. The radio started playing Christmas songs, lights quickly went up around town, and the hustle and bustle of life started to run at a quicker pace because everyone knew the season was here and the holiday was coming, and fast! But while we all love the holiday season, there are a few things that really help make Christmastime the most wonderful. 

1. The Lights

There’s something about driving around on streets lined with lighted trees that transports most to a happy and carefree place! There’s something about the twinkling lights backed by the darkness that makes you feel like you are in a magical wonderland. And if there’s snow, the lights take on an even more magical effect. So, please light up all the things! All lamps, fences, homes, anything and everything!  And don’t feel rushed to take them down either.

2. Giving Back

The holidays are the perfect time to give. People tend to channel their inner Saint Nick and give more generously around this time of the year. Sock donations are always welcomed and a great way to give to local shelters. There are plenty of kids who might not have a very magical holiday without donations, so look for local children’s centers and groups where you can adopt a child for the holidays by fulfilling their wish list anonymously. Giving doesn’t have to be done in monstrous ways, you can just grab an item off the donation tree at work, buy a preloaded bag of groceries at the store or even buy the coffee for the person behind you in line at your favorite coffee shop!  Often times, it’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference. Not only do you feel good doing it, you know you are making someone else’s day too. 

3. Friends & Family 

One of the best parts of the holidays, for most, is seeing our friends and family at times when we aren’t rushed to get from here to there. Taking time out during the holidays to unplug and reconnect makes for the most enjoyable gatherings!  While this can be a stressful time of the year, it doesn’t have to be. Put that phone down and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones, unless you are snapping photos of course!  Anytime a large (or small) group gets together, it’s a good time. It’s always fun to see that cousin who’s in from California or your great grandmother surrounded by all her grand and great-grandchildren. Holiday get-togethers tend to make for some of the best memories! 

4. Christmas Parties

Speaking of get-togethers with friends and family, everyone is throwing a party during this time of the year and there’s definitely something for all! It’s amazing the different types of parties you can have these days – gift exchanges, crafting, cookie decorating or end of year work parties are sure to fill out your holiday calendar. And honestly, who doesn’t get a good laugh when the ugly Christmas sweaters come out to play! Just make sure to drink responsibly and have fun. 

5. Delicious Food

Holiday food is all about comfort and we can all use a little bit of comfort food now and again. It is funny how you might look forward to your grandmother’s pecan pie or your mom’s green bean casserole, but there’s also something about the sweets that come along with the holidays that really call you to the table. Pumpkin Pies, Christmas Cakes and all the cookies you can imagine tend to fill dessert tables to the edges and also make you wish you wore your best yoga pants to dinner.  

6. Pretty Presents

Gift wrapping has become an art form. Beautifully wrapped packages are extra enticing sitting under the tree. Sometimes the best are brown paper packages tied up with string, but other times the winners are ones with sprigs of fresh greenery and beautiful handmade bows. While you can outsource gift wrapping to the kids running fundraisers at the mall or the shop you purchased at, it is fun to get creative with your wrapping. You can also create your own wrapping paper from drawings and pictures which is great if you want to go for a more personalized look. Either way, if you do it yourself or ask someone for help, pretty packages are something to look forward to each holiday season! 

7. Holiday Movies

Some of the most loved movies out there are those that revolve around a holiday. Who goes through Thanksgiving without watching “A Christmas Story” or the entire month of December without watching “Elf”? And let’s be honest “Home Alone” is a kid’s favorite year-round. Holiday movies can really get you in the spirit! You might be missing out if you haven’t watched “The Family Stone,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or “While You Were Sleeping.” Make a list this year and see how many you can check off!  

8. Family Traditions

Traditions are an awesome way to make memories year after year. It could be volunteering together with friends and family, making ornaments with your kids or decorating gingerbread houses with friends. Whatever you decide to do, make it a tradition. You may already have some like wearing matching pajamas or going ice skating outdoors but there’s definitely nothing wrong with making sure you do something every year around the same time! It takes that normal everyday outing and turns it into something special everyone looks forward to. 

So there you have it. Some of the best reasons that Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. And while it can be the most magical and fun-filled time of the year for most, please know that it can be extra hard for others. So, this holiday season, make it a goal to remember everyone has a story you might not see, to spread love and kindness and remember the reason for the season.

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