‘Christmas’ to Saint Nick

To paraphrase singer Andy Williams, we are approaching “the most wonderful time of the year.”

To me, those words ring true.

It’s the time of year that I get to enjoy the decorations, warmth, love and yearly traditions.

For me, my traditions are pretty simple. One: I make sure I watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when it comes on TV. Two: making sure I see “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve — it’s a relatively recent tradition, believe it or not. Last year, I treated my family to a showing at our town’s movie theatre as an early Christmas gift. And three: my family’s extension of Christmas morning.

When we wake up, my parents, younger sister, dog and I will hangout on my parents’ bed and go through everyone’s stocking (yes, my dog has a stocking too). From there, we’ll head downstairs to the living room and open presents.

But, instead of finding what’s yours underneath the tree and opening it, my dad, who sits next to the tree in his bathrobe, hands out a present to someone and we watch them open it. Then on to the next one.

It’s something my father’s father did and something I’ll pass on too. It just makes Christmas morning last a couple of hours longer and you get to be with family that much longer.

There’s deeper reason to my love for Christmas though: it kind of saved my life.

Two summers ago, I was going through the toughest months of my life and the way I coped was to carry headphones in my pocket at work. I was doing landscaping for the summer – cutting grass mostly – and in case it ended up being a bad day, I could plug in my headphones and listen to Christmas music.

I didn’t play carols because I wanted to think of Christmas, but because Christmas has always been a happy time for me, so it helped a seriously depressed 18-year-old feel happy for a while.

So while I love the gifts, music, turkey, treats and TV specials, Christmas makes me happy – and happiness is all I really want.