Merry Christmas! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmastime brings families together, makes everyone a tad nicer for a few weeks, and holds some of the most cherished memories for many.

Growing up I looked forward to Christmas the entire year, but what kid doesn’t? My parents always went all out on decorating. We would have lights everywhere, stockings on every door knob, and little porcelain figures littered on every table in the house. On the outside, we resembled Clark Griswold’s house. I remember the year those big inflatable figures came out; my dad bought a dozen of them, and they were spread all over the front yard. Our house was a sight to see.

As a kid, nothing was harder than trying to sleep on Christmas Eve. When I was younger, my sister, Sabrina, and I shared a room. We had bunk beds and I slept on the bottom bunk. I remember laying awake staring at the bottom of her mattress and then one of us would say, “Are you awake?” the other would respond with a “yes” and we’d lay there and talk about what we hope Santa brings us.

Eventually all the talking would tire us out, and we’d fall asleep not even realizing it. When Christmas morning came I was always the first to wake up. I’d pull my sister out of her bed and run out to see that the tree was packed with gifts. Sabrina and I would look at them and would to spot the ones with our names on them without touching them. We’d go to my parents door and knock on it and tell them that Santa came and that we were ready to open our presents.

Every single year though, they would tell us to wait a few more hours (we’d wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., which was too early considering my parents always waited until the last minute to wrap gifts. They would be wake until 4 a.m. getting them under the tree, but we didn’t know that). It never failed, we’d always end up laying at their door like a couple of begging puppies. A few times I even recall falling asleep at their door and then them opening the door and almost tripping over us.

When we finally got to open our gifts, the wrapping paper didn’t stand a chance against Sabrina and I. We shredded it.

Now days though, my sister lives in Fort Wayne and I in a home of my own with my boyfriend and two dogs. We don’t experience the eagerness we felt as children. I still look forward to getting together with my family each year but as I grow older those feelings of excitement have changed. Now, the most exciting thing for me is wrapping up dog bones and toys and watching my boys rip the wrapping paper off as I try to shove it in their face to provoke them. I smile as I think of how excited they get to see that I got them a surprise.

I may no longer have the same feelings I had as a kid, but I love watching other kids (or dogs) open gifts with such eagerness. It brings me back to those days of my sister and I speaking to my parents through the crack at the bottom of the door, begging them to come out so we can see what Santa brought. Those are memories I’ll always cherish.

I hope this Christmas brings a new cherished memory for you all. Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas!