When we think of the holidays, we think of festive parties and gatherings, snow and cocoa, warm fireside chats, and shopping until we’re weak in the knees. But what we’re constantly circling around is family; our beautiful, often crazy, sometimes drives-us-nuts-but-we-couldn’t-make-it-without-them family. Our families are the heart of our holidays, and whether it’s a feeling of comfort or disappointment when we think of them, they’re the people who love us no matter what, and this is the time to celebrate that love together.
Especially during this month of December, we want to focus on and think about the gratitude we feel for our families, so we’ve asked several people to share their stories and feelings about their own families with us. We hope you’ll be inspired to think about how and why your family fills you with gratitude at this special time of year.
I am grateful my family and home is a happy and healthy place…that we’ve gotten through some hardships and now have jobs and enough money to pay all the bills and enjoy our holiday festivities…that my children have good schools with kind, supportive, and hardworking teachers and staff…that despite the very painful loss of a loved one this year, all of my siblings will soon be together again to laugh and cry – in faith, peace, and love. Rosanna J.; PA
Since my family lives on opposite coasts, Christmas is the only time we see each other. Some years, weather or travel issues have made it difficult for us to get together, so I’m always grateful when we’re able to all be together and hug each other. Adam H., California
I love the Christmas season because my grandparents are still around. I feel very fortunate as a 26-year-old to have both my 93 year old grandpa and grandma. They live just down the street, so we do lots of fun things around the holidays. My grandma loves to bake. I’ll go over there a few times throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas to help her make some traditional desserts. My grandpa’s birthday is Christmas Eve. We do a brunch every Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. Christmas Day they all come over to my parents’ house! My grandma is super talented at the piano and will just sit and play Christmas songs for hours! It truly is the best feeling of smelling all the traditional meals and scents of Christmas, the sound of Christmas music from the piano, and all the fun things that happen year after year because they are still around! Olivia V.; Ohio
My mom just had back surgery and is getting out of the hospital and will be home just in time for Christmas. I’m so relieved her surgery went well, and she’ll be able to be at home with us
because it just wouldn’t be the same without her here.” Sophie S.; Missouri
I love that my brothers, sisters and I all continue the same St. Nicholas tradition that my parents did for us when we were all growing up. When we get together, everyone shares their stories of how they pulled it off for their children that year, and it’s always a highlight of our gathering. I’ve always been grateful that my parents did something so magical for us as children that it made us all want to carry on the tradition. Lizabeth M.; Ohio
I’ve always been grateful for my darling Rose’s famous holiday cookies and coffee cake. Oh, the tree might be crooked or maybe a cow got loose and broke through the fence, but those things can never dampen the feeling of entering the house and being greeted by that delicious bakery smell that only my darling Rose can create. We send her goodies across the country each year to all our grandchildren, and they’ll call us as soon as the box arrives. There’s nothing sweeter on earth. Carl K.; Indiana
I love having my family around at the holidays, because it’s the only chance we have to all get together at the same time. I’m happy my mom is still around to be able to share in this season with us, too. Gina R.; Ohio
My brothers and sisters and I live in different states, but we always try and get together on a day between Christmas and New Year’s. When we’re finally all together, talking and laughing, it always feels like coming home again – that’s the best feeling ever, and I’m grateful for every year I get to feel it. Carla R.; Pennsylvania