Christmas can be the best time of the year for so many people, or it can be a difficult one … for various reasons. As I grow older, each year I look at this season as a time of reflection and memories. For some reason, I spend the time leading up to Christmas and the week before New Years as a time to think about traditions, friendships (new and old), the past (as a child and as a parent), and life in general.Growing up, Christmas was always a great time with family. Fortunately, my memories of Christmas are fond ones. The following is a list of random things that always resurface when I think of Christmas past and old traditions as a child: Hot Wheels, Legos, Electric Football, Atari, 8-track tapes, Cassette tapes (Yes, my parents used to put a cassette recorder on the floor and audio recorded us opening presents), Records-Albums, Topps baseball and basketball cards, Spyder bicycles from Sears (I mean Santa), new footballs, basketballs, baseballs and traveling to Orangeburg to my grandparent’s house on Christmas morning as soon as we opened presents to see relatives from both sides of the family and not returning until late that night (too late to play with our toys). I also remember the smell of wonderfully home cooked meals. Nowhere in my mind, do I remember not feeling completely blessed during this time of the year. As a parent, I think we always try to make our children’s lives as good or better than ours whenever possible. There is no way I could ever say that this is true in my case. Because we can never judge the happiness of our children. What I can say is that each Christmas, we have created traditions and memories that I hope they will cherish in the same way I have. The interesting thing to me is that if you ask our son about things he remembers about Christmas’ past, he will mention … Hot Wheels, Legos, video games, baseballs, basketballs, footballs, golf clubs, bicycles, baseball cards (16 years of Complete sets of Topps cards), VIDEO Recording (not audio recording) them opening presents in the same way each year, with them walking into the room and instrumental music in the background and traveling to grandparent’s house. With our daughter, it was always Barbies’ and other girl things that I really have no clue about. But I feel certain, they can tell you about Shrimp and Grits every Christmas Eve, the reading of T’was the Night Before Christmas and reading Luke 2 (the real Christmas story). They have grown to love traditions. What are some of your favorite memories, traditions, etc.? Do you have a favorite Christmas memory growing up or with your children? I pray that the good memories of Christmas outweigh the bad ones. Each year we try to start new traditions … whether they stay around for years, only time will tell. What I do know, is one day our family will grow – and what is exciting to me is that as it grows, our love will grow … the memories will grow, the traditions may change, but the Real Story of Christmas will never change and in our house, it will always be the last thing read on Christmas Eve.