There’s nothing like seeing a truck full of Christmas trees along the highway to remind me that Christmas will be here before too long! I was heading back home after dropping off my youngest son at his weekly tutoring session when I noticed the large truck heading South, probably delivering the trees to some of our neighboring states.

As I passed the truck, I couldn’t help but think about how close the holidays are and how excited I am to spend them with family and friends. Of course, my afternoon conversation with my mother-in-law about our Thanksgiving “plan” also gave me a kickstart to the holiday season!

Some people really dread this time of year and want nothing to do with the craziness of Christmas. Are you ready? Do you even like the holidays? Well, I do!

Part of the reason I get excited this time of year is because it brings back so many great memories from my childhood. When I was growing up, the holidays usually meant going skiing somewhere with my parents and siblings. And, since our relatives didn’t live near us, we always spent the holidays with “framily”—you know, friends who are like family. One thing is for sure: We always had FUN celebrating all together each year!

I have to admit it wasn’t until I was married that I realized how stressful the holidays could be and why some people don’t find them enjoyable. I have learned many things as we celebrated throughout the years, but what I would really like to know is what my boys will do once I am no longer around. What will their traditions be? What will they want them to be? I can only hope I have done my job and they will want to carry on the traditions from their childhood.

I’m quite sure my parents know by now that their kids will continue to get together and celebrate the big events the way we all did growing up. I have to think this makes them feel like they did a good job teaching us what truly is important in life.

This month, my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! I am so lucky to have had such great role models when I was growing up, and I appreciate the effort my parents made to make us a tight-knit family. Their efforts paid off because our extended family actually likes to spend time together. Some families see each other once or twice a year because they feel they have to get together, but my siblings actually want to see each other and even look forward to our celebrations together.

So, for my parents’ anniversary this year, our entire family is spending a week at the beach! Even better, my brother and I (plus our kids, of course) are going to my sister’s house a few days early so we can just “hang out” and spend time having fun. And, it’s not because our parents orchestrated anything—it’s just because we actually like each other (most of the time). Thanks to my mom and dad for making me want to hang out with my siblings!

It may be hard to imagine life after we are out of the picture, but think about what traditions you are teaching your kids and your family. When you are gone, will the same celebrations take place? Make sure you are making lasting memories and building traditions for years to come. I know I love hearing my boys tell me stories about the last time they were at Gasperilla and how Uncle Jim made it “such a blast.” Just hearing them tell me they can’t wait for Christmas and how much fun it will be makes me smile and feel proud.

Happy 50th anniversary to my parents—my role models on marriage. They may not be perfect, but they did show me and my siblings that marriage is to be respected and is always a work in progress. I am so lucky to have had such great examples in parenting, marriage, and life in general. I hope my boys will feel the same way about their lives as they grow older.

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