Sis and I grew up on Statler Brothers and Oak Ridge Boys songs. Our favorites were the Christmas albums. In fact, it was an Oak Ridge Boys that taught me Luke 2:8-14 and to this day I can quote it with the same inflections as the singer did in the song. “Thank God for Kids” was a favorite – probably because we were kids ourselves and liked the idea of a song dedicated to our people.

But “Christmas to Me” by the Statler Brothers remains one of my favorites to this day. Each member of the group sang a verse, each one describing their favorite version of Christmas. Christmas to one was all about the tree and its decorations, to another it is about his wife and their traditions, another it is family, snow, and memories. The final verse says, “Christmas to me is the newborn baby, lying quietly in the hay, when the angel came to say, ‘Peace on Earth to men!’ and I pray for peace again. Scenes of the Nativity – that’s what Christmas means to me.” That’s what it’s really all about, y’all.

Christmas to me is all about being together, being kind, finding peace, remembering, and enjoying. I find myself a little more prone to tears this time of year and rarely a day goes by I don’t tear up over something a time or two (as opposed to my usual tearful hysterics which only happen a few times a week). I try to be nicer to people who really aren’t very nice themselves, although I suppose I should be better about that year ‘round. I get positively giddy when someone leaves the office or ends a phone call with “Merry Christmas!”

When the kids were little, Christmas Eve was always at Mom’s. Then life happened and schedules got crazy and now we’ve thrown in working teens. We have learned to be more flexible on the date and to focus more on the event itself. This year it was on the 15th. But it was still just as insane, noisy, hilarious, and wonderful as if it had been on the 24th. Mom managed to get all the guys yet another annoying toy – this year it was squirrels and chickens that when you squeeze them, nuts or eggs go flying out of their mouths. It was a nutty, eggy war zone by evening’s end. Last year we had an indoor snowball fight with fabric snowballs. It took Trust nearly 20 minutes to empty his stocking because he kept getting so excited over each thing he’d grab. Everything he pulled out had to be shown off, played with, and exclaimed over. “OH MY DOSH!” was the most uttered phrase of the night. Wemberly spent the night on various shoulders, in various sets of arms, being adored by the lot of us. I got a new coffee mug. It says, “Meh.” It is now my favorite coffee mug of all time.

And because times change and life happens, Christmas Eve has now turned into an event with my own kids at my own house. Everyone requests their favorite food and I make it happen – this year’s menu consists of barbecued meatballs, macaroni and cheese, queso, meat candy, cake balls, chocolate cake, and lots and lots of Tums. We break out the old Super Nintendo and have Mario Kart and Super Mario World tournaments. Eventually we girls go to the other room for some Guitar Hero and Just Dance when the boys decide to switch over to some war/killing/zombie game. The evening is usually rounded out with “The Polar Express” and many, many contented yawns. And probably some more Tums.

Christmas morning is presents and a big breakfast followed by some laziness. Then we break out the leftovers and the laziness continues. The Macy’s parade is usually watched, the guys plan to hunt. My phone chimes merrily throughout the day with greetings and wishes from friends. “I love you” is said quite often. There is always, always laughter.

And that, my friends, is Christmas to me.