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The holidays seem a little bit different this year to me.
I think it is a combination of getting a little older and having a family.
When I was younger, I only thought about one thing: presents.
I would let my mom know as soon as possible what I wanted, how much it cost and where to buy it.
When the boxes were wrapped and put under the tree, I would sneak a peek, shake them a little and try to guess what was inside.
Each Christmas Eve, my parents would give my brother and I a new pair of pajamas to wear for the big day, not realizing I just wanted a new toy to play with before Santa arrived.
On Christmas morning, after sleeping maybe an hour, I would wake everyone else up as early as possible to start the unwrapping bonanza.
My eyes got bigger and bigger with each gift I opened.
Things are different now that I am not a child anymore.
I still care about presents, perhaps selfishly more than the average person, but I realize there are more important things in life.
I don’t count the gifts underneath the tree anymore to make sure that I had just as many or maybe a few more than my brother.
Instead of pajamas, my mom gives us ornaments each Christmas Eve that have something to do with whatever may be going on in our lives that year.
I understand now that this is a tradition I should treasure instead of dreading.
I have no trouble sleeping the night before; in fact, I would sleep to noon if I could.
I still appreciate the DVDs, the clothes and other things I receive, but I don’t exude one-tenth of the same excitement I did as a little one.
Being tired and barely having my eyes open may have something to do with that.
Still, Christmas will be more special than ever this year because it will be my son’s first.
Technically, it will be his second, but last year he was less than six months old and had no idea what all the commotion was.
This year, I can’t wait to watch him yell out gibberish when he sees the piles of gifts my parents will spoil him with.
I am dying to marvel at the way he tears open the paper to see what is inside.
I am anxious beyond words to fall down laughing when he likely throws whatever toys he gets to the side to play with the boxes and wrapping paper.
All of this will remind me of what Christmas was like when I was a child.
It will help me remember how great of a time it was to be around everyone and see a smile on the faces of my loved ones.
But, more importantly, now as an adult, it will teach me that family is the true meaning of the holidays.
Only one week left.
(Bryan Marshall is the staff writer of the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)