Christmas is about who you spend it with

By Gray Hughes

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I want to write the perfect Christmas column.

But I am struggling.

How do you properly encapsulate the most wonderful time of the year?

I guess I could reflect on Christmases past as a kid. I have wonderful memories of Christmas. Waking up early, waking up my mom and stepdad with my siblings and running down stairs to a tree surrounded by presents. After we opened our presents, my mom would make us breakfast. It was rare that we got a big breakfast like that. Pancakes, sausage, eggs, hash browns, the like.

After that, my mom would drive and meet my dad halfway to Philadelphia, and I would spend Christmas night at my dad’s. It would be Christmas round two. After I would open presents at my dad’s, we would go to my stepmom’s parent’s house for the biggest Christmas dinner ever.

I could reflect on last Christmas. Because of the constraints of being in the media, we don’t get the opportunity to get much time off around Christmas. The news doesn’t take a break, and neither do we.

I didn’t get to spend Christmas with any of my parents last year for the first time in my life. I’m not going to lie. It was a little rough.

But I did get to spend Christmas with my girlfriend and her wonderful family in Vermont. Because Christmas was on a Monday last year, it was a three-day weekend, and I was lucky enough to have enough vacation days to take the day after Christmas off.

I was supposed to fly up to Vermont from Reagan National Airport just outside of Washington, D.C. in Virginia.

I left work in Bethany Beach, Del., that Friday, drove two-and-a-half hours to the New Carrolton Metro Station just outside of Washington, D.C., in Maryland, parked my car at the metro station and took the metro to the airport.

I got to the airport, and my flight was delayed because New England was embroiled in a blizzard. My flight was so delayed and the weather was so bad, in fact, that I wasn’t able to get to my girlfriend’s parents that night. Because I was younger than 25 at that time and couldn’t rent a car without extra fees that I didn’t want to pay, my girlfriend’s father was supposed to pick me up, but the weather was too bad.

I spent that night at a hotel outside of the Manchester, N.H., airport, about two-and-a-half hours away from my girlfriend’s parent’s house.

I got picked up early that next morning and spent a wonderful couple of days at my girlfriend’s childhood home. Although I wasn’t with my parents, I was with my new family, and they were just as loving and kind as my own parents.

I guess the purpose of these two little stories is to reflect on Christmas. It does not matter what you have under the tree. I’m at the age now where I don’t really want anything anymore for Christmas.

I just want to spend it with the people I love.

This Christmas, I get to spend the day with my mom, stepdad and little sister. As I have said before, they moved to Rapid City just before Christmas in 2015, so I don’t have to travel more than 15 minutes to spend Christmas with them this year.

I’ll get to see my grandfather. His health is failing, and I don’t know how many Christmases he has left.

But for one glorious day, we can forget about that and celebrate Christmas.

And, at this age, that’s all I want to do. I just want to celebrate Christmas with the people I love and love me.

So, from me to all of you, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you get to spend the day with the ones you love and love you.

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