So... this is not a thread for people to bash Christmas, not a place for people to throw pity parties for how much their lives are terrible around this time of year, not a thread for people to talk about how much they hate Christmas music. It's not a place to hate people who love Christmas or convince people who hate it to love it. This is not a place to be mean-spirited or rude to one another due to different holiday traditions. (Now that I've gotten everything that it isn't out of the way...) This is a thread for people who love their families and their childhood/modern traditions to talk about what they think makes it special. This is my 4th Christmas in a row where I'm missing my family, but my first Christmas without my wife. I've been in the military for 4 years now and I'm deployed at the moment. This means that all the family traditions in general have been non-existent for the last year and Christmas is the time of year where it all starts to really hurt. I miss my family, but I can take solace in how exciting it will be to finally get home and be with them again. I want to talk to y'all and see what you love about Christmas holidays (and holidays in general for that matter) because it's just a warm and fluffy feeling inside and it would be nice to have that. So for me, our Christmas holidays are always filled with family get-togethers. Presents are really reserved for the kiddos, the real gifts for the adults being the kids screamin' and hollerin' as they parade their new toys (and more often than not, break said toys as they're running with them). Our family, aside from a few stragglers, live entirely in the same city within 5 minutes of each other. We get together every Sunday for a family dinner and once my grandmother passed away a few years ago, my mother and her sisters and brothers did everything they could to keep the spirit of family alive. We all think about the ones we've lost over the years, the uncles and aunts, mothers and fathers, but we've never truly been sad for them. They're with us every year, every time someone makes the Pineapple Upside-Down cake that Grandma used to make (same recipe) and when we pop in the White Christmas VHS that we watch EVERY YEAR as a family. To me, I think that our tradition to maintain the family gathering, to keep up with everyone and send out Christmas cards with our silly little dogs on them... It means Christmas to me. It's everything about the holiday I enjoy, and it makes all the other stress go away... even if it's just for a little while. I miss home, I miss Christmas, but I'm not angry. I'm just happy that I've got something to look forward to next year! Now to you, dear readers, what about Christmas makes it special to you? Doesn't have to be Christmas, doesn't have to be with family, doesn't even have to be with someone at all. I just want to know that I'm not the only one who loves this season and all it brings with it.