This Christmas and holiday season we celebrate our faith, our family, and our freedom. We are lucky that our forefathers saw fit to build a country founded upon the belief that all men and women have a God given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the United States, that guarantee of liberty means we all have the choice to spend our holidays as we choose.  

For many, the holidays are a time when life slows down a bit. It gives all of us a chance to reflect and be thankful for our many blessings, and for my family, to celebrate the birth of Christ with our treasured holiday traditions. We are lucky, as a country, to have a President that values family and takes steps to ensure we are all able to spend more time with the people we cherish. Earlier this month, President Trump made Christmas Eve a federal holiday, which means more Americans will have the opportunity to enjoy their holiday at home with loved ones. As for myself, I will be celebrating as I always do, with family enjoying delicious food and each other's company. 

All of our families have our own special holiday traditions they enjoy, whether it be caroling with friends, strolls around the neighborhood to see all the sparkling Christmas lights, baking holiday cookies for Santa and the reindeer, or just spending quality time with loved ones. My family, like yours, has our own traditions to celebrate the season. 

Growing up my family didn’t have a lot, but Christmas was always a special time of year. As a kid, my whole family – aunts, uncles, and cousins – would gather at my grandparents’ house to celebrate Christmas. We would exchange gifts, play games (spoons was my favorite), but my fondest memory is the giant peppermint candy canes that my grandmother would give to each of the cousins every year. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized those candy canes were the only gift my grandparents could afford to give all of their grandchildren, which made them even more special to me. To this day when I see those candy canes in stores I think of my grandmother and I continue the tradition, sharing giant candy canes with my family and friends and telling them my childhood story. 

During this time of year, it is important for us to all be thankful for the good in this world. Some people might deter you and others from visiting family and friends, and tell you to stay in and keep to yourself. Remember, it is your choice as to how you spend your holidays. With 2020 drawing to a close and we look towards 2021, we must hold our families tight, be kind to our neighbors, and remember the blessings we are fortunate to enjoy as Americans.