It is finally that time of year again when the lights are put back up, everything smells wonderful, it’s appropriate for it to snow and Christmas music can finally be played in public — because you know that can’t happen before Thanksgiving.

This time of year has always been my favorite. While I love the colors and activities of fall, something just feels so magical about the Christmas season. People genuinely seem happier. It’s a season of giving. You can take strolls with loved ones, drink hot cocoa and enjoy everything wonderful that the season has to offer.

Putting my birthday aside, which falls one week before Christmas if you’d like to celebrate with me, my favorite part of the season is getting to do all of the cliche Christmas things. I love going to get a tree with my family and putting on Christmas music as we decorate it. Of course, we always  break at least one ornament by accident some way or another.

I love sitting in the living room with the fire going, Christmas movies on and my family around. I’m a big fan of wearing Santa hats as often as I can during December, especially while wrapping all of my (and my mom’s) presents. I absolutely love having all of my family home, which really only happens around this time of year now that my siblings and I are getting older.  It’s funny being the youngest of my family that way. My sisters are 27 and 30, and they are off in different states living their lives. So personally, I absolutely love December since it’s the only extended period of time that I get to spend with them.

I also try to make a point to go out and see all my friends from home and do Christmas activities with them, whether it’s going shopping or going to La Salette Shrine (which has ones of the best light displays in the area). It’s the one time of year that everyone is home, so getting the old crew together is easier than ever, and I try to take advantage of that.

Nothing makes this season better then friends and family. Which is something I grew up on — that this time, Christmastime, is for those you love. It’s always been big in my family, especially on my Mom’s side. We always celebrate Christmas Eve with cousins, aunts and uncles and we are lucky enough to get to see a majority of them again on Christmas. I always associated this time of year with family, and as I got older, I kept that close to my heart. I make it a point at this time of year to make sure everyone that is important to me knows so.

Of course I can’t put aside the fun parts of the winter season: the sledding, the snowball fights, the ski trips, the ice-skating, the frolicking in the snow with a dog by your side and singing to classic Christmas songs, always off key of course. It’s hard to not be happy and grateful during this time of year and one can never take it all for granted.

I have to admit, I’m extremely excited to finish finals and go home. Not only because it means no school, but it means I can see my family and friends, curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, put on some cheesy Christmas movies and enjoy the atmosphere of a decorated room with hopefully a snowy outdoors.