By Morgan Bryce


As I approach the ripe old age of 26 later this week, I have come to realize that my stance on Christmas and its meanings to me in my life have changed drastically during the years.
On Christmas Eve with my mother’s family, I’d sit impatiently as we read through the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 2. King James Version of course.
Then, on Christmas morning at my grandmother’s house in Salem, my sister, cousins and I would run around the house screaming and hollering at the adults to finish eating breakfast so we could open our gifts.
I remember the adrenaline that used to pulse through me as I opened a present – it was a rush, a thrill of sorts. Even if it was a gift I had asked for or a pair of underwear, I was taught to react as surprised and happy as possible to each present I opened as a way of showing my gratitude.
As a 90s kid, I wanted all the latest trendy items (especially anything Star Wars or Star Trek related) but my jam was and always will be Hot Wheels.
However, tastes changed as time passed.
In high school and college, I wisened up and began asking for cold hard cash to fund my education and wardrobe choices, a mere attempt to match my peers and blend in with my surroundings.
Now, the whole concept of receiving a gift has changed for me. I certainly don’t blush at the prospect of a present just for me, I’ll freely admit, but the real gift I receive each Christmas now is seeing the joy that I can give to others.
That really is an incredible part of the journey to adulthood – that maturation and those change of perspectives can be very enlightening and give one pause.
Since getting married last year, I’ve come to realize how varied giving can be.
For my family and friends who see me a lot less than they used to, a gift to them could be something as simple as going out for a meal or a 30-minute phone call.
Putting it all together, I’ve come to realize that people mean more than just about any gift anyone in this old world could offer. The people in my life – my wife, parents, sister, grandparents, etc. – they make up the fabric of my life.
I treasure and value these people beyond description, and have come to see in my 25 trips around the sun that they, along with my salvation from an incredible, loving God, are the best gifts any human could ever hope to receive in this lifetime.
As I prepare to end this letter, I challenge you readers to keep a close bond with the significant people that exist in your life. Keep them close. Time is precious.
While thumbing through this guide to the vast array of Christmas activities that this area has to offer, circle one for you and someone near and dear to you to participate in. Who knows, it could be the start of a new tradition that you can bask and share in for years to come. Gifts of memories to hold on to for years to come.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi