I was born and raised on the other side of the country, where my family and a lot of friends still reside, so I don't have many loved ones here in Montana. That has created a whole new holiday experience for me and my wife (who is in the same boat).

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two days of the year that we're used to spending with a lot of family. This was the first year that my wife and I spent both holidays entirely with each other. To ensure that these two days remained special, and unlike any other Saturday or Sunday where we have the whole day to ourselves, we made them special. We took the time to prepare our favorite foods, we danced more, laughed more, and just appreciated each other more.

I truly realized yesterday what Christmas is all about. It's a special time at the end of the year to reflect on your blessings, to be in the moment, to cherish them while they are in front of you. This is something I know I need to work on. This holiday season opened my eyes a little bit and although I'm not usually one for New Year's resolutions, that's going to be a focus of mine heading into 2012.

We don't need shiny garland and lights to make each day special. Remind others of that by shining your own light every day. I don't mean walk around whistling, because that's just annoying. Just count your blessings instead of your mishaps. When you come across a mean person, smile and be grateful for all the love inside of you. Your positivity will go a long way out there in this crazy world of ours. Wow, Montana has really turned me into a hippie...and I love it!