My fondest Christmas memory will always be my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. As an only child with a big extended family (my mom was one of seven), I relied on this annual tradition.

This night brought me and my many cousins and aunts and uncles together under one roof with love, joy, and anticipation on the eve of the most magical day of the year. Each child always received one gift from an older family member chosen at random. It was a house full of laughter and a tree stocked with presents.

The older I got, the harder it was to leave my grandparents' house each Christmas Eve, as I quickly realized it was this day that supplied the real holiday magic. Looking back on it now in my adult mind is like watching my favorite Christmas movie. A true classic. My grandparents' tree couldn't have been more perfect, my grandmother's smile more sincere, their house even had a consummate Christmas smell!

I am no longer able to create any new Christmas memories with either grandparent, but now have had the responsibility bestowed upon me of fathering crucial early holiday memories in another's mind. I am so thankful that I can draw upon my own blessed experiences and realize how important it has been in the development of my character. Thank you Meme and Papa for teaching me the meaning of a Merry Christmas!