It all comes down to family and relaxation during the holidays

Writer is lucky to have family back home and here

Christmas and the holidays in general have always been my favourite time of year. There’s something magical about seeing all of the beautiful Christmas lights across the City.

Being anxious in crowded places, I did something brave this year. I headed out on Black Friday and completed all of my Christmas shopping, but instead of focusing on the crazy lineups and people rushing around me every which way, I clouded my brain with positive thoughts – I thought of the reaction my loved ones would have on their faces and how excited I was to give the gifts I bought. That’s one of the things I love most about this time of year is giving.

This year has also probably been one of my most busiest times of year as I’ve been planning out my wedding, which is only five months away, having a new little puppy at home, while balancing work, Christmas parties and maintaining a busy social life. It’s a super busy time of the year.

It’s also a tough time of year for people with maintaining their mental health during the hustle and bustle of life. It’s not easy being away from your family, and for some, not having a family to go home to.

For me, I have an incredible family back home and a second family here. I count my lucky stars every day. I’m truly blessed, but with that said it’s tough to not be around my parents, sister and niece at this time of year.

Since I was about 18 I’ve lived across the country from my parents. I really make a point to use Skype and chat with them every week.

For me, Christmas has always been about family.

I remember waking up at 6:30 a.m. Christmas morning and running downstairs, not just going straight for the presents, but sitting on the couch, listening to Christmas music and just spending time with Dad, who was always up at the crack of dawn brewing the coffee and getting ready for the company to come over. About half an hour later came my mom and my sister as the cheery music just couldn’t keep them in bed. Company involved my Grandma, who is unfortunately no longer with us, my aunt and my cousin.

Christmas is always such a nostalgic time for me as I always look back to that time with a big smile. I try to live like that now still, although I don’t get up at 6:30 a.m., but I do get excited to spend time with my fiance and my future in-laws, who have really felt like family from day one.

Christmas at my fiance’s family’s home involves lots of company. There’s cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, dogs, you name it. It’s a big get together and I love every minute of it.

At the end of the day Christmas really is about family, love and happiness, so sit back, relax and be with those close to you.

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