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Schudel Christmas Recap: The Practical Christmas

First off, let me begin this article by wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and those that care about about you. I found myself becoming quite reflective as I was driving home the other night. As the years have gone by, the meaning of Christmas has changed drastically for me. When I was young, I had a very skewed way of looking at things.

I put a very heavy emphasis on the material things. Now, I don't want you to think that I was a little punk that only cared about toys and video games. I had a great upbringing in catholic school and I was taught about morality and values. I have to admit though, I was always proud of the "take" I would have at Christmas. My parents always seemed to deliver, whether if it was a present I asked for or a complete surprise. The gifts I received often were better than I deserved.

My parents always seemed to provide tremendous Christmas experiences. I can remember specific Christmas holidays where my parents provided very unique experiences. Whether it was hanging Christmas lights inside or hooking up a new game system, I had a pretty awesome childhood courtesy of my parents. Now that I am older, I am seeing Christmas in a whole new light. This year I arrived back at my parents two days before Christmas. I was specifically invited to their neighborhood party. My parents and neighbors have a fantastic relationship. I grew up in a community where many people were "transplants" where some hail from as far south as Huntington, WV, as far west as New Zealand, and as far east as the United Kingdom.

Everyone is a great distance from their families. Our extended family is in the state, but our schedules don't ever quite sync up. It is incredible to see everyone in the neighborhood embrace one another with love and support. The feeling when everyone comes together is infectious. Not only was the food exquisite but the company was unsurpassed.

Christmas Eve day began much like those prior. Waking up late, having coffee with the parents, and then getting ready for church at 9am. Of course, I kid, but my dear mother is quite adamant about getting to church on time for Christmas Eve service. Church became quite interesting as Fox Soccer analyst Stuart Holden sat right down in front of me at my church. Trying incredibly hard not to fangirl, I fought back every inclination to scream like a prepubesant teenage girl at the sight of Mr. Holden.

When we returned home, we had dinner and ate entirely too many pastries. My parents set out to a holiday party with former neighbors across town, and my sister and her wife stayed behind. They convinced me with little persuasion to open up the gift they had got me for Christmas. With all the craziness surrounding the NES classic, they had found me a Sega Genesis classic console which was a HUGE part of my childhood. We stayed up, laughed, told jokes, and shared incredible amounts of anxiety playing hits like Sonic, Columns, and Mortal Kombat.

The time had come where everyone headed to bed, and we had finally made it to Christmas. Everyone was fully awake at ten, and my sister reappeared with a breakfast casserole, but I began breakfast with chocolate covered oreos in route to a case of hyperglycemia. (Still not proud of that) Anyway, the gift giving was hysterical as laughs were shared, joy was had, and jokes were made. This was the moment, I was sure my feelings had changed.

I have been incredibly fortunate this year and I wanted to share my spoils with my family and friends. The look on their faces when I gave them their gifts was something that I will treasure forever. With this being the second Christmas I have had since I got my "big boy" job, I wasn't able to celebrate accordingly last year. However, my team and I have destroyed the initial projections we had and I have made more money than I have ever seen in my life. Thus, I wanted to share the love with my family, friends, and staff.

Christmas for me isn't about material things anymore, rather the joy that I can bring into my family and friend's lives. 2016 was full of ups and downs for me and those around me that I care about. If I can make someone smile or bring joy to them, that is the true meaning of the season. I look forward to what 2017 holds, and what challenges await. The main thing I will focus on is improving and trying to make a better version of myself in the coming year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for your support.

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