The Christmas Blog

I've never really grasped the concept of Christmas until I was deployed to Iraq.

When I was a kid I had the unfortunate responsibility of being an older brother to two well deserving gentlemen, and I say that in the most endearing way possible. So as per the norm, the older brother’s sacrifice for sake of the younger brothers to have a great Christmas, well the unfortunate part in all of that is that I was a very young older brother. Being a kid and doing kid like things for me as a child was a very rare thing, I know that sounds horrible to some, but to me, it is what it is. I think it's because I never really understood the concept of Christmas in the first place allowed me to not really be phased by it too much.

Now when I was in Iraq a couple of things happened, the first me being out there in the first place. I accepted the challenge and I busted my tail every single day I was there. I put in my R&R time for November because of my birthday and thanksgiving fell within the two weeks that we were allotted there and it was about the 10 month mark of the 12 that we had to be there for. Then that changed when Obama and the Iraqi's couldn't come to terms with us being there, so they ordered an immediate pull out, thus canceling all flights to and from the US for purposes of R&R, that was the first thing.

The second thing was during that time period was my aunt passed away a couple of weeks before I was supposed to leave for that R&R and the funeral was during the time frame I was supposed to be home as well. So not only did I miss her funeral, spending my birthday with loved ones and thanksgiving, (I didn't get a meal at all because they closed down the dining halls by that point). It was just an all-around bad experience that last couple of months over there, my mood was completely shot and I was ready to come home.

Well eventually I did make it home, for Christmas.

Coming home and surprising people for Christmas was a pretty awesome feeling. I didn't tell but a handful of people so that I could just sneak in on people. That worked very well as to me getting that all worked out. But being able to be around people that you love and care for hearing them tell you all the things that you've missed and how excited that you were to be home and safe for the holidays was a great feeling.

That was when I realized what the idea of Christmas is about. Yea it has a lot to do with the commercialism aspects of it, but when you boil down to nitty gritty of things, you start to realize that you can buy all the gifts in the world, but the emotional investment behind the gift giving is the real reward. Seeing someone's face light up when they see you bought them something they either wanted or they didn't see coming at all is priceless. But being able to spend time with them before and after that is what makes those moments that much more special.

To me that's what Christmas is, those times where you can enjoy all of the emotional investments of the year without having to do anything but sit back and watch. Whether it is your family, significant other or just giving back to a stranger, this time of the year is about emotional payoffs rather than the gift giving aspects of it for me.

What is Christmas to you? What makes it special? Do you have a favorite memory? Let me know in the comments below. Take some time this year and make it very special for the people that you love; it runs way deeper than those gifts you buy.

Until next time guys.

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