I hope we all have at least one stand-out Christmas to look back upon. I'm lucky in that I have several, but there are two stand-out Christmases that I thought I'd share with you.

I don't remember how old I was at the time, but I must have been about 14 judging from the gifts I got that year. The Beatles were all the rage that Christmas (is my age showing?) and, of course, anything to do with the Beatles was a great Christmas gift.

Now, I had been playing my grandfather's guitar for a few years, but, once the Beatles came out, an old beat-up guitar just wasn't hip anymore. I needed to be electrified to channel my inner John Lennon. All I wanted was an electric guitar. I'm sure the thought of it gave my parents pause. After all, they knew that, if I got my hands on an electric guitar, that it would be played a lot and at full volume.

On Christmas morning, I was not disappointed. Under the tree that year was a great pair of Beatle Boots. Next I opened up a book with all the chords to the songs on the Beatles' Rubber Soul album. Ah! A dead giveaway to what was in the tall rectangular package in the corner. At that point, I became oblivious to every package except that one package in the corner. For all I knew, those other packages contained gold, frankincense and myrrh, because every fiber of my being was focused on that package.

My mom really knew how to time things and, finally, last but not least, I got to rip open that final package. That magical package in the corner that contained... A table top hockey game. Nice. How thoughtful. Tabletop hockey. To this day I can't stand Bobby Hull.

My other favorite Christmas memory is really more than just one Christmas, but a compilation of several Christmases. Every year, until the moved away, my sister and brother-in-law would come over on Christmas Eve and we would exchange family gifts. It's not so much the gifts I remember, although my sister was a champ when it came to Christmas presents. What I remember most is the feeling of warmth and family.

Those Christmas Eves really stand out for me. We would all gather around the dining table and have an incredible turkey or Christmas goose and everyone at the table was truly filled with the Christmas Spirit. After dinner, we would all retire to the living room and the unwrapping of gifts that would soon be just mountains of paper on the floor. As I said, my sister really knew how to pick gifts for me and every year I was more surprised how she always hit the nail on the head.

Once again, as great as my sister's gifts were, it was not about the gifts at all. I remember those family Christmases more than anything else this time of year. How blessed am I to have such warm, wonderful Christmas memories?

This year will be another wonderful Christmas since my daughter and her family will be spending Christmas Eve with me. I am so lucky that, once again, I'll be able to see Christmas through the eyes of a child thanks to my two beautiful granddaughters. Am I a lucky guy, or what?

I wish you a warm, happy Christmas this year. The key to that, of course, is to celebrate what they call "The reason for the season." It's really that simple.



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