This is a strange Christmas for me. For the first time I won't be spending a Christmas with any family members. Since my grandmother passed away in August my mother has decided she's spending the holiday with her best friend. My wife decided to spend the weekend with her single friends, who often spend their time alone. I've decided that I'll be here, spending the day relaxing, something I don't do often enough.

Christmas has always been seen as a family time. Most people interpret that to mean that family has to be together for it to mean anything. Not being religious, I have to admit that Christmas hadn't been my favorite holiday since I was 10 years old, when my dad went to Vietnam and I didn't get to see him for Christmas that year. I got lucky; out of 42 years there was only one Thanksgiving I didn't get to be with my dad, and this is the first Christmas I'm not with my mother. It's also the first Christmas and Thanksgiving past I didn't spend with my wife or mother.

And yet, I know that we all love each other and that it's not the fact of us being together that means as much as that we've already shown each other how much we care, with presents and conversation and acts throughout the year.

In this vein I'd like to wish all of you on this day a very Merry Christmas and, extending further, a wonderful and safe holiday season. I appreciate those of you who stop by to read and I appreciate those of you who have allowed me to work with you during this and previous years. There's more to come; thank you and have a wonderful day.