Celebrate your community.

My most memorable Christmas was during one of the hardest periods of my life. My mother was battling a serious illness, which had landed her in the hospital just a few days before Christmas. Knowing that I was going to spend the holidays in a hospital while my mother struggled with her health really hit me hard. I would just take one look at the brightly lit tree or cheerful Santas lining our mantelpiece and tears would instantly well up in my eyes.

Christmas Eve came and passed. My father and I visited the hospital, had dinner there, came home and went straight to bed. However, the next morning something unexpected happened. My father woke me up at 5 a.m. to make our traditional baked ziti Christmas dinner. By 10 a.m., the sauce was cooled, the ziti was made and everything was ready to go to the hospital.

I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when she saw us bring in the dinner—her smile was so pure and filled with joy that it’s still etched in my memory today. Just as we were about to eat, her nurse walked in. That’s when my father had the idea of inviting all the nurses to share our Christmas Dinner. By the end of the day, all the food was gone, everyone was stuffed and I had almost forgotten where we were.

Reflecting on it now, I realize that it wasn’t so much about us keeping up the spirit of the holiday; it was my mother’s strength, my father’s kindness and the selfless willingness of the nurses to give up their Christmas to help us that I will always take with me.

As the holidays are a time for friends and family to gather together, I encourage you to spend some time with your loved ones and cherish all the wonderful and lasting memories you will make this year.

Until Next Month,