As soon as I leave the office this afternoon, I'll be headed to the Kiln -- with an overnight bag packed -- to sleep in my old my room at my parents' house so I can wake up to see what Santa brought me on Christmas morning.
I'm 26. On my birthday, the first phone call I received was my mom's insurance company.
"Happy birthday, Justin. You know longer have secondary insurance coverage. Enjoy adulthood!" But that doesn't matter, because every year on Dec. 25, I have a small pile of gifts to open. Every single name tag says "To Justin From Santa" in my mother's handwriting.
When I was a child, the piles were bigger and Christmases were wild. My brother and I would wake up to toys wrapped from one end of the house to the other. As a child, my brother, Kyle, would wake up at the crack of dawn and wake everybody in the house up to open his gifts. He would tear through the wrapping paper and get so excited to see what toy was next.
Santa always knew exactly what he wanted.
As an adult, I can't remember what I get for Christmas every year, even though it's always what I ask for. This year, I realized I couldn't tell you what my "big gift" was two years ago.
Because gifts aren't important.
What was important was watching Kyle tear through his gifts and be tickled pink on Christmas morning. It was the look on my mother's face knowing she was the best Santa year after year. It's knowing I'll be under my parents' roof at least one night every single year.
It's wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve with my best friends Lindsey and Courtney. It's eating Waffle House on Christmas night, usually with Kayla, Keith and DeRae. It's working in the newsroom and sharing past Christmas stories. It's going to Aunt Rhed's house and eating candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows and staring at her "Hard Candy Christmas" tree.
Too much on social media, #blessed is used to describe their gifts: a lavish bag, a nice vacation or a new car. I am guilty of this, too.
Don't forget what blessed means this year. Take a look back at your Christmases and see if you remember the gifts your received or the time you spent with those around you.