Today begins my favorite time of year.

Christmas — and yes, I am one of those people who refuses to listen to Christmas music or decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

But the real reason I wait until after Thanksgiving to start celebrating the Christmas season, is that every year since before I can remember, my family and I would go up to Apple Hill and chop down our own Christmas Tree. (I’ve provided a throwback for your amusement. I'm pictured with my brother Jacob in circa 2000 or 2001?)

This just begins my family’s holiday festivities. Leading up to Christmas, there’s the occasional Christmas shopping but the majority of it is on Christmas eve. As my dad always says, if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Then on Christmas morning, after opening our presents, my dad always makes fried dough, which is honestly one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. For those who don’t know what fried dough is, it’s basically a donut hole. It’s just clumps or balls of dough that are fried. Let me tell you, it’s amazing.

After our stomachs are full from breakfast, we tend to just chill and watch movies the remainder of the afternoon. But before we finish up our day, we eat birthday cake. Birthday cake? What does that have to do with Christmas, you may ask? Well, being a Christian, we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ and what’s a birthday without cake?

All these things add up to why Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s not so much about the gifts, as it is about traditions, giving to others, and appreciating the moments you have with your family and loved ones. These things make up the holiday spirit, and its one of the biggest reasons why I love it.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?