Can you believe we are only a week away from Christmas? Thankfully, I have all of my Christmas shopping done. Well, except a few things for my dogs. Luckily, dogs are not very picky about what they get for Christmas.

This year, I am actually hosting one of the several “Christmases” at my house. Since neither my sister nor I have children, I don’t have many to entertain for. Christmas as a child was always so exciting. I got to see my extended family – my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. But as we’ve all grown older, Christmas has changed.

I’m sure many of you reading this can relate. Maybe your Christmas celebrations are bigger with new additions to the family. Maybe they are smaller as members of the family moved away, passed away, or gotten married (or divorced). Such is the case with my family. My sister, her boyfriend Chad, my boyfriend Dakota, and I get together twice – once with my mom and once with my dad.

While Christmas has changed in many ways, the thing that remains (no matter how small the gathering) is the cheer. I’m excited to give gifts to those I love. This year, I think I got everyone something they will really, really like. I also really enjoy giving gifts to my dogs.

Admittedly, my house looks like children do live there because of the number of toys all over. Every year though, I still get them more. Caesar and Jeter are excited each year to see what they got for Christmas, even though they have no idea why they are getting gifts on this particular day. I actually wrap their gifts and they unwrap them. It’s very amusing and another thing that makes me happy during Christmas.

Doesn’t giving make you feel happy? It does me. This year I will also spend part of my Christmas day at the Humane Society cleaning dog kennels and making sure each good boy and girl is fed. This is the second year I’ve volunteered to do this to allow the Humane Society employees to have the day off with their families.

As I said above, this year I am hosting a Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my sister will host the Christmas with my dad. So, on Christmas night, I will host the one for my mom. While I don’t typically love cooking, I am looking forward to preparing a meal for my family to enjoy. It will also be nice to be able to stay home and allow Caesar and Jeter to be part of the celebration this year.

The time around Christmas always seems so happy. It’s a time to be together, share joys, and to give back to your community and those you love. While the way we celebrate Christmas each year may change, the feelings and sentiments remain.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Please note: Next week, since mail does not run on Christmas Day, The Times Bulletin will publish on Tuesday, Dec. 24. The same will happen the following week on Dec. 31. Please check out our business hours for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at the top of the front page.