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Photo: Kate Headley

Christmas this year reminded me of planning a wedding. See, my family puts a lot of time, energy and preparation into Christmas. We plan and we prep and we build on traditions that we've already spent years creating...and then Christmas arrives and, in a whirlwind of wrapping paper and Harry Connick, Jr. and pie, is gone.

Just like a wedding. Although in a wedding, the pie is most often replaced by cake and the Harry Connick, Jr. by Louis Armstrong (or the Electric Slide). The wrapping paper remains, but has fewer angels covering its foil.

But that doesn't mean that all the planning and the preparation isn't worth it. No matter how much time we put into the days we make important, if we're willing to sit back and enjoy how they unfold once they finally do arrive, all of the work is worth it.

It's worth it to see the huge smiles on your family's faces when they unwrap the gifts you've put your thought and money into (As well as your time and frustration with wrapping - try as I might, I did not place a single name tag sticker on straight. Crooked, every one.). It's worth it to see the lights on the tree and the food on the table (and in our bellies!). And, it's worth it to hear the laughter and the conversation and to know that, even though the day slips past almost before you realize it's arrived, you'll have the memory of it to grasp and hold.

So, no matter how quickly your Christmas arrived and passed, I hope you got the chance to sit back and enjoy it- even if only for a moment. I hope you plugged in the lights on your Christmas tree and opened a gift or two and gave the ones you love a big hug and told them you were glad to be with them. And I hope that you had a Christmas so full of joy that you can't wait for it to roll around again next year.