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Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Since Thanksgiving is over, yay for stretchy pants, it is time to focus on the Christmas holiday season. I want to tell you all something, not to elicit pity or anything, but to explain why I go full on holiday each year.

When I was 15, my dad (whom I sadly was not close with but was finally getting to know in the months leading up to his passing) passed away tragically on Christmas Day in a house fire. Fast forward to 2006 when I am 21, and my grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve after a stay in the hospital. What are the chances, right?

Losing two people that are admittedly very important in my life on those days will impact me forever. There's always going to be a melancholy in the air on those days for me, but I've chosen to embrace the holidays as a time to decorate, be festive and gather with my family and friends. To me, they are the greatest gift, so I love to really put a lot of effort into making my home "gathering ready" for the holiday season despite the painful losses that are attached to it. I'd like to think they'd want me to be happy.

So, I make it a point to be happy and honor their memory each and every year by celebrating the holidays to the fullest potential. One of my favorite Christmas memories is of the one time it snowed in South Texas in 2004. Truly once in a lifetime kind of thing down here. I love that these old digital camera photos have the date stamped on...so retro!

Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

In recent years on Christmas morning, I love to make a Christmas brunch with sweet and savory foods for my family to enjoy while watching the parades on TV. There's something about waking up Christmas morning, turning on the Christmas trees and getting to work in the kitchen while everyone's still asleep that is incredibly special to me. Then when they wake up, we eat and it's a fun, matching-pajama filled feast before opening presents and playing board games all day.

Here's a throwback to before they made coordinating PJ's easily available online. I had a thing for rubber duckies for awhile... my husband (then boyfriend) was enthused, can ya tell? My mom was always a good sport, bless her heart. (Love you mom!) Also, what's the corded thing behind her?

Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

I'm blessed to have my mom who is the sweetest, most caring person, my husband who is my bestest friend and confidant, and my niece and nephews who are still young enough to believe in Santa and in the magic of this season. Truly they, and all my other family and friends, are all the gifts I need this holiday season. Unless someone wants to pay off my mortgage. ;-)

So despite the losses I've suffered on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there's so much family to be thankful for that are with me here and now. That is the main reason why I feel gathering with family is important every holiday season.

In this spirit of family gatherings, the lovely folks at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods are hosting the Gift My Gathering contest that closes tomorrow! The contest inspires people to reconnect this holiday season with those they love and cherish. They also partnered up with the amazing Carla Hall for some tips and ideas for easy holiday entertaining to help you focus on what matters most -- your family.  Go enter through tomorrow via this link!

I buy so much of my decor at these stores year round to host my various family gatherings because they have fabulous prices, amazing selection, and I so love that they're giving back to five deserving families this holiday season. I would love for one of my lovely readers to win and report back on how amazing this opportunity was. I'm sending you good juju!

And now for one of my other favorite holiday traditions... Pee Wee's Holiday Pet Portraits! Here's the original when he was about three months old in December 2005. Pets are family, too, right? I'll be back with more DIY holiday goodness this week. xo!

Why My Family is the Greatest Gift

Fine Print: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Gift My Gathering is sponsored by The TJX Companies, Inc. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. and Puerto Rico, 18 & older. Begins 8:00 a.m. ET on 11/13/17 & ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 11/28/17. For official rules, visit giftmygathering.com.

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