This is the first Christmas in 24 years that I will not lay on my parent’s couch, with my family dog curled up behind my legs, watching Ralphie shoot his eye out, and eating Chinese food while reminiscing about wonderful moments passed. It is the first holiday season that my best friends won’t come to my house to eat snowball cookies, listen to the N’Sync Christmas album on repeat, and have an hour-long photo shoot by our tree. Above all else, this will be the first time that my mother will not read me‘Twas the Night Before Christmason Christmas Eve. And yes, I understand the absurdity of my previous statement. I am 31 years old and my mom will snuggle up with me every year and as I hear the words “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, I’m assured that all is right with the world. And although the thought of this Christmas has been somewhat unbearable for me at times, I am also reminded of what this holiday truly embodies. I am fortunate to have these incredibly joyous collections of thoughts to flood my memory. I am grateful that I woke up to gifts under the tree, that I had a holiday meal shared with loved ones, and for the traditions made better with each passing Christmas. Not all children have the opportunities that many times people take for granted. Since I’ve become a teacher, there is nothing I love more than the day before winter break, when “my kids” and I curl up on our classroom rug and I share with them the magic of my favorite story. I haven’t quite perfected the jolly Santa voice that my mom uses each year, but my students don’t seem to mind. Their eyes light up with innocence and belief. They believe in the joy of something more than themselves. Books take children on an enchanted ride through mysterious lands and fascinating wonders. Not only will I be excited to once again read to my students this year, but I am also anxious to get back to the Boys and Girls club with our donated books and enjoy every moment of our time together. I am excited to provide them with an opportunity to appreciate and love books and Kevin and I are both very grateful to have had such tremendous supporters so far. So, if you are looking to find the perfect present for a loved one this season, know that not only will you find a great shirt for a special girl in your life, but you’ll also provide the gift of literacy.