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Chuck's column: Christmas family traditions from 'The Mouths of Babes'

Do you remember this holiday season when you were in high school? Do you remember how you felt about these holidays as a teenager? I know I always looked forward to the time off from school. And of course, I always looked forward to Christmas Day, simply because it was Christmas Day. I am the third child in a family of six kids. My oldest brother is seven years older; the next is five years older; then it's me. Then my sister seven years later and finally, the twin boys, who are 10 years younger than I.

Christmas Eve wasn't really anything in our home, aside from the anticipation of Christmas Day and watching a holiday movie on one of the networks that night. In my junior year of high school, I was asked to play Santa for the nursing homes in my town for the Salvation Army and to bring my friends with, so we could carol through the halls, delivering gifts to the residents living there. It was a gratifying and humbling experience. It was also a sad experience. I remember leaving the nursing homes in my suit crying each year because of what I had seen.

In any case, if someone had asked me then what it was I looked forward to concerning this holiday, I am not sure I would have answered with a "family" type answer. However, I posed the question to my upperclassmen recently; they recorded their thoughts on a note card. So, once again, from "The Mouths Of Babes," enjoy these surprising and responses. There is a definite theme here.

"My favorite tradition during the holiday season is when my grandparents fly in from New Jersey for Christmas. On New Year's Eve, we always open the family gifts and then gather around and watch 'The Christmas Story' together."

"I look forward to game night with my family after the holiday dinner."

"My favorite tradition is making homemade pizza on Christmas for dinner. We make rally cool designs with the toppings!"

"Less fighting (always nice). Despite the fact we are 17 and 18, we continually become giddy on Christmas."

"Christmas Eve party at my Grandma's house and then sleeping over and waking up to a glorious Christmas breakfast."

"Usually on Christmas morning, me and my dad or a friend will go out pheasant hunting that morning and try to bring home some fresh dinner for the evening." I can't help but wonder what happens if they DON'T bring back dinner.

"My family always goes to the cabin and has a 'family competition' ice hockey game on the lake. We actually go as far as flooding and zamboning the ice."

"Every year before Christmas Eve my mom, dad, brother and I go around looking at lights."

"We go around and share what we have accomplished and what we hope to accomplish."

"The thing I look forward to around the holidays is Christmas Eve; we always go to my grandma's after church."

"I look forward to my family coming together. We're all so busy that it's hard to find a time when we can all come together as a family and spend time together."

"Being with my entire family." That sums up most of the responses. It all seems to about family. There's hope.

Next week -- a special column. My Christmas present to you.