The Law Offices of Justin B. Stivers

Justin B.Stivers T H E L AW O F F I C E S O F A P R O B AT E F I R M


December 2018

Why Have Just 12 Days of Christmas When You Can Have a Whole Month?

Christmas was always a big deal in my family when I was growing up. We celebrated the holiday with the various traditions that are common to most families: wake up in the morning in our Christmas pajamas, go downstairs for a traditional breakfast, then sit by the tree and open presents. The routine provided a platform for us to forge bonds with each other. But just because Christmas morning was pretty standard doesn’t mean the rest of the month was. I learned to love the holidays because of a tradition my mom and dad started for us kids. They had a unique calendar that they would pull notes from; on each note was written some kind of gift for us. There was a gift every day in December, each one unique and exciting. They weren’t monumental presents but small and deliberate. One day might have been having ice cream together, and another would be an activity of some kind. The tradition evolved, and as we grew, so did my parent’s efforts. Now that I’m older, I understand the attention my parents put into it. I respect the effort, but even more, I appreciate the purpose. The emphasis was never on gifts; it was about doing something together so we could grow closer as a family. Holidays like these remind me of how life changes. As more nieces and nephews enter the equation, my family’s Christmas priorities shift. My oldest nephew is 5 years old, so our focus is now on the young kids, making memories for them that will last a lifetime. The emphasis was never on gifts; it was about doing something together so we could grow closer as a family.

It’s a welcome shift for me because as I grow older, I find joy in the time I get to spend time with my wife and family. Of course, navigating Christmas as a newlywed provides interesting revelations. For example, in my family, we had a fake tree decorated with a random assortment of ornaments with no method to the madness. It’s not uncommon to see one of mine from when I was 4 years old next to something brand-new. We weave in some colored lights as an Elvis Christmas album plays in the background. It takes about an hour and a half to decorate, and we make a day out of it. On the other hand, my wife prefers a real tree, hates colored lights, and believes ornaments should be neatly placed

on the tree. Luckily for me, we have our place, and my parents have theirs.

The city of Miami inspires me, but being home in Knoxville grounds me. Every time I push my life forward, I go back for the holidays and remember the roots of it all. The more I progress, the more I find it essential to spend time with family. It allows me to grow closer to those who truly make me better. Life always needs that balance, and Christmas is the perfect time for it. I hope everyone finds that this holiday season.

_Justin B. Stivers | 1

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