December is the season to celebrate Published Dec. 6, 2015 By By Chaplain (Maj.) Thad Todd 161st Air Refueling Wing Chaplain's Office PHOENIX -- Regardless of your culture or belief system, December is a month that is characterized by celebration. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia's Day, Bodhi Day, Yalda or other holidays this is a wonderful month to connect with family and friends. Holidays can be about more than good times and lots of food. We can use this time to create deeper relationships with those around us and help to inform the next generation about what is being celebrated. Three words to keep in mind as you celebrate are educate, embrace and encourage. Educate - Many times people celebrate a holiday and know very little about the whys and whats of their celebration. This season take the time to learn more about what you are celebrating and share your knowledge with others, particularly those younger than you. Learning the events and traditions behind your celebration will make it more meaningful to you in years to come and will enhance this year's celebration. Embrace - The holiday season is a time to reflect and embrace family and friends, both physically and emotionally. Take the time during the holiday season to have meaningful conversations with those you care about. Whether you are enjoying dinner, a sports event, board games or your favorite holiday movie, plan to spend time with those that are important to you. Encourage - We all like to hear words of encouragement from others. The holidays can be difficult for some people so we should make a special effort during December to encourage those around us. Encouragement to others can be expressed in many different ways. Some people respond to verbal words of affirmation or a quick note. Others get great pleasure from gifts, regardless of the size of the present. Giving time or money to those in need can make an impact that will last after the holiday season has passed. As an observer of Christmas, this is the time of year when I read about and reflect on the birth of Christ and the significance of His life on earth. I also spend extra time with my family. While we enjoy spending time together, we really look forward to some of our family traditions. One of the things that that we have done for years is to open one gift on Christmas Eve. This creates almost as much excitement as Christmas morning! As you prepare to celebrate the holiday season, take the time to learn about your celebration and enjoy some quality time with your family and friends.