This year was special for our family, as everyone made it home for Christmas.

Catherine came early and brought newspapers not only from this trip, but also ones from her return to Denver at Thanksgiving.

Ellen and her husband, Brandan, came on Christmas Eve and returned Sunday to Lincoln. While her newspaper-gathering skills need improvement, her book selection for gifts, like her siblings’, is top notch.

Charles and his fianceé, Megan, came Christmas Day after hosting her family on Christmas Eve. Charles had been to Minnesota, so his newspaper selection was good. He usually brings that day’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, which you can get daily in Sioux Falls. He is also good at selecting excellent books for gifts.

Many years our kids, as I did when single, worked around Christmas, so their coworkers with families could have more time with family.

My first two years at college in Wyoming, I only came home at Christmas during the school year because of athletic commitments. I did get a second trip my sophomore year when Cowpokes track team came to Howard Wood Relays.

Over the years, our family became more flexible about getting together. One could skip the blizzard, wait a week and have clear driving. We have had our share of challenges with weather while flying, like flying over our destinations.

I have been privileged to attend some special events at the holidays, including the lighting of a South Dakota tree at the U.S. Capitol, and Christmas in New York City – I spent five weeks there at a special training program on Wall Street but I attended Handel’s Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra.

If you have an opportunity to experience a special event, I encourage you to do so, too.

Those type of events aside, the best Christmas is a multi-generational family get-together. While big gifts are nice, it is the small ones with special meaning or thought that count the most.