Welcome to the Christmas season.

In a few short days, I will be sharing leisure time with my husband and enjoying the delight of my children as they await Christmas Day.

Those who know me know that I can be, well in a word, a Grinch during this holiday season. I donít get caught up in the Christmas decorations or go overboard with attending all the festivities, though I might add that my boys and I watched and enjoyed the Christmas parade in St. Pauls, N.C., Dec. 1.

Just going to that parade brought back a lot of memories. As a child, my mother took my brother and me to Fayettevilleís Christmas parade every year. Ever punctual, we always arrived early, watched the parade of participants and eagerly looked for Santa at the end of the parade. As we walked back to our car, she, without fail, would ask if we enjoyed the parade and wanted to return the next year. We always said yes.

Christmas around our home was a time of decorations galore, stocking up on fruit and nuts, the smell of ham, turkey, greens, and cakes wafting through the air. Each Christmas, up to the time I went away for college, gifts for me and my brother would be divided on each side of the tree with a note from Santa neatly written on each present.

I donít remember the precise year when Christmas for me ceased to be about the parade or decorating a Christmas tree. I donít know when I became a Grinch.

I know that Iíve always enjoyed the Biblical aspect of Christmas. Isaiahís scripture, ďFor unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,Ē reminds me that Christ was and is the best gift that humankind will ever receive.

In the years since my children were born, Iíve done better about embracing Christmas, if only for their sake.

They get gifts from Santa, each addressed specifically to them.

I make sure the chimney area can accommodate Santaís visit. Sometimes, we leave snacks for Santa.

The grandparents and aunties and uncles stop by each Christmas Day to share in the childrenís joy, and we make our way to church.

Maybe, itís because my husband and I are cherishing our quality time more in the last year or so, or maybe itís because weíre watching our sons grow like trees, that we root ourselves in Christmas so much more now, but Iím happy to say Iím becoming less of a Grinch.

Iíll relinquish some of the sadness that has surrounded Christmas since my grandfather died on a cold December day in 2001.

I still donít go overboard with the decorations, but a nice tree doesnít hurt. This year, because green is the color of leukemia, weíve decorated our tree as such in honor of my husbandís struggle with cancer. I got the idea from a dear friend who decorated her tree pink in honor of her motherís battle with breast cancer.

This year, weíll put out a snack for Santa and make sure the children go to bed early.

This year, weíll enjoy singing Christmas hymns with our church Family and remember that on a silent night in Bethlehem, a Prince of Peace was born.

God bless those who have served and those who are still in service to this nation ... may you have the merriest Christmas of all.