Holidays were always an amazing time of year for me. But nothing beats spending them with your family. Being in the circle of people you love makes all of it a little bit more magical. So, here are 10 reasons why it’s awesome to spend holidays with family:

Family dinner.

All of us gathering around the table to have a dinner together, from the oldest member, to the youngest. Lit candles and twinkling lights from every corner of the room. Everyone talking to everyone, not a single moment passes by in silence. Chatter is only stopped while we are stuffing our faces with amazing food that all of us helped make. It’s hard to top unity and delicious food in one place.

Taking a walk after a dinner.

Going out after you’ve eaten everything, and cleaned up the table, can be very fun. Part of the family is in the house, rolling around every sofa and comfy chair they could find. The rest of us is walking off the extra food we crammed into our stomach. Fresh air, snow, and relaxed talk after a nice meal makes me extremely happy.

Sharing family stories.

Aunts, uncles, and grandparents are there. You just know you’re going to hear some stories about your parents. You’ll hear stories of family members long before your time, and current ones as well. Some of them will be heard before, others completely new. Either way, being with family on holidays is a chance to be sent to some other time.

It’s a chance to connect with the rest of your family.

All of us have those family members you only ever see at family gatherings, when there are weddings and birthdays happening. Spending time together on holidays is an opportunity to get to know them. To see if you have any more connection to them than just a blood one. That’s how I reconnected with cousins I haven’t seen since childhood and found some of the closest friends in them I’ve ever had.

It’s a chance to do good.

When you gather in such big numbers, it is a great opportunity to help. Whether it’s your family member who needs it or a complete stranger. Why wouldn’t you organize something to help out at least one other family so they could enjoy their holidays too? Or at least invite them to spend holidays with you. Maybe collecting things for the ones who have nothing, and giving them away as gifts. Making others happy should make you happy.

Spending time with children.

Some of you have children that are grown up enough to follow their own paths. Holidays are the time when everyone goes back home. So it’s a great chance to spend all the time you can find with your children. Talk to them about things you might not be able to mention or evoke over the phone. Listen to them open up to you the way that can only happen when you are seeing each other’s faces and when they know they can hug you anytime they wish to.

Showing your parents you care.

As I am the child from the paragraph above, I just adore holidays, when I get to go home and stay longer with my family. My parents are getting older and all I can think of is that I never know how long their life is meant to be. I fear sometimes that the most recent time I saw them will be our last. So when we are together on holidays, I like to go out of my way to show them how much I care about them and how much I appreciate what they provided for me and everything they taught me. But mostly, I try to show my gratitude for all the unconditional love they gave me.

Cooking together.

One my favorite memories from childhood was food preparation. I never really knew if I loved eating more, or preparing the food I’m about to eat. That love was passed on to me from my mother, especially in time of holidays. Always sticking my head and little hands in every bowl and pan made me extremely happy. Mom letting me help made me happy even more. Cooking together still makes me feel the same, because I get to remember the time when such simple things gave me joy.

Celebrating old traditions.

Decorating a certain way, making dishes that are mandatory. Holidays are not the same without that one cake grandma always made. Every family has a little something of its own. Some of those traditions are too old to remember where they came from and way too deep in comparison to others. And holidays are ideal to remember them and save them from oblivion by passing them onto the youngest among us.

Celebrating and appreciating each other.

Spending holidays together is not just about celebrating that holiday itself. It is about celebrating your family. You get the chance to have a majority of your loved ones in one place at least once a year. Make the best of it. Show each other appreciation for being the way they are. For having your back and being a safe haven for you.

There are people around you who don’t have anyone supporting them and thinking about them. They have no one missing them. That is why you should never forget how fortunate you are to have them be there for you to spend holidays together and share your lives.