The value of the season evolves with age, and while many of the traditional aspects of the holidays are still in place, the value of being with your family and celebrating the holidays together has universally changed.

As we age, this joyous season becomes less about presents and more about being together. The mentality of a child transitions from anticipating Christmas morning and gift-opening to looking forward to spending time with loved ones.

Most kids remember watching holiday specials, playing outside all day, hearing those classic tunes around every turn and having one thing on his or her mind… PRESENTS! At that age, you do not think that you are seeing an aunt for the first time in years, or that grandpa’s business is doing well — you just want to watch cartoons and eat good food.

With time, and especially when one reaches university age, the presents are still nice, the lit trees around town are still inspiring, but the aunt you have not seen in years and your grandpa’s business become a point of interest. You begin to pay attention to the loved ones you may take for granted throughout the year.

“I value my family much more than I used to, especially my sister,” Meagan O’Brien, a sophomore animal science major, said.

With the hustle and bustle of modern life, many families are, in some way, separated. Not every family can be off in 10 different directions and still come together at the end of the day.

“This Thanksgiving was the first time in six months that my immediate family had been together in the same state,” O’Brien said.

The holiday season provides the perfect excuse for families to reconnect, even if it is for the first time in a long time.

One day, we will be out of college and focused on our lives, and the value one places on this season will change again. We will talk to our aunt and grandpa, sharing stories from when we were young, and watch in loving awe the toddlers just beginning their holiday journey.

The holiday season has always been about coming together as a family, reminiscing with relatives and celebrating being together.

So this year, Rams, go home, shut off your phone and spend quality time with your loved ones because even if not salient to you, it is to them.

I wish each and every one of you safe travels this season, well wishes and happy holidays to you and yours.

This article was created for the Holiday Gift Guide produced by College Avenue Magazine staff.