“Mommy, even if none of those gifts under the tree are for me, I’m still thankful because I have family.”

True words from my cousin reciting her daughter’s first words from Christmas morning. The story took 3 takes, twice interrupted by the 5-year old’s closeup cameo in search for games on her mother’s phone. I had to have watched that story almost a dozen times. Yea, it’s a heartfelt video and I’m sure it warranted a slew of emojis. But it represented the household she’d built and the morals their family had practiced even at such an early stage.

This sparked a marathon of snapchats where I played wallflower to a number of families throughout the day.

It’s safe to say that everyday on Snapchat is a quick glance into one’s life. But today was different. Today, Snapchat had one theme and hundreds of versions of it. People’s stories would introduce a storyline that wouldn’t be continued until hours later. Regardless, I’d stick through the buffering just to catch the series finale.

I couldn’t describe the feeling other than nostalgia at its finest. I didn’t post one story but I poked my head into the window of over 20 living rooms. I saw every stage of the tradition. From young parents running their children through adventurous Christmas Eve journeys in hopes they sleep steadily through the night. Down the list, I saw a girl who had her first chance to treat her parents after her first “real world” check. I got to witness the surprisingly inconspicuous 11-year old kid rave about the do-it-yourself gift he’s been keeping quiet for his parent’s gift. One of my friend’s even posted one Snapchat from each of the five cities he traveled to with his family for the holidays.

The view was fulfilling to say the least because of the love and energy radiating from these evolving stories. I caught myself laughing as kids opened the gifts their mothers were so excited/exhausted from the night before.

Though I did take a quick intermission to see DJ Khaled water his inanimate lion.

The biggest realization of mine was the whole process of both the younger kids who snapchatted their Christmas experience and the others who did the same but gave me an entirely different perspective. The experience likened itself to a montage from the end of any Tyler Perry movie, your pick.

Since the teens, Christmas became less about the getting and more about the giving. The routine question of asking your brothers or sisters about your dad’s Christmas gift always comes up just days before. Still, if you’re lucky your stocking stuffers will come through in the clutch.

As one who started to slide into the feeling that Christmas is just another day, I admit listen to much holiday music or watch Home Alone this season. But even without the bells and whistles, I felt right at home watching Christmas through the eyes of friends and family.

Is this what Santa feels like?