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With Christmas Day behind us, but Christmas still among us — it’s “The Second Day of Christmas,” after all — I hope you all enjoyed the big day with family and friends, or just relaxed and enjoyed a day off. I know I certainly did!

Perhaps I enjoyed it a little more this year in light of the tragedies that occurred in recent weeks, particularly the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings and the equally tragic shootings and deaths of firefighters near Rochester, N.Y., on Christmas Eve. I watched and relished every smile, every squeal of delight and every look of intensity and enjoyment that my children displayed with their gifts and things we did. I still hold in my mind my 3-year-old son pointing and happily shouting, “BUZZZZZZ!!!” and “WOODYYYYYY” as we watched “The Disney Parks’ Christmas Parade” on ABC on Christmas morning. Yes, he is a big “Toy Story” fan, and Santa brought him stuffed Woody and Buzz dolls for Christmas!

Another thing I actually savor and really take in every Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is the calmness that seems to envelope the area as we travel. Heading north to Ashland on Christmas Eve to attend Mass with my family, the traffic slowly dissipates. Gone are the long lines awaiting that left turn up the hill to the Fairlane Village mall and the traffic clog at the bottleneck on Route 61 in Schuylkill Haven. Area business parking lots are mostly empty, and the lights are turned down low inside the establishments.

On Christmas Day, not many vehicles are out and about. It’s kind of nice, not so much for the fact that it makes for great travel, but that people are either enjoying the holiday with family and friends or are just taking the day to kick back and relax.

All is calm, all is bright — at least for a little while. …