With Sandy, we lost the tree in our backyard, which, oddly enough, was a blessing in disguise.

One of the limbs came crashing down in the wind and, because of this, exposed all the rot and carpenter ants that were eating away our precious tree. Would have never known.

While our backyard is much more bare now, I'm glad we could avoid having a bigger disaster.

• Ridiculous co-workers

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It shouldn't come as a surprise when I tell you that the newspaper can be stressful. Try to wash the shock from your face.

It's much more bearable, though, when you have fellow reporters and editors who make you laugh every day and help you out.

Special shout out to Bryna Zumer, Nicole Munchel and former Aegis reporter Kayla Bawroski who is gone, but not forgotten. Seriously, I don't think I could get rid of her even if I tried.

• Hot apple cider

Delicious and saves my sanity at least once a week. What better reason is there than that?

• Friends, new and old

This year I reconnected with an old teacher and gained one new friend.

I'm watching my good friends grow up and do grown up things, like become a mom, get married and one, much to my chagrin, will be moving soon.

But I feel closer to them than ever.

Then there are those who live far away and one single text message or e-mail will put us right back where we left off.

• Having a home, not just a house, to decorate

When I put up my tree and hang decorations that I've collected over the years, or when I bake sugar cookies and decorate them, or even when I'm wandering around the mall trying to find my husband one last stocking stuffer because I have a hard time not buying every little thing he wants for Christmas, I truly never lose sight of how lucky I am.

I am thankful I have a home to put a tree in. I am thankful I have cookies to bake and people to feed them to. I am thankful I have a husband who is genuinely happy with every gift I give him, even if it's something small that I got with a coupon.

All that stuff is awesome.

One more thing: I'm thankful that my mom is making the turkey this year because she always gives me plenty of leftovers for turkey sandwiches. Love you, mom.