People everywhere have various points of view and different belief systems when it comes to this time of the year.
However, for the Bartlett family in Ritchie County this 2012 holiday season is one they never will forget and always consider a blessing from above.
This past Saturday at the Larry Richie Memorial wrestling tournament at Tyler Consolidated, it was just another day of grappling for Rebel junior 160-pounder Kyle Bartlett.
As a sophomore, Bartlett finished with a 24-13 record and was one victory away from qualifying for the state mat tournament in Huntington.
By the time last Saturday evening rolled around, Bartlett was in the 160-pound finals against Toronto's Chris Phillips and trailed 2-0 entering the second period when disaster struck.
"He was down and when the whistle blew he came up out of there and I got a bear hug on him," recalled Bartlett from his home Tuesday evening via phone. "I still had control of him.
"He switched his hips somehow and I landed straight down on top of my head. It was just one of those times where you didn't have control where you landed."
Bartlett continued to explain how Phillips ended up landing on his knees and he went over the top of his back. The first thing to hit was Bartlett's head.
"That was the last of it," Bartlett said. "I laid there for a little bit and I tried to go back out and go again.
"I took my injury time and I was going to go back and get out there. I got up myself, but he (Rebel head coach Allen Davis) wasn't going to let me go back out there."
As it turned out, Bartlett's final match of his junior season resulted in a runner-up effort after he had to default out due to injury.
Not long after walking off the mat, Bartlett said he started shaking. That's when his parents made him get into an ambulance and go to Sistersville General Hospital. Less than a half hour after arriving, Kyle and his family got the news his CT scan revealed a broken neck - or more precisely a break in the odontoid bone between the C1 and C2 disc.
"My parents made me go. I didn't want to go," said Bartlett, who was later transferred to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and came back Monday to Ritchie County.
Currently, Bartlett is trying to get used to his new halo neck brace that he must wear for the next three months.
He's not allowed to go to school at this point. The doctors don't want to take any chances of anything getting knocked loose.
Luckily, Bartlett didn't need a screw insertion at this point and if everything heals properly he can go back to being a student-athlete for his entire senior year.
"Usually, you are either paralyzed or you are dead," Bartlett added of the typical potential results from his kind of injury.
"I was one of the lucky ones. I'm going to try and make it to every match and support the team."
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org