By Taylor Makakoa

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are falling from the trees, (or at least they would be if we weren’t in Las Vegas), and that means that the holiday season is almost here. To me the season means so many things: get-togethers with family and friends; decorating the house (which Terry and I start in August, no use waiting ‘til the last minute); and most of all, it’s a time of giving.

Terry and I always have a great time shopping for presents for our “real” family and our extended show business family; it’s our way to show those who mean so much to us that we are thankful for having them be part of our lives. But in addition, I truly believe one of the great gifts during the holiday season is the gift of time. There are so many distractions during the year while I’m working and simultaneously finishing my degree that I make it a point during the holidays that Terry and I turn off the iPads and iPhones and enjoy giving each other our undivided attention … assuming our dogs let us.

And there is a third type of giving that I believe in—it’s giving to those who I may have never met in person but who are in need of help and support, especially at this time of year. A friend of mine introduced me to the practice of donating in lieu of gifts. I thought it was genius, and now most of our family joins us in our new tradition.

Regardless of how you chose to give and celebrate the holidays, here’s hoping that all of us in the Las Vegas community can keep the holiday spirit 365 days a year.

Taylor Makakoa is model and performer in Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment live at The Mirage