By The CSE Office Team
Holiday traditions are a great way to get in the Christmas spirit! Maybe you have a family that is festive or maybe holiday traditions are a foreign concept to you. If you would like to start a tradition, this is the year to do so! Our office team shared their favorite holiday traditions. We hope this blog inspires you this Christmas season!
Amidst all the presents, get-togethers, and celebrations there are pure moments of joy that I adore about this time of year! The build up to the Holidays is a favorite, but nothing beats my all time favorite tradition of decorating the tree. When I was little, each year we set up the Christmas tree together as a big family singing along to the Christmas music being played in the background. We would hang collected ornaments from years before that commemorated the things we have done, places we've been, and things we have seen. Now I get to carry that tradition with me into my home. My parents have handed down ornaments to me that have a special place in my heart. As I grew up, my now husband and I Colby, boyfriend at the time, started a tradition where we pick out a new ornament together each year. The first year, him being a firefighter, we got one of a fire truck and one that said "my hero," because he truly is! This year we took on a huge endeavour and bought our very first house! I can't wait to hang up our house key on the tree as our ornament this year! Although, I do still have what I like to call my "Pottery Barn" Christmas tree that's all color themed and symmetrical, the one that means the most to me is the mish-mashed collections of memories.
The Christmas season for me has always been a time of being with family, and enjoying so many traditions such as decorating the Christmas tree, sipping hot cocoa out of home-made mugs, baking sugar cookies with my cousins, and decorating the house in Christmas lights, just to name a few. But the tradition that I am most fond of is the one where we give to children in need. When I was a little girl, my church hosted a drive for collecting shoe boxes to give to kids in the world who live in poverty. This charity called “Operation Christmas Child” through Samaritan’s Purse, provides shoe boxes filled with gifts to kids who would not otherwise receive any Christmas gifts. My mom would take my sister and I to the store and we would be so excited to pick out the perfect amount of gifts for another little girl or boy our age. I was surprised to learn that I enjoyed that process of shopping, wrapping, and shipping off those shoe boxes for someone else more than I enjoyed making my own list. Since that year, it’s still a favorite tradition of mine that makes me feel connected to the giving season a little more.
Christmas is one of the only times during the year that everyone in my family starts to slow down and prepare to take a few days to disconnect from everything and reconnect with those around them. One tradition that has always stayed true to the very first time I remember, is placing the tree topper as the final touch. Any sort of decorating during the holidays has always been different every year since my family has complete opposite schedules from one another. No matter where we go for Christmas, a tree must be present no matter how big or how small. Even if it is a last minute trip to Utah or Lake Tahoe, decorating a tree is very important since it is one of the only things we really have time to do together, other than buying Christmas presents of course!! It is unlike many family traditions I know of where people start to decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but for me it has always been like that. It usually happens on Christmas Eve since that is my parent’s anniversary. We will all dress up with something festive and cozy (including our lovely dogs and lizard) to decorate the tree with the theme we choose and play some Christmas music in the background. The tree topper symbolizes unity because we gather a few chairs and all place it on top of the tree together once we believe the tree is fully dressed. We are careful to not knock the tree over since our dogs and lizard are in each of our arms at the time because they are the heart of our little family. Once the tree is done, we wait until midnight on Christmas Eve to begin opening presents to finalize the late night tradition and we look forward to celebrating the New Year wherever we might be.
The Holidays are my favorite time of the year! Christmas is a time of hope and excitement! I come from a large family and Christmas has always been a big deal. We decorate Christmas cookies, look at Christmas lights, watch Christmas movies, host parties, exchange gifts, and eat delicious food. It is easy to get lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, which is why I have always appreciated my family’s Christmas-Eve tradition. Every year, we attend a church service and get dinner at a greek restaurant after. We get to sing Christmas carols, hear the Christmas story, and eat tasty Saganaki at dinner; but Christmas-Eve is more than a church service and amazing cheese. It challenges me to slow down and intentionally remember what I am celebrating and why I am celebrating it. I get to celebrate the hope I have because of Christmas. It allows me to be a part of something so much bigger than myself!
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog! We are so grateful for each and every one of you. Happy Holidays!