December at Close To My Heart means celebrations that come in all kinds of wrappings. Following tradition, we celebrated our annual company Christmas party this week, and with a delicious feast catered by Tucanos Brazilian Grill and gifts aplenty, there wasn’t a Scrooge to be found.
As part of the festivities, we surveyed some of our Yule-enthused employees to gather some of their personal favorite holiday traditions. Here’s what they had to say about this, the most wonderful time of the year:
What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
For Christmas Eve I go with my husband and girls to my sister’s place and we have fondue, eat until we explode, play lots of games, and laugh. The family has gotten quite large with nieces and nephews, so it is exciting. Throw in a bunch of dogs, and you can officially call it crazy. After doing that, my husband and daughters go to the Cathedral of The Madeleine for midnight mass. We love enjoying the religious side of Christmas. Sometimes we go to other churches to see how they celebrate the season. That is really one of our favorite things to do, sharing the season with every denomination. – Roxanne B.
We put a lot of emphasis on Christmas Eve as a family. We get together, open one of our presents (frequently pajamas), and we watch a Christmas movie while snacking on holiday treats. We also have a contest to see who can make mom cry (in a good way!) with the presents we give her. I like my chances this year! –Jen P.
We don’t do presents for Christmas. Instead we go on a mini vacation as a family. We also get “Christmas Dollars,” usually twenty $1 bills that are crisp and brand new from the bank! –Katelyn J.
What is one of your favorite holiday childhood memories?
My dad was really into Christmas and he always tried to do something to make it extra special every year. One year he put a red bulb in a flashlight, hooked it to a fishing rod and bobbed it by my bedroom window. The next morning, he asked if I was awake when Rudolph pranced around the house. But my favorite Christmas memory happened when I was about 7. The house I grew up in had super steep gables and I was really worried that Santa wasn’t going to come because he wouldn’t have any place to park his sleigh on the roof. My dad reassured me that Santa would just park his sleigh on the front lawn, but I wasn’t too sure. In the morning, though, when I woke up, there were sleigh tracks, reindeer hoof prints, and boot prints leading to and from the house. I remember being so excited that Santa found a way to make it work. As an adult, I asked my dad how he did it, and he told me that he carried a ski and a crutch (compliments of my sister’s broken ankle) out to the lawn wearing his boots. He used the ski to make the sleigh tracks and the crutch to make the indentations for the hoof prints. –Carlie R.
My parents surprising us Christmas morning with a trip to Disneyland. We left that afternoon. –Yvonne D.
When I was very young we had “elves” that started leaving gifts for each member of the family on the doorstep on Christmas Eve. They had gifts for everyone, hand-addressed to us from Twinkles, Beardsley, and Stardust. We kids were ecstatic, and my parents were completely clueless as to who it was. They’ve returned every Christmas Eve for the past twenty years, leaving gifts for whoever still lives at home. It’s not Christmas until the elves have come. –Mimi W.
What is the best present you ever gave?
The Christmas after my father passed away, I made a scrapbook for each of my siblings of pictures of my mom and dad when they were young, along with copies of a series of love letters that they wrote to each other during a few month period of time that they were separated before they got married. It was sentimental and loved by all. –Lorraine T.
I took a picture of the house my dad grew up in and created a poem to go along with it. Then I put it all together on a canvas for Christmas. –Gina C.
I made everyone in my family write inside jokes and reasons we love my mom on papers and then I put them in a book for her. She cried. It was awesome. –Erin N.
When I was pregnant I started making my daughter a family quilt. I made my brothers, sisters, including in-laws, embroider an animal to put on the quilt. Each of them also had to come up with a saying that could help her get through challenges. Oh, how fun it was to see grown men trying to make little crisscross stitches. The blanket hangs on her wall today. –Kami W.
What is the best present you ever received?
A handmade velveteen rabbit. –John Y.
Drawings from kids. –Travis B.
One time my daughter spelled out M-O-M out of Legos and gave it to me. It was awesome. –Jen S.
A quilt made by my grandmother the Christmas before I graduated from high school. I still have that quilt. –Lorraine T.
My husband wound 375 skeins of embroidery floss on plastic bobbins for me—amazing, right? –Cindee L.
What New Year’s resolutions will you make this year?
I don’t usually have that figured out until about March. –John Y.
I want to eliminate or simplify. There are so many things in my life that make it way too busy and hectic. I spend my time on some things that are pointless. So I want to eliminate things that are a waste of time or energy and focus on more important things. –Lindsie H.
Document more! –Katelyn J.
The same I make every year: lose weight, get healthy, watch less T.V. This year it will be different, right? –Becky L.
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I make goals on my birthday that I know will help me stay well-rounded. I do, however, pick a word of the year and find ways to focus on it throughout the entire year. It’s a great practice on intentional living and for me has evolved into a really meaningful and important exercise. –Laura B.
Whatever your own holiday traditions may be, we hope you have a season full of very happy memories made with those you love!