Steph, HR Practice Leader
“My favorite holiday traditions are baking, drives to look at the Christmas lights, and Christmas morning brunch.”
Bonus – Steph’s mom!
“My mom was one of 14 kids and they had no money. The smell of wet paint makes her think of Christmas. Why? Because Santa could not bring them new toys. But what Santa could do was paint their old toys and leave them under the tree Christmas morning.”
Bailey, Assistant Controller
“My favorite Christmas Eve tradition is the Green family’s white elephant gift exchange - always something that makes us all cry as we're laughing so hard. My second favorite is the family holiday jam sessions with my husband Grant on the violin, my mother-in-law on the accordion, and me on the sax. Great moments.”
Erica, Staff Accountant
“My family holiday tradition is getting a couple of new Christmas ornaments from my grandmother on Christmas every year for my tree. This is something she's been doing since I was a baby, so when I finally moved out, I had enough ornaments to fill my new tree! My grandma started it because her first Christmas when she moved out, she had nothing to decorate her tree with, so she wanted to make sure we always had plenty when we moved out! It's my favorite thing about the holidays.”
Lenise, Staff Accountant
“Christmas is all about food and games in my family. We look forward to some Puerto Rican holiday dishes like pasteles, pernil, and alcapurria (all fattening dishes). We play silly games, dance, and laugh a ton! Best part is we open all the gifts on December 24th, which is called Noche Buena.”
“This year will be the 40th Annual Christmas Cemetery Tour. When I was a sophomore in college, my brother died of cancer at the age of 30 on a brutally frigid, crystal-clear Christmas morning. Needless to say, anniversary grief for my parents was always apparent after that. My dad wasn’t one to express his emotions much, but he would ask me, every subsequent Christmas, if I could take him to Wood National Cemetery so that he could visit his son’s gravesite. We would go, shiver, and my dad would keep his thoughts to himself as did I. We continued to do this until my dad could no longer make the pilgrimage prior to his death. The next Christmas, I offered to take my feather-weight of a mother on the same journey. She gladly accepted and we continued, again, until her death.
After that, my Christmas Day didn’t seem complete without taking the trip, so I began to take my daughter. We would visit my brother’s grave, those of my parents, and my mother’s parents. Typically, we would then go and spend some “daddy-daughter” time, often by visiting the Mitchell Park Conservatory (“The Domes”) and have a bit of a lunch, celebrating our lives together.
My daughter has since married and moved away. Because of my divorce and her marriage, I get to see her about once every 3 years for Christmas, but when we do share it, we take the tour, just like old times. In those years when she isn’t around (like this one), I take the tour myself. I spend a few moments, just like so many others, being with my family, remembering the good times.”
Angie, Staff Accountant
“My family has a few holiday traditions. My mom gets all the grandkids ornaments every year so when they are adults, they will have them from each year to decorate their own trees. Growing up, I was allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas. I do this with my kids also - sometimes I add a movie night pack with a new movie and snacks. We also drive around town and look at Christmas lights every year!”
“My tradition was Christmas Bingo - every year on Christmas Day, we would always host Christmas bingo at my family's house. Everyone would bring a gift or a knick-knack and when you won the round of bingo, you got to pick a gift. It started as just my family and both sets of grandparents. As uncles and aunts from out of town would visit, our bingo games got bigger and bigger. We had three generations sitting around a table, or wherever you could find room in the kitchen for your bingo card, playing bingo for hours on end. The real highlight was when we finally upgraded and got a spinner to make our experience more official.”
Louisa, Tax Practice Leader
“In my family, we always give the turkey his due, and no Christmas is allowed until after Thanksgiving. Growing up, I loved waking up that Friday to my mom playing her favorite Christmas album by Amy Grant or my dad playing The Tractors. This was also the only day all year my siblings and I willingly cleaned our house (while singing at the top of our lungs) so that we could decorate and get our tree!
Christmas Eve is the biggest celebration in my family. As kids, we participated in our Christmas Eve service, which most years my mom actually wrote - that's how involved my family is at my home church. Even now that we've all moved away, we show up for Christmas Eve and my mom hands us the choir music and all the kids and sons-in-law join the choir. Each year at the end of the service, all the lights are turned off, and the entire congregation has candles lit while we sing Silent Night.
Santa comes while we're all at church, so by the time we get home on Christmas Eve, all the presents are out. My sisters and I switch out our dressy shoes for Christmas socks and we eat soup that my mom and older sister have made (at least 2 or 3 kinds), and then we all find a spot on the living room floor to open presents. Now that we all have kids too, we let the grandkids tear into all their gifts first, and then the rest of the family goes around and around, youngest to oldest, one gift at a time. Also, it's not really Christmas unless at one gift makes the recipient cry.”