Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.
Many of the most meaningful memories of our lives stem from holiday traditions like baking cookies, decorating a tree, or opening gifts. Such simple acts – repeated year after year – become ingrained in our minds, and we look forward to them for the memories they bring back and the ones they promise to create.
Two weeks ago, we wrote about a few of our favorite traditions and invited you, our community, to share yours. We were overwhelmed by the incredible stories. Some were filled with humor and others brought back warm memories of lost loved ones. All reminded us of the importance of traditions in strengthening relationships.
We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we do!
A granddaughter remembers her grandparents
Raine from New York sent us a wonderful memory of her grandparents and how she’s planning to continue the tradition with her family.
After Christmas dinner, my grandfather and grandmother would dress us as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, sneak around the back of the house, and knock on the front door. One of my family members would open the door and in comes Mr. and Mrs. Claus with a sack of presents behind their back!
They would sit down and start taking out presents with someone’s name on it and each of us would sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what we wanted for Christmas, and we would have our pictures taken. Even the adults participated!
At the end of the party, we would all have an album of pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus that we could cherish throughout the year. We all loved it! What an amazing tradition – I can’t wait to carry it on with my family.
Decorating the tree with memories
Krista wrote to us about her kids, ornaments, and cinnamon buns.
Every year since my children were born, I have gifted them with a meaningful ornament. It reflects a moment in time that, when we reminisce about each ornament, is a reminder of a part of their journey growing older. These ornaments represent important moments in their lives.
Now they are older and at 14, 20, and 22; however, they still look forward to the ornament specially gifted in honor of their life story that year.
On a lighter note, I also make cinnamon buns. Nothing fancy. Straight out of a can. One year I forgot, and I never heard the end of it from my kids. This just proves that memories and traditions do not have to be fancy, just meaningful.
A daughter’s memory of her dad
We received a particularly moving memory from Helen about her father.
When I was a little girl, we were very poor. I was the youngest of four kids and our house was small. But we never knew how poor we were. We always had clean clothes and full bellies.
My dad would always go into the woods and would get our cedar Christmas tree. He would set it up – after a few choice words not meant for kids’ ears – and would tie it to the wall so it stood and stayed in place. Dad always put the lights on it with the greatest of care. Then mom would come along and put the ornaments on. This was back in the 60s, so my siblings and I weren’t allowed to handle the ornaments since they were glass; however, we got to put the icicles on the tree.
I learned as I got older how Dad always found the perfect tree, and that he shot it down. That’s right, he would shoot our tree down because he thought it kept the top beautiful and green. I guess it also prevented any squirrels or raccoons from coming home with him.
I really miss my dad and his trees. How I would long to hear him grumble when the tree wouldn’t stand straight. He passed away 12 years ago in a tragic accident, one of the worst days of my life.
So, this year in his honor, I have a cedar tree. I grumbled a little when I put it up, I broke out in a rash because I’m allergic to its branches. But dad, this one is for you. I could feel your presence as I put the lights on.
I will forever cherish our tiny house and beautiful trees. I hold you in my heart dad, and even though I didn’t get to say goodbye, I love you.
Love your youngest born, Helen
A class shares its favorite holiday traditions
We were delighted to receive an email from Kathleen, a special education teacher in Syracuse, New York. Last week, her class read our newsletter on holiday traditions and came up with a list of their own to share with our community. They created their own funny pen names and included a collage of their favorite memories.
My favorite Holiday Tradition is when my Mom makes Christmas dinner for my family. The food is really good! When we eat we put up the Christmas tree. Mom and Santa Paws make Christmas cookies for Santa Claus and Dasher puts the carrot out for Rudolph!
– Santa Paws
My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies with my mom. We get to go shopping together for all the ingredients. I enjoy mixing the ingredients together. After the cookies bake we frost them. My favorite color frosting is blue. My house smells good after we make cookies!
– Square Turkey
My favorite holiday tradition is Christmas! It is something I really like! Christmas brings families together. It brings back happiness and joy! I like Christmas because I can spend time with my family and friends. Hanging out with family and friends brings back joy!
– Hazel Blue
My favorite holiday tradition is opening gifts with my family. I like finding out what is inside the wrapping paper. I open the presents slowly because I don’t like to do it fast. I like Santa Claus paper because it’s cool! It’s a big mess at the end because the wrapping paper is all over the floor.
– Silly Elf
My favorite holiday tradition is playing with nutcrackers. A nutcracker cracks nuts. When you pull the lever on the back it cracks the nut. My favorite kind of nutcracker is a gingerbread nutcracker. I think nutcrackers are fun to use during the Christmas season.
– Jack Hoop
My favorite holiday tradition is to open presents with my family. I like to go to my aunt’s house to open presents. I like to spend time with my family. I once got an apron from my grandma for Christmas. Opening presents with my family is wonderful!
– Jingle Elf
Happy holidays to all our friends at Solvay Union Free School District!
And thank you to everyone who shared a holiday tradition and memory with us. We hope these stories inspire you to continue your own traditions – and create new ones for the years ahead!
All the best,
Chris & Jim