Gentle Reader, we wish you a happy season, and a wonderful: Solstice, Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas, Kwanzaa, St. Nicholas Day, Epiphany, Bodhi Day, Las Posadas, Wigilia, Boxing Day, Saint Lucy’s Day, Chalica, Yule, Soyal, Yalda, Saturnalia, Pancha Ganapati, Dōngzhì, or Saint Stephen‘s Day.
Herewith, a scattering of Act-On employees tell us a few of their favorite things. We invite you to add yours, and tell us about your favorite winter holiday or custom.
Daniel Villar says: “A favorite Christmas custom of mine is caroling. I got to do that with a large group of friends around a neighborhood last year and it was tons of fun. And as a child, my favorite Christmas traditions were helping to decorate the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music, and getting Chinese food for dinner on Christmas Eve.”
David Pearce, who grew up in England, writes: “When I was a child, every Boxing Day my extended family would gather at my Uncle and Aunt’s flat in the Houses of Parliament in London. (My Uncle Leslie was the Chief Engineer for Parliament at that time).
“The day always started heavy with anticipation which grew we neared our destination: The drive through a fairly quiet central London, over Westminster Bridge and past Big Ben; being waved through one of the gates and saluted by a Bobby; the slow drive through silent court yards bounded on every side by ornate façades.
“Once we arrived there were joyous greetings, after which the games would begin: Hunt the peanut; charades, guess the present (my Aunt took great delight in wrapping things in a bizarre way and then providing cryptic clues), all punctuated with food stops and naps until finally we left for the drive home, which I don’t remember as my two brothers and I would fall fast asleep in the back of the car within minutes – which I’m sure was the most memorable part of the day for my parents.”
Stephanie Macon: “We have a family tradition – around 40 of my family members get together on Christmas Eve for a potluck dinner, performances (singing, reading, quiz shows, etc.) as well as a family game.”
Casey Klein (middle row, right hand): “I like to reflect on the miraculous birth of my amazing Savior who has changed my life, and make fantastic human pyramids with friends in ugly Christmas sweaters.”
Megan Nero: “I was not allowed to celebrate Christmas as a kid, so my first Christmas was when I was 14 years old. It sucked not having Christmas for so long but getting to experience Christmas for the first time at 14 was so amazing. I felt like I was 5 years old again. I couldn’t sleep, I put cookies and milk out ( even though I knew Santa was not real) I took in all the smells and sounds of Christmas for the first and was able to enjoy it even more then if my first Christmas was when I was a baby. I’ll NEVER forget that year. I have a Christmas ornament from my first Christmas that I put on the tree every year but instead of saying 1990 (when I was born) it says 2004 – which makes me smile every time I see it.”
Jen Machgan: “Every year at Christmas I make homemade German strudels and pastries like my Oma and Tantes (Grandma and Aunts) used to make to carry on the tradition. Another tradition is on Christmas Eve before we do our family gift exchange, we sing all the Christmas Carols including Stile Nacht (Silent Night) and O’ Tanenbaum (O Christmas Tree) to honor my Oma who is no longer with us.”
Ted Polhemus: “Every year, my brother & I have our photographs taken with Santa at the North Pole/Mall and mail Christmas Cards to family & friends. People really look forward to receiving the card and it has been able to cheer up even the biggest of grinches…”
“At our house, we are devoted to the Festival of the Last Minute. Among other procrastinations, we get our tree a scant few days before, then bring it in the house late in the day of Christmas Eve, and make a production, with family, of trimming it.”—your editor, Sherry Lamoreaux
Got a custom to share? We’d love to hear it.
Photo of Big Ben by PysProblem http://www.flickr.com/photos/phil_b/4200606344/ Used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.
“Gingerbread Man” photo by Paree http://www.flickr.com/photos/pareeerica/3321529873/ Used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.
“Beards” still from a Coca Cola commercial, which is rather heartwarming and worth a watch. Other photos in public domain, or from the collections of Act-On employees and used with permissions.