December 20, 2012
Each year when Christmas time rolls around, it brings me back to my childhood and some of the happiest memories I have growing up. It is by far my favorite holiday of all time. It’s always filled with joy, excitement and goodwill towards others. I hope this season holds a special place in your hearts and homes and brings the same holiday spirit to each of you that it has brought to me each year. So as the song goes: “Here are a few of my favorite things.”
Trimming the Tree
Growing up we had a fake blue spruce tree that was covered in fake snow. This was my favorite tree of all time. Growing up in Florida, we never got to see snow, so my parents tried to bring a piece of “Winter Wonderland” to us. Tree trimming was and always is on the day after Thanksgiving. My mom and I would prepare the eggnog, hot cocoa, Christmas record line-up and the boxes of ornaments, while the boys were on light detail. We all had our favorite and special ornaments that only we were allowed to hang. We would line up in single file to wait for my mother to hand us our next hanging assignment. These ornaments are on our respective trees today and when I hang mine, I remember the specialness of decorating the tree with my family all those years ago. Each year, I always give ornaments as one of my gifts, so they continue to bring joy to that decorating tradition.
Counting Down the Days
Each year my mother always had the coolest advent calendars. She would hang them up in the dining room and each morning, we took turns opening the little door to the day. But the countdown didn’t stop with the calendar. We also made our red and green paper chains to hang up in our rooms. This way we were sure to have an accurate countdown. There was just something about “ripping” a link off the chain that made the countdown even more exciting. The advent calendar doesn’t have to end on Christmas day. You can turn your Kona calendar into one. Each day put an activity or outing into the calendar complete with a picture, website or video for the kids and watch their excitement continue when they open it up to find out what the day will hold for them.
Lights & Neighborhood Spirit
To this day, this is one of my most favorite things. I love the lights! My parents would load us all into the car the second weekend in December. We would have our travel mugs full of hot cocoa with Christmas tunes playing on the radio. My father would drive us around for hours through the different neighborhoods to look at the light displays. There was always one neighborhood that went all out. It felt like Disneyworld; we would wait in a line of cars for what seemed like hours to get our turn at a glimpse of the magnificent lights. (I still do this every year) Check your local newspaper or news website for neighborhood displays and hours and throw them into your Kona calendar so you don’t miss them!
The cookies, the fudge and the cookies! My mother would always enlist Andy Williams, Bing Crosby and us kids to help her bake cookies and fudge for our teachers, neighbors and co-workers of my father’s. We decorated and nibbled on mittens, trees and angels made out of anise and food coloring for an entire afternoon. My brother has kept this family tradition going in his household with his two little kids. One Kona user entered the holiday giveaway to share that he uses Kona to put the recipes, ingredients, cook time and reviews of all of his holiday goodies. He can print them out and will eventually be turning them into a cookbook to pass down from generation to generation. Love this idea; especially since I always call my mother to try and recreate the magic.
My absolute favorite part of Christmas is the spirit of giving and the goodwill shown during the holidays. There is definitely kindness at every turn. Whether it is a volunteer ringing a bell while passers by find something left to give after a day of shopping or someone picking a gift tag off a tree in a store to give a child they’ve never met the best Christmas they will ever have. To me, this is what Christmas is all about…bringing joy to others. Every year we fill up a bag of winter clothes and coats and donate them to the Goodwill. We participate in Toys for Tots and donate to the MSPCA for animals who also deserve to have a good Christmas. And this year I was lucky enough to participate in the Deltek Helps for the Holidays with Variety- The Children’s Charity. Giving these children a day just for them and seeing the sheer and authentic joy in their faces when they opened a bag of gifts was the best gift I will receive this year. My parents made sure as kids we gave to others we didn’t know each Christmas, and this is one tradition I am grateful they started.
Happy Holidays Kona Community!
Allison M. Community Manager