Our Staff’s Holiday Traditions
How do you and your family get into the holiday mood? This Christmas, we’re excited for you to get to know our team better by sharing the seasonal traditions of our Healthy365 staff members. Maybe you’ll find that you have similar holiday traditions, or maybe you’ll discover a fun new activity to add to your annual celebration.
The whole holiday Christmas season is packed with tradition. With the starting being Thanksgiving evening, my husband and children get the house ready with Christmas lights and with all the hype of the drumroll of the “Christmas Vacation” movie we stand outside in the yard with an official flip on the lights to let the world know it is indeed time to start celebrating the birthday month of Jesus. Throughout the month we attend as many fun Christmas events as we can manage with the finality of Christmas Eve service in our best pajamas then stopping for some hot chocolate made just the way we like it and touring the area for Christmas lights. Trying to sleep for the night before we celebrate as a family with all the food and merriment we can manage. But I must mention that in order for Mommy and now Grandma to stay sane throughout the holiday season I make meditation, prayer and moving my body a priority throughout the month, even rising early Christmas morning to get my selfcare routine in so I can stay mentally and emotionally full of joy for my family. Have to fill your own cup so you can fill others.’
Our traditions revolve around family. Christmas Eve day is spent with my husband’s side of the family where we enjoy lunch, exchange gifts, and the children get to spend some time with their cousins. Christmas Eve night will usually find us having dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant (which unfortunately is closed right now as it is moving locations) and watching our favorite Christmas movies at home. Christmas morning we enjoy opening gifts at home while listening to Christmas music and then visit my parents’ home for Christmas breakfast and exchange gifts. The remainder of Christmas Day you can find “A Christmas Story” running its 24-hour marathon on one of our televisions and all of us taking a nap at some point during the day. We just enjoy spending time together!
We have a few holiday traditions that we look forward to each year. One of my favorites is loading my children in the car with overflowing bowls of popcorn, hot chocolate, Christmas music and movies, and driving around our local community looking at the Christmas lights that neighbors take time to hang for others to enjoy. We also love waking early Christmas day to open gifts and seeing the joy and spirit the day brings. Instead of a “traditional” holiday meal, we always opt for sushi the day of Christmas and love having as many different rolls as possible and of course rice, always rice. Finally, my all-time favorite tradition is taking time for self-care including being as present as possible and taking time to slow down. To do this, I ensure to incorporate mindfulness as well as acts of gratitude to highlight the Reason for the Season.
I have a few Christmas traditions that are very important to my family. Our families spend Christmas Eve together and decorate sugar cookies and gingerbread houses every year. We look forward to painting our cookies, sharing stories and having screen-free fun together. On Christmas morning we enjoy opening presents while listening to Christmas music and the Yule Log burning in the background. In the early afternoon, you will find us taking a family walk around our neighborhood or Beckenholt Park before snuggling on the couch to watch “A Christmas Story.”
My holiday traditions are that on Christmas Eve we spend that time with my mother-in-law and their side of the family. This has been a tradition for many many years, going to my mother-in-law‘s house first and then going to my husband’s grandmother’s house for the evening. We sit around tables and have a good conversation while the kids play a variety of games in the basement. There is always some sort of fun craft for the kids to do. Then we get back to our house after midnight and get the kids in the bed and get ready for Christmas morning. It can be very exhausting but we love it. On Christmas morning, my parents and my brother are at the house and we do gifts together, then the rest of my side of the family comes over for dinner. It is very much revolved around family and just being with each other. Aside from the traditional family gatherings we like to go to Christmas at the Zoo and find a place to do drive-through Christmas lights.
Teri House Gottschalk
Our holiday traditions are all about family time and start with decorating the house inside and out, but never before Thanksgiving. No matter the weather, the outside decorations go up the weekend following Thanksgiving! That weekend also includes a trip to a local tree farm to select the tallest, skinniest tree we can find. Decorating the tree is a family event, including my four adult children, and two granddaughters. Waiting for the big day, we bake cookies and other treats to share with friends and our awesome cul de sac neighbors. Tinsel, our Elf on the Shelf has required a lot of attention this year, as he appears to be lazy and sometimes “forgets” to relocate overnight. We try to fit in an evening for enjoying light displays in neighborhoods, or places like Winter Lights, or the Fairgrounds display. Christmas morning we have cinnamon rolls and cocoa while opening our gifts from Santa. Late morning, my mom, sister and brother-in-law join us for more gift exchanging, then we enjoy a leisurely brunch and relax the rest of the day.
This year is extra special for my family and our Christmas traditions. We moved into our new home in November and have a new tradition of hosting Christmas with my extended family. We enjoy putting up our tree, decorating, and hanging all our “special” ornaments. On Christmas Eve we open one gift each and always have matching pj’s. Excitement fills the house on Christmas morning with opening presents together, Christmas music playing in the background, and the kids get a “special” ornament attached to one present each year. This is a family tradition my parents started with my brothers and I.
Our holiday traditions include spending Thanksgiving with our family from Georgia, either in Indiana or in Georgia, depending on how our harvest season is going. Traditional dinner and of course Black Friday shopping! The Christmas season is usually a whirlwind of preparing for the get-togethers, spending time volunteering for the Cheer Guild, and treasured time with all of our families.
We have a few holiday traditions that are a must-do each year. My holiday season kicks off the Friday after thanksgiving. We start with Christmas music all day, decorating the house, and going to our local tree farm to pick out the best tree. Once all the decorations are up, I like to spend the rest of the time baking all the best Christmas desserts! It isn’t a Christmas at my house without at least one screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Vacation.” Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and the day after are spent with family and enjoying good food.