The 2021 Holiday Team wishes everyone a very happy, joy-filled holiday!
Here are some favorite memories and what we love about this season. Happy Holidays!
I loved the holidays when I was a child! The tree, the lights, the presents … the magic of Santa. When I had children, I wanted to share the wonder of the season with them. I would stay up very late on Christmas Eve – well into the early hours of Christmas morning – wrapping presents and making sure all the stockings were full, so that when the kids woke up, it would be magical. Now that I have grandchildren, I get to do it all over again! I hope everyone has a magical holiday this year!
My favorite memory was one Christmas when my family was living in Japan during the Vietnam war. My father invited several servicemen to spend Christmas day with us since they could not go home. It was special to include others in our simple family celebration.
As a youngster, Christmas was a time for the entire family to gather—I have 10 first cousins, all boys. My brother and I were the youngest of the cousins. It was the early 1960’s; we gathered at one of the relative’s homes on Christmas Eve as was our tradition (it was crowded), by the time we left there was 8 inches of snow on the ground. Some tried, but no one was going anywhere. All of us spent that Christmas Eve together, and by morning, there was almost 18 inches of snow on the ground. Being together as an extended family that Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning was a real Christmas miracle that I will never forget.
The holidays have always been very important to me. They’re a time when my family can set aside our differences, come together, and just be joyful and thankful for each other. Our traditions are always changing as more and more people get added to the family, but one that will never change is us watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on Christmas Eve. It’s my favorite!
I remember as a child realizing Santa and mommy had very similar handwriting to the Easter Bunny.
The holidays mean driving down to my hometown of Virginia Beach to be with my family and close family friends. It’s filled with lots of food and a Secret Santa gift exchange for the kids that my sister organizes every year. Sometimes the adults will participate in a White Elephant gift exchange.
My favorite memory of Christmas as a child comes from Christmas Eve at grandma’s. The entire family was together for one night, we played games, sung karaoke and of course the enormous pile of gifts didn’t hurt.
When I was a child, my favorite memories of Christmas included spending time with my family members, starting with my beloved dad, who always would kick off the Holiday Season by taking us to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed by ice skating at Rockefeller Center, or a show at Radio City Music Hall, and wide-eyed gazes into Fifth Avenue window wonderlands, as we enjoyed hot apple cider spiked with cinnamon sticks, roasted chestnuts and hard-to-find, hot-candied peanuts that would leave behind pink-powdered-fingers. Time spent with my dear grandfather, discussing the exhibits at myriad museums, made for some of my most wonderful holiday memories!
My favorite childhood memory of Christmas was travelling over 100 miles to my grandparent’s house in Whittier, CA, so that we could reunite with our extended family and spend Christmas Eve together. On this one magical night, there would be more than 100 aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, including my grandparents, packed under one roof. There were so many of us that we would have to sit down for dinner in shifts! We would eat traditional Mexican holiday dishes such as ‘menudo’ y ‘tamales’, that were handmade by my grandmother and her daughters, my aunts. The entire evening would culminate with a visit from Santa, who I later found out was played by my late grandfather, who delivered gifts and envelopes full of cash from the North Pole to all the children, young and old alike!
My favorite memory was the Christmas my sibling and I received a new video game system and some games.
I enjoy the smells that come with the holiday season. There’s just something about a warm house with the good smells of pies, bread, or other items baking in the oven, that makes it special.
Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year! May the holiday spirit fill your home and heart all year long.
In my family, the holiday season has always been a time for great deliveries, both under the tree, and also at the mailbox. My parents were proud Postal Service employees, so they knew, and I would later learn, what this time of year means to our customers. Around the time this Christmas photo was taken, back in 1991, I was writing wishes to Santa, the Thee Kings and telling anyone who would listen that I wanted nothing more than a new handheld video game system. Luckily, my wish came true! My parents (and the “big guy”) would deliver that gift underneath our Christmas tree that year — along with years of joy and entertainment! I can’t tell you how great it was to be able to stay busy playing Tetris, while my parents were busy helping the Postal Service deliver the holidays for customers all across New York City!
I can’t tell you how great it was to be able to stay busy playing Tetris, while my parents were busy helping the Postal Service deliver the holidays for customers all across New York City!
My earliest Christmas memory is having a tea party with my dad at 5 a.m. I was so excited this particular Christmas morning when Santa brought me my very own table and chairs and a yellow tea party set. My exhausted dad was kind of enough to sit and sip pretend tea with his three-year-old hostess. I wish I could go back in time and offer him something a little stronger … coffee, perhaps? My mom snapped the picture and it’s a reminder to me of all the work and love parents put into Christmas for their little ones which often become treasured memories later in life.
Mary Beth Levin
Food is central in my family. We are the kind of people who spend lunch discussing our plans for dinner. Food is how we provide hospitality and demonstrate our love. It was impossible to spend twenty minutes with Grammy Eileen without having at least two meals (resistance was futile: this was a woman who distributed full-size chocolate bars every Halloween). So, the hardest part of being away from family during the holidays was missing the family meals. Care packages were not just a taste from home, but a way to stay connected and feel included.
Opening stockings is my favorite part of Christmas. My parents were always so creative in what constituted “stockings” so growing up, my sisters and I never knew what we were going to get – one year they filled winter hats! Unwrapping each little fun or useful item, then pulling out the chocolate and candy, then finally the giant oranges and apples stuffed in the toe. As an adult, I love being able to play the role of stocking stuffer for my family and spend the whole year on the lookout for the best little gifts!
Gathering together with family has always been the best part of the holiday season for me. I was raised in a large family in a very small town. On Christmas, about 50 of us would spend the day at Grandma’s house cooking a feast, playing games, ice skating on the pond if it was frozen hard enough and exchanging gifts. We didn’t draw names, so there were a lot of presents under the tree! Now, I have six grandkids of my own and our traditions look a little different. Still, making memories with love and family rule the day.
Being of Polish heritage, I always look forward to celebrating Wigilia, a traditional meatless Christmas Eve supper my family shared with friends who also came to America from “the old country.”
Briana Pullen Wilkes
I love the holiday season! It’s a great time to decorate, bake and spend time with loved ones. I spend December nights watching cheesy rom coms and wrapping gifts for my friends and family. On Christmas Day I make a super fancy breakfast and appreciate all the good times I had throughout the year.
My favorite memory of the holidays as a kid was going with my parents to pick out the perfect Christmas tree at a nearby tree farm in Pennsylvania. We would trudge through the snow across the hills to find the perfect tree and my Dad would let me help hold the saw to cut it down. We’d then drag it back to buy it and drive it home on top of our vehicle.
The thing I appreciate most about the Holidays are the several family gatherings with food, festivities, and true appreciation for family. I am still confused as to why at age 51 I am seated at the kid’s table.
For 45 days, I love eggnog (the spiked kind!), holiday music, fireplaces, warm fuzzy blankets and family time. I am especially thankful this year for modern technology and the healthcare workers and scientists who have worked on the COVID vaccines. Last year was the very first time I wasn’t able to be with my family for Christmas, which has made this year’s Christmas even more important and special. Stay healthy. Happy Holidays!
Warm hugs, bright smiles, delicious food and time spent catching up with loved ones, those are just a few of my favorite things about the holidays. Staying up into the wee hours of the night quietly assembling presents followed by waking up in the early morning hours to a burst of holiday spirt are also cherished parts of the celebration. Luckily, I have very strong coffee. Happy Holidays!
I love spending time at home with family for the holidays. It’s the perfect time to relax, play games, and sit by the fire and enjoy some hot chocolate and a cozy blanket. My favorite holiday tradition is finding the ‘Christmas Pickle’ which is hidden by our parents for my sister and I to find. Because we have a nearly ten-foot-tall tree every year, finding the pickle proves to be difficult every year, but it’s fun and bragging rights for a whole year are at stake!