As the air becomes crisp and the scent of cinnamon and evergreen fills our homes, the holiday season beckons us to gather with loved ones and revel in the warmth of traditions. In a world marked by rapid change and constant innovation, there is a profound beauty in the steadfast nature of holiday customs that have endured through generations.
Discover a few of the long-standing holiday traditions some Coldstream team members hold near and dear to their hearts:
Alex Lambert – Director of Client Service
When I was younger, my parents bought a Mickey Mouse singing village that cycled through various Disney songs and holiday carols. After my mother passed away, my father gave the village to my brother since he had children first. My niece and nephews adore the village, which is great, but it made me a little sad because I loved the village and had so many memories of it throughout my childhood! Knowing this, my husband found the exact village on eBay and bought it for my birthday years before we had kids of our own. We put it up every year and our kiddos love it! Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto sing to us throughout December!
My family has a tradition of spending the holidays in Hawaii, where my mother was born and raised. This became a tradition after she passed away 18 years ago. The tradition became even more important after my brother suddenly passed just 6 years later. Recognizing that life is short, we value this precious time together in a beautiful place that represents our family history. Each year we incorporate extended family and friends to take part in this special tradition of aloha.
Watching all three extended editions of The Lord of the Rings movies on Christmas Day has been a tradition in my household for many years. That’s right, 11.5 hours of fantasy movie bliss combined with great food, family, and friends. If you’re coming over to enjoy Christmas with us, you’d better be ready to enjoy it with the entire Fellowship as well.
My wife grew up in a Norwegian family with strong Christmas traditions and we join their multi-day family celebration every year. I love taking part in their festivities, and was given a Norwegian sweater to wear along with her male relatives at their Christmas celebration as a symbol of my becoming a part of their family. I, however, grew up with one Catholic parent and one Jewish parent, getting to double-dip both Christmas and Hanukkah.
As my wife and I have begun to forge our own holiday traditions, we’ve added some bits of the Jewish holidays that meant so much to me growing up: we light the menorah, give small gifts for Hanukkah, and host an annual holiday feast to share the Jewish foods I grew up eating with friends and family.
Garrett Dean – Director of Operations
My dad always left out a bottle of Jack Daniels and pack of smokes by the fireplace for Santa. He told my sister, who was 4 years old at the time, that Santa was a boozer, and she was not happy. It became a running family joke; even going as far one year as putting an animatronic Santa on the roof with a cigarette in his mouth and an empty bottle melted into his plastic hand. Needless to say, my sister was not happy when she got home from school. The Santa display has gone up every year since.
My mom used to read us the Polar Express on Christmas Eve before bed. One year I even received a bell in my stocking! Last year I was able to carry on the tradition for my son’s first Christmas.
The halls are decked here at the Clark house, inside and out! We’ve got our 3 Christmas trees and a pair of Christmas jams for every night of the week. Movies, favorite holiday sitcom episodes, cookies, and music fill our home. We just can’t stop celebrating our favorite time of the year!
Until my grandmother passed away a few years ago, my family of immediate, aunts, uncles, and cousins, always gathered at my grandparents’ home on Christmas Eve to sing Christmas carols. We had bound books of sheet music, my mom would play the piano, and we would all sing – often in 3-part harmonies. We continue this tradition with my parents, siblings, and our kids. Music is a huge part of our lives and I look forward to this each year!
Our family cherishes the time we spend together during the holidays. Now with all our three kids are in college/beyond, getting the family together during the holidays is challenging. To preserve that family tradition, we’ve made it an unspoken tradition to fly from wherever we may be to get that quality, precious experience of being in one place, present and together.
My daughter and I have been going to midnight mass ever since she could stay up that late. We don’t belong to a church but my mother, who was very devoted to the Catholic Church, passed away on Christmas and going to a place that meant a lot to her is an opportunity for us to connect through the beautiful singing, candles, and incense. I have found this annual pilgrimage to be an opportunity to get quiet and reflect on the meaning of peace and hope. Although the background is sad, it is something my daughter and I look forward to each Christmas Eve and largely see it as a happy tradition.
Our holiday tradition consists of getting a little dressed up and shopping downtown around 2pm on Christmas Eve. We shop for last minute fun stuff until the stores close at 6pm and then head for our Christmas Eve dinner reservation somewhere fabulous and fun.