Blog: Christmas Traditions Abound (12/24/21)


Today, many of our readers observe special traditions that may have bonded generations of their families around Christmas time, or are simply a new, but much-loved, activity that brings them closer to loved ones during the holiday season.

The Daily American Republic has often, during my years with the publication, shared some of those precious moments with our community, and this year I have asked readers and colleagues to share a few of their stories.

Here is what they had to say.

Reader Jane Stilwell said December is full of reasons and ways to celebrate for her extended family.

“During my 65th birthday, I have had many special Christmas memories,” Stilwell said. “Growing up, we would host both sides of our families for Christmas. “
She remembers her family getting up early, opening the presents, picking up and starting to prepare for the guests.

“We had soda in the house, which was unusual, and family members would bring food to help feed everyone,” she said. “Our grandfather Fairless usually pulled the turkey we ate.”

A holiday tradition, she introduced to my family, is to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then the others on Christmas Day. In Georgia, we enjoyed attending Christmas Eve services at midnight. Singing and praising with other believers at the start of Christmas Day is a special time.

Stilwell’s favorite keepsake is placing homemade ornaments on the tree.

“A few favorites have pictures of our kids on them,” she said. “Thinking about memories helped make decorating work more enjoyable. Finally, another tradition is to place children’s Christmas books on the coffee table for children and visiting adults to enjoy. As an adult I love to read classic Christmas books on the birth of Christ. When I was teaching, I added a book each year to the collection.

Pat Jakylovich said: “As I read your article, what occurred to me was O’Henry’s ‘Gift from the Magi’. “

Since high school, Jakylovich has “read this wonderful story every year. Two very poor and loving people offer their most precious gifts to please each other … It reminds me of something of the scriptures, ‘Money and gold I don’t have, but what I ‘have, I give it to you!’ “

Jakylovich shared another more relevant memory, which took place after the Thanksgiving meal.

“We piled into the car and headed for the ‘Lighting of the Plaza Lights’ in Kansas City, Missouri. Thousands of people, millions of lights creating a wonderland, ”said Jakylovich.

“Rain, snow, ice, cold, nothing stopped us for almost 30 years,” she said.

Although going on the hike no longer seems an option for Jakylovich, she remarked “but the memories are forever”.

A coworker can’t wait to spend Christmas with her family, where they always eat a shepherd’s pie on Christmas Eve, have a coffee cake on Christmas morning, and her father reads Luke’s Christmas story.

Another co-worker says Christmas is more fun as a grandparent. His role has essentially changed from being a parent to that of a grandparent.

This year our staff members have started what they hope will be a new tradition for DAR, welcoming Santa Claus downtown.

Staff members who helped with this year’s event said watching the children’s faces light up when they met Santa Claus and the joy of the families who attended the event was a wonderful way to celebrate with friends and neighbors.

My vacations seem to be different every year, but my decision is to celebrate them, whether with family or friends, with joy.

I challenge everyone to do something special for themselves and for others. Have a special meal, call someone and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Barbara Ann Horton is a writer for the Daily American Republic. She can be reached at

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