For our final Centric Commemorates for 2022, we gathered stories from our employees about their favorite winter holiday traditions. Happy Holidays!
In this special Centric Commemorates we are sharing stories from our employees about how they spend the winter holidays.
We are also including information about some of the other winter holidays celebrated in cultures around the world.
Enjoying the Traditions
We celebrate Diwali by buying new clothes for everyone in the family. We decorate the house with lights, rangoli, marigold flowers, mango leaves and earthen lamps. We gather with friends and family and exchange gifts. And we pray an elaborate prayer on Diwali night, followed by a special dinner and fireworks at night. In the past, we used to play poker with all the cousins, uncles and aunts.
– Sipi Krishna, Data & Analytics
A Long Holiday
Thanksgiving is special to me because it’s always been a holiday about family getting together. When I was younger, my parents would host an early Christmas at Thanksgiving for some of my relatives in Michigan. It was a chance to celebrate with them before the weather and calendar became difficult. Since Thanksgiving was our big family tradition, and my wife’s family is big on Christmas, the tradition has worked out well.
For many years, we would go meet Michigan relatives at a halfway point on Black Friday for a buffet, and then we’d all stay over at the same hotel. Adults would catch up and play cards, and our kids would take over the pool. No Thanksgiving Day weekend would be complete without watching “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with my siblings. With relatives in Ohio and Michigan, you can imagine Saturday is pretty important, too. Some details of our time together change, but I am always thankful to have a few days of the year to pause and spend time with the ones I love.
– Tim Hoolihan, Cleveland Operating Group
Celebrating the Season
It’s not exactly a singular holiday, but I’m a big fan of Advent – the season leading up to Christmas, which starts each year on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This year, Advent began on November 27 and ends on Christmas Eve.
Advent is considered a season of expectant waiting where you’re encouraged to gather and do life together with others as well as a time for reflection and study. My husband and I typically celebrate Advent by lighting a candle on our personal Advent wreath each Sunday night and spending some quiet time studying and discussing small passages of scripture together. But, probably my favorite part is attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church at the end of Advent, which always starts around 11 p.m. and ends at midnight, Christmas Day.
During the season of Advent, our church usually hosts weekly “soup suppers” on Wednesdays before an evening Advent service, and one of my favorite things about this season is attending the soup suppers and just being together with everyone. It ends up being a kind of soup buffet, and I love trying a bit of everyone’s soups before choosing my favorite to indulge in – maybe with a side of bread (sometimes there are cakes or cookies, too!). They’ve had to put this practice on hold for the past couple of years during the pandemic, but I’m really looking forward to starting it up again this year! Michael (my husband) will typically make a Guinness cheddar beef stew — and it’s usually the first to go!
– Ruth Harrell, Client Services & Delivery
Cookies for Christmas
I love to spend Christmas with family and friends making ornaments, baking, gift-giving and working in the kitchen at the homeless shelter (Hope Campus). When the kids were younger, we would go to a farm to pick out the tree and cut it down. Additionally, it’s a tradition that we open one gift on Christmas eve and leave cookies, carrots and milk for Santa and the reindeer.
Since 2002, we’ve had a family tradition of making ornaments using salt dough cut out into all kinds of shapes, and then we paint them. Usually after Thanksgiving, we will set aside a Saturday to invite family and friends to paint, enjoy music, hot apple cider or cocoa and sugar cookies. We’ve only ever decorated our tree with all the ornaments made throughout the years.
– Shael McDonald, Finance & Accounting
Intentional Seasonal Celebrations
We celebrate Advent for the entire month before Christmas by saying a prayer and singing a hymn before dinner each night around the Advent wreath to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. When Advent begins, I put all the everyday dishes away. We have Christmas China which we will use every day until after the Epiphany (or Little Christmas).
The manger scene goes up at the beginning of Advent. When the kids were little (and when I was little) we had a bowl of hay next to the manger scene. When they do a good deed, or a child was good for the entire day, they can put a piece of hay in the manger, making Jesus’s bed more comfortable. The baby Jesus is not in the manger scene but appears there on Christmas morning. I do it now for my granddaughter.
On the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, we put out one shoe. In the morning, the shoes are filled with small trinkets and treats.
As Christmas gets closer, we make sugar cookies and gingerbread men. We frost them and hang them on the tree. We also hang candy canes on the tree. No presents under the tree or in the stockings until all are asleep. I still do this. It is getting harder and harder to stay up later than my crew.
Each kid gets an ornament in their stocking. The idea is that by the time they are grown, they will have a nice starter set of ornaments for their tree. We go to Mass on Christmas morning after an amazing breakfast and opening gifts.
– Jean Mulloney, Cincinnati Operating Group
A Family Christmas Tree
For our family, Christmas is a season with multiple events. For example, this year, we’re doing a Ravioli making event, cookie decorating event, Christmas karaoke event, Christmas movie event, in addition to our normal present exchange and dinner event. We strive to embrace as much family time as we can get, as we all know time is way shorter than we’d like it to be.
One of our favorite traditions is one my wife started years ago. We created ornaments for each of our family members. Each ornament has the name of the person, color coded to their parent. The ornaments are also decorated depending on if they are grandchildren starting a certain point, or in-laws and even if they are deceased. Every Christmas the family gets together to decorate a special Christmas tree with only the family ornaments. It’s our way of remembering that family is one of the most important bonds in our lives.
– Joseph Ours, Modern Software Delivery
Growing the Family Photo Album
We celebrate Christmas with close family time with any of our children and their families who can make it back to the Cleveland, Ohio area. We’re pretty traditional with gift-giving, religious services, lots of food and lots and lots of love and laughter.
My favorite tradition is our annual family picture taken with all seasonal decorations surrounding us. I take the best and put it in a photo album. We started doing that when we started having children about a million years ago, so I went back and also found pics from our pre-kids days. I’ve now got an album with 35 pictures in it, one for each Christmas that my wife and I have celebrated together. My kids are grown and out of the house now, so it’s really cool to see them grow in the album, from an infant at their first Christmas to married and late 20s/early 30s now. The picture I share is from 2021, unique as it was taken at my youngest son’s wedding on December 31, 2021.
– Brad Nellis, Cleveland Operating Group
Through these stories, we’ll seek to learn, understand, and empathize. We’ll celebrate our differences and realize that though we have varied backgrounds and perspectives, we are one team.