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'Tis The Season

From sleepovers to Christmas light tours, traditions are a part of who we are. They make our family and celebrations “whole” in many ways. In honor of the holidays, a time based on traditions and togetherness, we’ve compiled a few of the holiday traditions our employees enjoy during this time of year. 

LILI Christmas eve is the one night of the year that my entire family sleeps in the same house- sisters, nieces, nephews, and fur babies all spend the night at my parents’ house to wake up at an ungodly early hour on Christmas Day to rampage through gifts.

LEA My family has a NYE tradition where we cut a cake called the Vasilopita (or the Greek Lucky New Year’s Cake). This cake has a religious aspect to it but it also has a gold coin hidden at the bottom of the cake, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the coin is destined to have a lucky year. The host of the house (so usually my mom) will cut one slice for the church, one for our house, one for our jobs, and then one for each person of the family. Things get pretty intense while we wait to find out the winner. Afterwards we all enjoy the cake. Typically, my mom and I will tear the cake into pieces and pour milk and sugar on it like its cereal. It.is.amazing.

For 2018 the coin landed right in between my piece and Austin’s piece, so call me superstitious but it really did bring us a good year. 

CIRCE Sloane, my daughter, sets an alarm for 5am and rallies the troops for stockings, gifts, then a hearty nap. Every year for as long as I can remember. The first year she set the alarm it was for 2 AM. (Thank goodness she doesn’t go to bed until then now.)

RACHEL Loading up and driving to Winfield, KS to drive through The Aisle of Lights!

BRENDA When I was growing up, we had a fun tradition on Christmas Eve (when we opened our gifts), thanks to my mom’s creativity and the snooping of my older siblings.

Whenever there was a package that was difficult to wrap, mom would send us on a hunt for it. Similar to the Wichita River Festival Medallion Hunt, she would write up clues in the form of poems. The first clue would be wrapped up and under the tree. That clue would send us off somewhere in the large farm house to find the next clue. That lasted for several clues, until we found where she had hidden our gift.
This was a fun game for the whole family. The recipient would read the poems aloud to the group, and then the rest would wait while he or she went to the place the next clue was – hopefully – hidden.  Sometimes, they’d have to come back and re-read it.  If Mom felt that it was too difficult, she might drop another hint to keep the action going.

The first year I moved out from home, I put an ironing board on my wish list. Knowing that it wouldn’t be easy to wrap, I was confident I wouldn’t find it under the tree, so wasn’t a bit surprised to be the one searching that year. After several clues that led me to places inside, there was a clue stating that it was in a Ford.  Keep in mind, it was about 10 degrees outside right then. But being young, and over confident, I decided to run outside without grabbing my coat. I had a 1965 Mustang, and decided that Mom wouldn’t put it in MY car. Because we were out on the farm, no one bothered to lock their vehicles, and I figured it wouldn’t take long to spot a big ironing board! However, after checking the Mom’s Ford Galaxy, Dad’s Ford pickup, and coming up empty, I decided to fetch my coat. Then I started looking in my four siblings’ cars – all which happened to be Ford or Mercury products. Yep, you guess it. Mom had placed it in my car. I found out later that my oldest brother knew me too well, and told her that would be the last place for me to look.

JUDY Easily the first thing that pops into my head is that each year I buy a new pair of decadently luxuriously soft Christmas socks for all the women in the family. They receive them on Christmas Day.

KIP Growing up we always opened presents on Christmas Eve. We’ve continued that tradition as our families have grown. My brothers and sisters and their families gather for food and fun highlighted by a dirty Santa gift exchange. Oh, and when it’s family picture time…any girlfriends or boyfriends in attendance are encouraged to be on the ends…just in case we need to cut them out of the picture later.

SANDY I wrap my gifts for my kids and grandkids with loose change, screws, bells, balls, big wads of paper or anything that will add a strange noise and an odd shape to the package to prevent them from guessing what is inside. I have been known to wrap small things like a tablet inside a huge microwave box or even a heavy rock into a box that just contained a DVD. Their faces are priceless.

JACQUE My husband’s family gets together on Christmas eve, with everyone bringing snacks and a $5 lottery scratch off ticket for each family member. The tickets are put in a basket, and we each draw one.  As we draw a ticket, we have to tell about a favorite Christmas memory, a favorite gift or something we are grateful for this year. No one has been a big winner yet, but with over 40 family members attending each year, we are certain it will happen!

BETH Since 1995, my Mom has been making an ornament for my sister and I which captures a big “event” that happened in our lives from the previous year.  It’s nothing fancy or elaborate, usually something in construction paper and stickers which she has laminated. So we will both be receiving her ornament for 2017 this year. In the past, my ornaments have ranged from when I bought a car, moved, bought a house, and trips I have taken. For us, it’s a mini time capsule for the prior year. I also have an ornament that I made in kindergarten, a silver bell made out of a dixie cup, aluminum foil, pipe cleaner, and a bell that gets hung up on my tree every year.

MARILYN Hoping the kids don`t wake up too early on Christmas Day!

Traditions are important. They bind us together and help us to appreciate one another. We enjoyed sharing about the little things that make our holidays special, we hope you enjoyed it too!

Today, Tomorrow, Together