The holiday season: Traditions and what makes us happy

A holiday message from Executive Director Chris Young

This is the time of year many call the "holiday season," which is fitting because there are many different holidays celebrated during this time, depending on your ethnic or religious affiliation. Like my family and I, many of you will be observing Christmas and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God's Son, the greatest gift of all to humankind.
What traditions do you observe?
I look forward to this time of year. Many would say I am a Christmas nut; my children call me "Mr. Christmas." I am drawn to Christmas, not only because of the importance of the birth of Christ that we celebrate but also because of its traditions and the memories I have celebrating it with grandparents and other family members, many of whom are no longer with us. My home is full of Christmas traditions that were passed on to me and now am passing on to my children and grandchildren. They range from when the first tree goes up (yes, we have more than one); when the outside of the house gets decorated; different foods are being prepared such as gingerbread houses and cookies; attending the Christmas eve service at our church; and what gifts get opened that night.
Traditions take us back to a place we associate with joy and happiness — a place that warms our hearts and makes us feel safe and comfortable. It takes us back to a time when things seemed simple and not so crazy. I am sure all of you have many similar traditions that you observe with your families at this time of year too. No matter how different or similar those holidays are from one another, there is one common denominator that ties them all together: they all contain rituals we adhere to and practice. Those traditions are a conduit to the memories of holidays past and the people we celebrated them with; they serve as a foundation for our current holiday season and a roadmap to future holidays and the memories we will build with the people most important to us. Traditions are important to us because we want to pass them on. We want our children and grandchildren to look back on these times with the same fondness that we look back on.
What makes you happy at this time of year?
The key to traditions and the happiness they bring are the people with who we share them. People often get caught up in the preparation of the holidays and get stressed out about an occasion meant to bring them joy. They forget to slow down and focus on the events and people that bring them happiness.
I know that you are especially busy filling orders this time of year. Most of the time, you don't have enough left in the physical or emotional tank to give the effort to the most important events and people in your life. We become so busy making others happy that we don't take time to make ourselves happy. Take time to do the events that mean something to you and spend it with the people you love. Observe the traditions that have always meant so much to you. Maybe it is time to revive them if they have been missing. There will always be more work to do and more customers to make happy, but there won't always be another Christmas or holiday with the people most important to you. Don't let another holiday go by that leaves you with regrets about what you didn't do or the lack of time you spent with family and friends observing the traditions that bring you happiness. What makes you happy during this time of year? When you know the answer, do it and enjoy it.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Blessings for the New Year.