Compiled by Miriam Bernard

It is a time of year when the air is thick with holiday nostalgia and memories of yesteryear. In honor of this, we’d like to share some favorite holiday memories from the NODCC community and staff members! We hope that as you read these, your heart is alive with your own memories, or even ideas to create meaningful traditions and moments that you look back on someday. Perhaps it’s a new recipe to incorporate, a game you play with your loved ones, a show you watch, or any of the simple pleasures that make the season a bit more festive. In the extreme busyness of the final days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we hope you remember to steal moments of calm, and think back to those happy times that make the holiday season special to you.

“It was 2008 just over a year after learning about my C-ACC diagnosis. The past year had been chaotic within our families out west. We decided we needed a break with just the two of us. So as an impromptu opportunity presented itself, my spouse and I celebrated Christmas and New Year’s in New York City. We watched a couple of off broadway productions and the highlight was the Rockettes Christmas show. New Year’s was celebrated in Times Square. Such a memorable holiday.” – Tami B.

“Generally, my favorite holiday memories are centered around good food, card games, and spending time together. My Meemaw is the BEST cook, so I am always excited when we can sit around her dining room table for a delicious meal and catch up. My family is big on playing card games, and we will spend hours playing SPOONS and 31 — we are very competitive, so it can get a little crazy at times. My Mom always bakes a birthday cake for Jesus, which I didn’t realize wasn’t something everyone did, but it has been our tradition for as long as I can remember and one of my favorites.” – Bailey J.

“My dad’s side of the family is Hispanic and I loved growing up celebrating Christmas Eve with them eating tamales, beans, Spanish rice, the works. I remember sitting on my grandma’s staircase with my cousin opening presents. Our big family all cozied up in my grandma’s small living room with her red pepper lights glowing from the entryway of the kitchen. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized not everyone has tamales for Christmas.” – Bridget R.

“When our grandson, Logan, was small I had the opportunity to be with him when he went to see Santa! The twinkle in his eye, along with his sister, Allie, was precious. The excitement of the magic he found in the beautiful Santa. His parents made it possible for him to visit the same Santa and in this same place until his legs were too long to sit in Santa’s lap. Many years of memories were made with Santa and he still loves the magic of Santa!” – Willa Jane M.

“My favorite holiday memories mostly center around my childhood and the magic Christmas held. Getting dressed up and performing holiday songs at church was something I always adored, then some nights after the service we’d drive around and look at Christmas lights. There was a sense of family togetherness that felt so safe and happy. Even thinking back on those days now makes me a bit misty!” – Miriam B.

“Every holiday with my ACC-er was a memorable one; I don’t know that I could really pick one. But thank you for sending me on a trip down memory lane!” – Cindy M.

“A favorite Christmas memory for me is going to the 7:00 Candlelight service at church and then driving around town to look at all the Christmas lights. I also, since having kids of my own, enjoyed celebrating Jesus’ birthday by singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles on His cake.”  – Mike M.

“I have two favorite Christmas memories. One is my father singing O Holy Night every year-something he does to this day. It’s not Christmas until I hear it. My other favorite Christmas Memory is my stepfather doing a scavenger hunt every Christmas morning-way into our adult years. It was something we always looked forward to. Kept the magic of Christmas alive.” – Sarah M.

“It seems like food is a common theme among Christmas memories. Here’s mine:

Christmas Day at my grandparents’ home was something to look forward to every year. Extended family would drop in to deliver gifts and exclaim how big all eight of us grandkids had gotten. Grandma always put out a spread of sandwich fixings, her homemade potato salad, and her chicken noodle soup. And there were cookies – chocolate chip, spritz, thumbprint, and rugelach! Everyone would find places to sit around the tree in the living room and we’d take turns opening gifts, oohing and aahing over whatever Santa had brought.”  – Robin D.

Whether your favorite holiday memories are being made now or live in the past, whether they center around tradition or food or togetherness, we hope this holiday brings you a whole heap of joy, and opportunities to forge future favorite memories you’ll look back on with fondness! We wish you a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year from your family at the NODCC!