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Finding your holiday spirit

December 12, 2017 - Tiffany Larson
Those that know me, know that I love spending time with family and friends, celebrations, and pretty much any reason to get dressed-up in silly costumes. Any day I can add themed socks and a pop of color to an outfit, I do. Most of you may even recognize me more as the “bee lady” buzzing around the surrounding communities in a bee costume then my day-to-day attire. These are also some of the very reasons why I get so wrapped up in the Holiday Spirit during the entire month of December. It is a chance to break out the garland and Christmas lights and spread some Holiday cheer for the most wonderful time of the year!

As I mentioned in my December 2016 Blog, I was in a rut. An injury and other lows put me in a bit of a bah-humbug mentality for a few years. However, being involved in a community that holds events like Christmas in the City and having a family that radiates awesomeness with laughter and fun rejuvenated me. I found the magic again. I have been so very blessed to have so many happy Christmas memories throughout my childhood. I am even more grateful that many of these traditions are continuing to live on through my adult life. I hope that I can also create similar lasting memories with my nephew. At nearly three-years-old, we are off to a great start! Hearing his infectious laugh when a Holiday tune comes on the radio, seeing his eyes light up when he sees the giant Christmas tree in the entry way of our local Hy-Vee, and having him run down the street shouting “Aunt TiTi” followed by a giant hug while I walk in a lighted parade ALL fill my heart with an abundance of love and pure joy.

In the midst of being a busy bee, I have taken time to reflect on what the Holidays mean to me. My windshield time, driving from one community to the next in my work-serving area, has provided an opportunity to think about all of the wonderful memories and traditions taking place throughout December. Some old and some new. I hold all of them near and dear to my heart. Here are just a few. 1. T’was the night before Christmas- Every single year, on Christmas Eve, my immediate family gathers. We venture off to my parent’s home. My mom and sister help to prepare one of my favorite meals of the entire year. We all have transitioned from dressing up, to pajamas, to now wearing our silliest Holiday-themed attire. After I return from Church Service we eat, open gifts, pose for our annual selfie, and just enjoy spending time with each other. Over the last few years we have welcomed some new members to the fun and laughter. My Aunt and Grandmother have joined in on this family tradition, and I look forward to it continuing for many more years. Just last year I even decorated a homemade tree ornament for each and every one of us to hang on the tree each year.

2. White Elephants, Oh My! -Both sides of the family have taken gift exchanges to a hilarious new level. As all of us grandchildren get older, gift swapping becomes less and less. The great-grandchildren are now the ones that get to anxiously wait to tear into the wrapped gifts as we sit side-lined waiting to see their excited faces. For us, we are all quite easily pleased. Turns out we can just wrap up a frozen turkey, new fuzzy socks, or plastic toy elephants and we will all be set. We truly believe that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It is always a hoot when we opt to do a white elephant or story reading gift exchange. In the midst of the Christmas fun both sides venture into a fierce competition of who walks away with the best swag to refurbish.

3. Oh, Holy Night- Faith is a part of my life. I do my best to attend and give back when I can. My favorite time of year at our Church is Christmas. The decorations, the services, the Children’s Christmas Program. The Candlelight Service has always been my favorite to attend. However, for the last few years the earlier Family Service has been the go-to option. The time change does not matter to me, as I am still getting to celebrate the entire reason I personally get to celebrate the Season. I get to celebrate with fellow Congregation members and their families the Nativity and Christ’s birth while singing songs of praise.

4. Christmas in the City- This is a new tradition. I love seeing the stores downtown all decorated. The tree lit-up for all to see. Santa and Mrs. C. set up for youngsters to come and share their wish-list. This year I was able to go with my sister and nephew. It pulled on my heart strings to see him run up to “HoHo” and give him a giant hug. I absolutely was amazed at the crowd lined up along second street for the first “Lighted Drive”. I am hoping that next year more businesses, groups, and individuals will enter to make it even bigger and better.

As the Holiday Season continues, and Christmas draws closer I encourage all of you to ponder what gets you into the Holiday Spirit? What are some traditions you cherish? What are some new Christmas memories you would like to create with family, friends, or other loved ones? How can you share your time and talents to spreading some Holiday Cheer? This time of year isn’t always the easiest time of year for everyone. How can you help others to have a merry and bright Holiday? Happy Holidays, and see you in 2018!


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