Holiday Traditions – by Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry

Christmas decorations on a shelf including stocking and garland with lights

Christmas decorations on a shelf including stocking and garland with lightsManassas Park Parks and Recreations School Age Recreation Specialist Jacquelyn-Tyre PerryThanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. Not only because we love the food, but also because we get to sit around the dinner and enjoy laughs with our loved ones. It’s a time to look around at the people that mean the most to us and be thankful for all they bring to our lives.

For me, however, it marks the socially appropriate time to start decorating for Christmas. I’m one of those people that is ecstatic when I see the shift from Halloween décor to Christmas décor in stores. People always say, “Can we get through Thanksgiving first?” Yes, yes we can, but there’s not a lot of Thanksgiving décor, so on to Christmas we go!

At home, Christmas decorations go up on Thanksgiving weekend, not before, because my husband wants no part of it. I don’t like putting them up after, because at that point we’re too many days into December and late to the party in my opinion.

I’m the DJ of the Christmas tunes and we always listen to the classics. This is not optional. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee and “White Christmas” by The Drifters are a must. You will most certainly feel like you stepped on the set of Home Alone.

Window with the blinds closed. Garland with lights is around the entire perimeterThen comes the fun part – putting up the tree and decorations! I may have a touch of OCD when it comes to the placement of the ornaments, but I’m always proud of the results. This year we chose a new theme of ornaments so we decorated classic Christmas colors like red, green, silver, and gold. We lined the windows and banisters with lots of lights and garlands – and my motto is, the more lights, the better! Our newest additions to our Christmas décor inventory are battery operated LED’s, the cutest stocking holders I’ve ever seen, and a red sparkly star tree topper. If I could leave them up year around, I would.

Another part of our tradition is advent calendars. We usually do a calendar with chocolate every year for our oldest daughter, however, this year my husband got me a cheese advent calendar. To know me is to know that I love cheese. Red Leicester cheese is what day one of December graced me with and it was amazing. We are also an Elf on the Shelf family, but I’m sad to report that the jig is up with our oldest. Next year, we will begin the tradition with our 9 month old and I can’t wait!

The rest of the month leading up to Christmas, we watch some of the classics like Home Alone, Home Alone 2, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Polar Express, and the list goes on. I take my daughter shopping for my husband and then we wrap his gifts together, and he does the same with her for me. We spend many nights snuggled on the couch, crossing our fingers for lots of snow, and drinking hot chocolate.

Christmas is my favorite holiday because all the traditions give my family many opportunities throughout December to spend time together and celebrate. Family is one of the most important things to me and this time of the year reminds me to be intentional about making time for those closest to me.

Jacquelyn Tyre-Perry is the School Age Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at J.Tyre-Perry@ManassasParkVA.gov

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