New Holiday Traditions – by Sue Jurjevic


As the Senior Recreation Specialist here at Parks and Recreation, I receive a lot of emails and blogs daily (as we all do) and I try to go through each one. I am glad I took the time to go through the latest slew of emails because I came across one that really got me thinking about the holidays.

Written from a child’s perspective, this particular email actually made me stop for a second. Think back to when you were a kid. Can you remember the most memorable gift you received? Was it an expensive gift? Was it big? Or small?

I started to think of what was my most memorable holiday gift. I can remember receiving a book of paper dolls. The only reason I remember this was that my mom knew that I had a gift missing on Christmas morning. We had opened all of our gifts, and we searched through the wrapping paper, but we could not find my gift!

A few days later, my mother was vacuuming, and she found my missing gift! It had fallen behind the couch! I remember how much my mom wanted me to have that gift! We all have gifts that really meant a lot to us, especially when we remember the person who gave it to us or the circumstances behind the gift. The book of paper dolls was not expensive, but what is priceless is how happy we all were when we found that missing gift!

What, if we all did something different this year and focused on ways to give gifts that create memories?

The kids here at the Community Center in Extended Care, and the kids in our many programs (especially our summer camps) love to share their experiments! Why not purchase science in a bag, which provides the ingredients to make slime and make it together as a family? How about a craft bag filled with a variety of supplies for those who love to be creative? Another idea would be to give the kids a gift card to a grocery store, with a recipe book and have a cook together night.

The gift of recreation, especially one of our amazing summer camps, creates lasting memories. Keep in mind these gift ideas would work for teens and adults too! Please feel free to stop by the Community Center, check out our MOSAIC and website for the programs I mentioned and all the great programs we have for kids of all ages!

Here is a link for more ideas:

Sue Jurjevic is the Senior 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

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