Our holiday traditions

Dec 12 2012

We’ve recently had a great set of emails going around the CASA offices with our staff sharing their holiday traditions, and today we wanted to share some of those with you!

Nashielly Victoria kicked off the holiday tradition sharing by emailing her story: “About 13 years ago, my family and I decided to pack up (we lived in Fremont, CA) and drive over to Kissimmee, Florida so we could move into our first house.  One of the most exciting parts about Florida was the theme parks.  We were in awe of Disney World, especially my 6 year-old brother and 4 year-old sister at the time. We all took a family photo that first year in front of the Magic Kingdom.  It was the holiday time so there were lots of fun decorations everywhere. This sparked the beginning of a tradition!  Every year we go back and take a picture in front of one of the Disney theme parks; there’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom.  So low and behold we now have several framed pictures of the 6 of us in front of a castle, a giant golf ball thing, a huge ‘tree of life,’ and Mickey’s magic hat.”

Sonia Kotecha shared, “Since my parents are first generation American, and we are of a Hindu background, we embraced Christmas growing up as a traditional American holiday.  I spent most of my childhood in Virginia and every year my family would host an annual Christmas party with our close-knit group of family friends who were also first generation South Asian American. We would decorate the house with a Christmas tree, lights, etc. We would indulge in a potluck dinner and sing traditional Christmas carols. All the guests would leave around midnight, so when the clock struck midnight, my brother and I would get to open all of our gifts!

Carolyn Nicewarner shared, “Our family tradition is a simple one, but one that has been going on for more than 30 years.  Every year my husband and I would buy three new ornaments and put the year and each kiddo’s name on their ornament.  The number of people in our family has grown, so our purchases have multiplied. We gather one night before Christmas, put on holiday music, put out the food and drinks, and the merriment begins. The kids put up all of their own ornaments, and the last ones to go on the tree are the new ones for the year. It is amazing the stories that come up while they are all gathered; it is truly a wonderful trip down memory lane, with lots of love and laughter. We have offered to have the kids take their ornaments home for their own tree, but they don’t, because I believe they see this as a wonderful family tradition, possibly something they will carry on in their own lives.”

Velasco Christmas Tree

Deya Velasco has her own Christmas tree tradition: “When I got married and moved to the US, we were on a tight budget as newlyweds. We decided to buy the biggest tree we could, even if we had no money left for ornaments. We bought just lights and one box of 12 ornaments. As the years went by, more ornaments could be afforded, family and visitors during the holidays would notice the skimpily adorned tree and give us ornaments, and then my children started to make ornaments as school projects. Our ornaments come from friends, family, as promotional tacky objects, or from trips to Mexico, Belgium, Germany. Almost 25 years later we have the same dusty old tree, and friends and family still give us ornaments every year. My children refuse to get rid of the old tree, and we don’t have the heart to get rid of any odd, corny, old, ugly, cheap, weird or falling apart ornament.

Manijeh Huereca shared, “My husband, Jacob, and I are big on celebrating anything really, but Christmas is especially fun! The kids have to listen to the Christmas station anytime we get in the car. Jacob, the biggest kid of them all, can’t stand to keep surprises and will taunt everyone with their gifts.  He actually ripped the paper on one of my gifts before Christmas so I would be tempted to see what it was!! On Christmas day all of my family gets together at someone’s house and we make fajitas or a roast, because no one can eat turkey again that close to Thanksgiving.”