Merry Memories & Holiday Cheer from Our Homes to Yours!
Tradition is part of the heritage of every nation worldwide.
Our relatively young country, however, brings a certain flair to its cultural holiday customs. This bold and creative pizazz is 100% American-made.
Take the larger-than-life big man himself – Santa Claus. Did you know that the image we know so well of the rotund, rosy-cheeked, Christmas-spirit-spreading giver of gifts was concocted by an American artist?
Thomas Nast is the political cartoonist who drew the first Democratic mule and Republican elephant. Over time, his first renditions of the jolly old elf – Santa – changed Christmas in the United States forever. Among his 30 Santa cartoons published by Harpers Weekly Magazine, beginning in 1863 and spanning 22 years, he created the look we know and love. He was the first to depict Mr. Claus with flying reindeer and sleigh, with a bright red suit and white trim – among many more of the festive details we take for granted.1
As an American mom, you bring your own rich traditions – and panache – to the celebration of Christ’s birth. Candlelight services, carols, tree trimming, brightly wrapped gifts, cookies, and rich time together combine to fashion your holiday season’s style. It is unique to your community and your family. Our team at Moms for America wants to share some of our merry memories and holiday cheer from our homes to yours. Merry Christmas, mamas!
Zooming Towards Christmas
Kimberly Fletcher – Founder, President, and CEO
My favorite Christmas memories always involve my children and their families.
Every year, we take time to enjoy the season together by touring Christmas lights, baking and decorating cookies, and watching our favorite Christmas movies together. It’s a Wonderful Life may or may not play on repeat. We always have hot chocolate and apple cider available, if only because it makes the whole house smell like Christmas.
The best of all our traditions is on Christmas Eve when we all come together, no matter how far apart we may be (thank God for Zoom!) to read the Christmas Story as we arrange our 25-piece nativity in the little stable, giving thanks to God for His son.
A Christmas Proposal
Deb Kraulidis – Vice President, Host of Moms for America Podcast
I have so many favorite Christmas memories.
When I was a child, I always thought Christmas was the bomb! But now I know that nothing surpasses having your own family. Watching your kids enjoy the season together is truly its own precious gift. My parents always rooted our holiday in the true meaning of Christmas – Christ. Santa was a nice icon but not the focus by any means. I have continued that idea in our family as well. Church, food, music, and gifts celebrate the birth of the Savior and focus our hearts on hope, love, and our faith.
One particular Christmas in 1993 was pivotal for me as my then-boyfriend hung a beautiful diamond ring on a shiny gold ornament on a Christmas tree. He asked me to find it among all the twinkling lights. My eyes teared up as I looked in anticipation. I found it, the treasure – and it was beautiful. He kneeled and asked me to marry him. Now we have three amazing children and our own blessed family.
Together we worship love and celebrate the greatest gift of all each Christmas – Jesus. I think back to that beautiful diamond ring hanging on an ornament every year as we put up our own Christmas tree. It reminds me of what God has done and how He is the center of our home and the hope for us all.
A Delicious Christmas Project
Zaira Gomez – Membership and Education Manager
My favorite holiday memory was watching the women in my family make pasteles. This traditional holiday dish is time-consuming to make.
My aunt, great-aunts, grandmother, and mother would divide the responsibilities and work all day. They listened to music, working side by side until they had made enough to feed the entire family and share with the neighbors. One would make the filling, the other cleaned and prepared the banana leaves, and another would cut the strings that would wrap around and hold the pasteles together while they cooked. They were so delicious, and looking back, I understand now that it was because of the love and care the women in my family put into making them.
Warm Christmas Chaos
Sherronna Bishop – Director of Election Security
My favorite Christmas memories were the traditions our family kept- driving through the city to see the beautiful lights, reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, and always opening ONE present early!
Then, on Christmas morning came the thrill of seeing what special gift my mom had chosen for me. The surprise always gave me so much joy, and I loved nothing better than hot chocolate with candy canes and a full day of family and sheer Christmas chaos!
Now with our own children, we continue these traditions. Thank you, Lord, for such a joyous time to remember your greatest gift of all, the little lamb, Jesus.
Miracle Stories of Love & Christmas
Lindsey Zea – Empower Moms Assistant
A bright holiday memory for me is gathering with my family each night in December to read a story together.
Years ago, my mom started this tradition. She found a cute Christmassy binder with snowmen on the cover and ties which held it closed with a big red bow. She printed off stories of Christmas kindness and miracles and compiled them in that special binder.
Now, each year after Thanksgiving, nightly before we all split up and go to bed, my family sits around our living room. My mom reads a story or two about nurses who go above and beyond while working Christmas day, children who share their toys with other children in need, and kind strangers who make a memorable Christmas Day for others that would otherwise be bleak at best.
As my mom reads these tender stories, tears start to fall from her eyes and become contagious in the room; our hearts are touched, and we feel the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of Christ. Now, I am 28 and still treasure this tradition the same way I did growing up. This family time each year is one of my favorite holiday memories.
Joy-filled Family Fiestas in El Salvador
Elsa Aldeguer – Hispanic Outreach
One of my favorite holiday memories while growing up in El Salvador (the smallest country in Central America) was sitting at the table surrounded by family, opening Christmas presents in the early morning hours.
This day and night-long celebration was always accompanied by friends, neighbors, pets, and, most importantly – family. Dancing, sipping hot chocolate, enjoying great quality company, enjoying traditional Salvadorean food, pupusas, and watching the fireworks light up the sky.
The entire country celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ in the most familial and loving way! Overall, these are amazing memories for me.
A Blue Bundle of Christmas Joy
Maria Wagner – Executive Support Manager
One of my favorite holiday memories was giving birth to our first son just two days before Christmas.
What a gift!
We couldn’t agree on a name before going to the hospital, but when our son was born, my husband said, “How about Nicholas, after St. Nick?”
It was perfect!!
Christmas Commitment: Steadfast & Sweaty
Matt Waters – Director of Development
Our family’s favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the Christmas tree with the fireplace on -regardless of the temperature outside.
It could be 70 or 80 degrees, and we will have the fireplace on with hot chocolate. That means “yours truly” is in a t-shirt and shorts, decorating the Christmas tree, often here in Virginia.
Thanks for all your support; we appreciate you!
Snowflakes & S’mores – A Warm Texas Memory
Judi & Don Privett – Website Team
Several years ago, I received a very generous Christmas bonus from a client.
It came during a tough season for our family, and there wasn’t much money to spare for Christmas. So, Don and I decided to take the bonus and buy lots of gifts. We wrapped each one, then headed to Liberty, Texas, where our family lives.
Then, on Christmas Eve, we played a very fun game, a White Elephant gift exchange. Everyone was surprised and had so much fun. We laughed through the swapping of gifts, and everyone ended up with the gifts they wanted.
After a wonderful dinner, we all went outside and sat around a firepit as the young people played guitars. Together, we sang Christmas Carols, ate s’mores, and had wonderful fellowship. Then the most amazing thing happened – it began to snow beautiful white fluffy flakes through the gorgeous tall pine trees. It was like God and the angels were smiling down on this sweet gathering, as it rarely snows in this part of Texas.
Since then, several of our family members have passed on, but we will always have incredibly fond memories of being with them that night … before they made their journey to Heaven.
Santa Steals the Show
Trish Josephs, Graphic Designer
A Christmas family memory we cherish is when my husband, Brian, surprised us all with tickets to see the Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof – for a performance on December 28, 2018.
When we arrived home from Christmas Day festivities at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, the tickets were wrapped and lying on the counter with a card that read:
“During my haste to make a quick exit from your charming home last night, I accidentally dropped these. I found them wedged in the seat cushions of my reindeer sleigh. They must have fallen out of the bag… and tell Daniel that I am real!“
We all had a good laugh in our excitement for this special family outing that included dinner downtown after Christmas.
Fireside Family Storytime
Juleen Jackson – Senior Instructor & Advisor Cottage Meetings
My favorite Christmas memory is sitting around the Christmas tree – next to the fire – reading Christmas books each night before the kids went to bed.
We have a special book called Christmas Oranges, which we read every Christmas Eve after we unwrap our Christmas pajamas and put them on. The book is about a little girl living at an orphanage and how the orphans welcomed her there and shared their Christmas oranges with her when she was punished. She had never had an orange, so it was a wonderful treat.
I always cry when I read it to our five kids. We go around, peel an orange and eat oranges, or sometimes chocolate oranges – and each child has an opportunity to share what they like.
Now that my kids are mostly grown, they still want me to read Christmas Oranges each year on Christmas Eve.
Sister’s Santa Surprise
Melinda Stewart – Marketing Manager
One year in elementary school, we learned the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Somehow, I memorized that poem – all 56 lines of it!
Growing up, we didn’t have much money, but my parents went all out for Christmas. So, I thought it would be great to put on a little surprise performance for them.
We used a red robe, a pillow, a black belt, and boots from my dad to make a Santa costume for my little sister. I made a cap out of a red handkerchief with a cotton ball on the end. Using some old stuffing found in the closet, I fashioned a beard and eyebrows for her to complete the look. Then on Christmas morning, after we had opened all our presents, I started my narration.
As I said, “Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound,” my sister jumped out of the hallway, swinging her pack and shaking her belly.
I never saw my parents laugh so hard, and my mom still says it was their best present ever.
Hungarian Family Christmas Fare
Anna Reynolds – Staff Writer
One of my favorite Christmas memories is making my grandmother’s Hungarian recipes each year.
Growing up, my parents, sister, and I would make Hungarian pastries on Christmas Eve to enjoy on Christmas morning and make chicken paprikash for dinner. Now, I get to start sharing those recipes with my girls as we create our own Christmas traditions!
Chilly Toes & Warm Hearts
Amanda Conlin – Social Media Manager
When I was younger, our family used to have a scavenger hunt on Christmas Eve to find one of our gifts. Usually, it was Christmas pajamas or a sound Christmas book.
One year my mother hid the gifts outside. We were so determined to find them that we didn’t even put on shoes! We spent much of the evening running barefoot in the snow until we found our gifts.
It was super cold.
Luckily, no one had frostbite or a cold the next day.
Tried and True Tradition
Rachael Seymour – Financial Team
My favorite tradition is going to my parent’s house every Christmas morning. We open all our gifts together as a family and then enjoy a great Christmas lunch.
Christ-Centered Family Celebration
Cassiopeia Fletcher – Personal Assistant to the President (Kimberly Fletcher)
I have many favorite Christmas memories, but my favorite always revolves around Christmas Eve. In my family, Christmas Eve is the most important part of the season because it is on that day that we focus wholly and completely on Jesus Christ.
We all put on our very best clothes, even the babies, and gather the whole family, whether in person or over Zoom. My parents take turns reading the Christmas story from the Bible – as my siblings, nieces, nephews, and I take turns placing the corresponding pieces into our 25-piece nativity.
At the end of the Christmas Story, my parents share about Jesus Christ and the gift that His Father gave to the world.
We then read The Night Before Christmas – Mee-maw Edition, a night before Christmas poem that takes place in Bethlehem on that night of all nights. After this, my siblings and I exchange the gifts we bought for each other that year (there are so many of us that we draw family names out of a hat). These are special presents that we have spent all year thinking about. Each brightly wrapped package signifies our love for that family, the love of Jesus Christ.
Each family brings their own unique flavor to their Christmas celebration. We know that your holiday bears the vision of your love and careful planning. You are what makes the American Christmas experience unique and joyful.
Whether your traditions are formal, frantic, wildly expensive, or lovingly homemade – as moms, we can all converge on the true meaning of the season: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
At Moms for America, we thank God for your involvement in this movement, your indispensable role as a mother, and the grace and intentionality you pour into your families and everything you do.
We pray that God will richly bless you and your family with His peace and presence on Christmas day and beyond.
Christmas joy to you, from our homes to yours,
The Moms for America Team