Team Member Christmas Traditions Shared

Decorated Christmas tree and fireplace with stockings hanging from it

Baptist Health Care Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council members shared some of their favorite Christmas and holiday traditions.

Here are highlights of the memories and traditions shared:

"I love this time of year. It is wonderful to get together with family and friends and catch up. My mother’s family gathers on Christmas Eve to share our favorite dishes and dips (food) which includes very special desserts that only my mother has mastered- confectionary sugar- peanut butter treats and no bake oatmeal cookies.  We also play Christmas Bingo. Many years ago, my grandmother started this tradition with silly gifts for prizes. You might win socks, underwear or money!  It is a time of fellowship, love and laughter and one that we look forward to each year."   Christine Johnson, VP Human Resources

"Our four sons are scattered near and far so what I look most forward to around the holidays is having time with them together as a family. We are blessed to have my mom and sister and her husband here now, as well as our oldest son’s family which includes our two grandchildren. We love the simple things about the holidays – sharing evenings at home in the glow of the lights of the tree and candles, driving around town to view lights while drinking our favorite holiday hot drinks, seeing the joy and wonder of Christmas through the eyes of our grandchildren.  I truly look forward to this time of year and as I’ve grown older, have worked to become more intentional about focusing on what matters most about the season – slowing down, loving generously and being grateful for all of our blessings and even our challenges." – Jen Grove – VP External Relations   

"My family has a lot of good cooks, so as we gather for Christmas, we definitely enjoy the specialty dishes of what used to be my grandmother, mom and aunts, and has turned to my aunts, my cousins and now even a couple nieces. Our extended family gathering takes place on Christmas Eve and there are a few must-haves, and the rest are family favorite appetizers and lots of Christmas deserts. Around 11:15 p.m., we attend Christmas Eve mass which is one of my favorite traditions each year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus and the beautiful music surrounded by my family. My favorite Christmas song is “Little Drummer Boy” - about the young drummer marching to attend the birth of Jesus but is too poor for a gift so he brings his gift via his drum & “The Friendly Beasts," a story about the gifts from a donkey, cow, sheep, camel and dove given to Jesus at the Nativity. Merry Christmas to you and your family!" – Lori Gurule-Rat, HR Manager, Talent Relations 

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and I enjoy spending it with family. My sister and I are the first maternal grandchildren so it was a special time for my grandparents and great grandmother as well. My great grandmother, who we called Granny, was homebound, but my parents wanted her to participate with us on Christmas morning. Every Christmas Eve, we would begin preparing to spend the night with Granny. We would get dressed in our festive Christmas shirts or sweaters and put on our jingle bell necklace. We stopped for dinner at the only place open on Christmas Eve, Waffle House! After our Waffle House dinner, we made it to Granny’s house where we would track Santa on the news, and put out cookies and milk. When we go to bed there are no gifts under the tree due to my mom’s Christmas tradition of wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve. We wake up early the next morning to see what Santa brought us and open the presents that have appeared under the tree. Even though my grandparents are no longer with us, you will still find the Likely family wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve and enjoying dinner at Waffle House!  – Rashandra Likely, Manager, Onboarding

"I am obsessed with Christmas, its festivities, and what it represents to my faith, but I am not one for traditions. Instead, I enjoy new experiences, traveling to new places, and trying new things. We also do not love things and clutter so try to steer away from “stuff,” gift exchanges, etc. Instead, each year my husband and I think of something “different” we can do or try to celebrate the season. It typically results in the form of traveling, an experience either as a family or shared experience with our loved ones, or serving others. Most important to us is a focus on giving thanks for our true meaning for the season – our Savior, Jesus Christ."  – Sara Lefevers – Manager, Community Impact & Government Relations    

What are your favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season? 

If you struggle during this time of year, you are not alone.
View our holiday mental health and stress management tips to help better manage the season.