Christmastime's a comin' and I know I'm going home...

Tue, 12/30/2014

Managing Director Dani Rose on HER favorite holiday tradition! 

A Rose Family Christmas is focused on exactly that – FAMILY.

To us, there’s nothing like sitting around the fire, singing along to our favorite (country) Christmas tunes.  Wishing for snow. My sister and I, now in our 30’s still stay in our parent’s house on Christmas Eve night, so that we can wake up with them on Christmas Morning and all have our coffee and tea by the beautiful tree.

My family is very religious, so there’s also a huge emphasis on Christmas being about the light you share with the world and less about the gifts you get. We have an angel on top of the tree, instead of a star. We have a nativity. We deck our halls with jingle bells and the reminder of the great gift of a child, a savior, coming to earth.  As the song says we “repeat the sounding joy”.

And there is no great joy in the world to me than our little family traditions – just thinking of them gets me in the holly-jolly mood. Like tossing a hat on top of a tree to claim it before cutting it down at the farm, or the special cups we use for holiday cocktails, or our Christmas Eve party and the shrimp we always have, or not putting the baby in the manger until Christmas eve. Or traditions are often small things that seem like nothing to the outsider, but that means the world to us.

My all time favorite family tradition, my parents started when my sister and I were babies. My parents allowed us to open 1 gift on Christmas Eve every year. It’s always the same and always different – an ornament to be hung on the tree that holds some significance to the year that has passed, forever commemorating the year. I open my wrapped ornament, which is placed on the mantel not under the tree, wondering what part of my life was note worthy each year. My first year of college it was the mascot (a pickle, which started another tradition for us **). The year I adopted my cat, my ornament was a little ginger tabby just like mine. So, in a sense, decorating the Christmas tree is like walking through memory lane. Hanging my 1st year ornament next to my 16th year – and sharing a story and laugh about how much has changed from then to now.

My mom always explained the reason for starting the tradition, “When you get older,” she would say “and have a family of your own, you can take all of your ornaments for your family tree, so it wont be empty and will be filled with memories.”

When my sister and I were teenagers she had a revelation – our parents tree is going to be bare by the time we become adults. If she takes her ornaments, and I take mine – what will be left? What memories will they share setting up the Christmas tree? Will it feel lonely for them?

As you do when you get older and realize and the joy of giving really does overwhelm the joy of receiving, we embraced this tradition and we decided to get our Mom and Dad each an ornament, commemorating their year. So our tree would always be filled with memories and stories, even after our ornaments are gone.  So that, when we sit down to open our gifts on Christmas Eve, we can share our parent’s excitement and anticipation of joy – and usually humor – that seeing this year’s ornament and finding the perfect place for it on the tree.

Next to a pair of ballet slippers (Dani’s), you’ll find a Motorcycling Santa with his super hot Mrs. Claus on the back (Daddy’s). Next the incredible Lenox dolphin (my sister’s) you’ll find the scrabble letters spelling out MOM. And if you look close you’ll find a bottle of Krazy glue on a string, a bottle of tequila, an outhouse and a kitty closely examining a fish tank  - and a slew of stories, belly laughs and maybe a few nostalgic tears to go with each ornament.

While our tree looks nothing like the ones in the department stores, with themed ornaments and matching ribbons, it looks like us. It looks like our beautiful family and our favorite memories. It looks like stories, enchanted moments and belly laughs. It looks unique and magnificent

** So the pickle thing. Right. The North Carolina School of the Arts mascot is the fighting pickle. Like, a green bumpy pickle. But, more like Mr. Peanut with a hat and cane. And spats. The Fighting Pickle fights with his art, he kills with his dance, and he strikes with his greatest stage combat skills. In other words, he’s the mascot of a school with ZERO sports teams. But finding a Christmas Pickle ornament and starting a new tradition was easy and here’s why: