Traditions are an important part of the holidays. They bring families together and create lasting memories. Whether it is baking cookies, caroling, or participating in activities, traditions connect multiple generations and contribute to a sense of comfort and belonging.
At GA Foods, we love holiday traditions! A few weeks before the holidays, we put up decorations in our front lobby, and we have a tree lighting ceremony with hot cocoa and treats. It is nice to take a break from the work day, de-stress, and spend time with co-workers. We asked our team to share their holiday traditions, and we’re honored to share them with you!
- Every year on Christmas Eve, my kids and I take a ride around town to see all the lights. I now have grandkids so we’re keeping this going for them. On Christmas day, we go to the local shelter to help feed Christmas dinner to the homeless. It‘s always a great experience and even though my kids always complain, they really end up enjoying it. Tonya McArthur, Office Coordinator
- My family and I get together every year on Christmas Eve to make cookies and go to Largo Park to enjoy the Christmas lights. Karen Borders, HDM Billing Supervisor
My family and extended family live all over the country, so every year has always been a little different. But luckily I married into a family where Christmas traditions reign. My husband’s family is Greek and so everyone is a “cousin.” (To be honest, I’m still trying to diagram the family tree to know who belongs to who!) Every year around Christmas time, they have a cousins' brunch where all of the “cousins” get together, present gifts to the little ones, tell stories of brunches past, and enjoy traditional holiday Greek cuisine. It’s fun for me to hear some of the legendary family stories for the first time that they’ve been telling for decades, as well as get a taste of a long-standing holiday tradition. Beth Ann Valavanis, Senior Vice President | CFO
Our holiday tradition is Christmas jammies. Every year, when I was young, I would beg my parents to open a present from under the tree. Finally, on Christmas Eve, my mom would pull one present out for me to open. It was always Christmas PJs. It took me many years to figure out that my mom didn’t randomly pick a present for me to open. I have carried this tradition on with my children. Even though they are both adults, they still get Christmas jammies every Christmas Eve. Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD, SNS | Senior Marketing Manager
My family is Lithuanian, and every Christmas Eve we have a Lithuanian meal called Kūčios. We begin the meal with Oplatki, which is similar to a Communion wafer. Oplatki has a picture of the nativity scene, and it is blessed. We break off a piece to share with everyone and wish Christmas blessings. The table is set with straw and 12 meatless meals (one is cranberry soup!). There are also Christmas ornaments made of white straw that decorate the tree. Towards the end of dinner, everyone pulls straws and whomever gets the longest straw is said to live the longest. Levinia Clark, RD, LDN | Nutrition Services Manager
Every Christmas Eve, my family goes to my Grandparents' house with all my extended family (there are now more than 50 of us!). My Grandparents always buy reindeer food for the grandkids (now the great grandkids) to throw outside on the snow (we’re from Wisconsin) after dinner. While all the grandkids are occupied with feeding the reindeer, Santa always comes and leaves presents in the basement! Now that I’m grown up, I really appreciate having my entire family in the same place, and it’s enjoyable for me to get to experience the excitement of Christmas through my younger cousins. Jessica Fleigle, Marketing Coordinator
Traditions tell a family story. They honor the family members who are no longer with us. This holiday season, we challenge you to spend less time focusing on cooking holiday meals and buying presents and instead focus on being present. Remember to take time to enjoy the moment and appreciate your loved ones this holiday season. From all of us at GA Foods, we hope you have happy holidays!