Many families within the Hockaday community add a unique twist to their holiday celebrations—Ramie, Alexis, Taylor, Dominique and Avery have all celebrated traditions with their families since before they can remember.
On Christmas Eve, Ramie’s family bakes cookies, prepares hot cocoa, puts on their Christmas pajamas—onesies—and piles into the car with their treats to look at Christmas lights.
Then, “we go back home, open one present each, watch A Christmas Story and go to sleep,” Ramie said.
On Christmas Day, they all wake up as early as they are allowed to open all the presents Santa brought them the night before.
In Alexis’ family, her grandmother likes to remind everyone of the “true meaning of the holiday season.”
Every year, Alexis’s grandmother donates money to the charity of Alexis’s choice for her Christmas present.
“For instance,” Alexis said, “this year I donated a cow to a family through Heifer International. It’s always a great reminder for how much we have to be thankful for.”
Each year Taylor’s extended family gathers to celebrate Hanukkah, and each year a different family member is assigned to fry the latkes. Last year, Taylor performed the honor.
“It’s really funny because most of the time whoever is doing it can’t and my dad has to finish the job,” she said.
Every Christmas Eve, Dominique and her family gather at her grandparents’ house to celebrate with their entire extended family.
“We play dinner and play games and just talk until midnight,” Dominique said. “At midnight, we are allowed to open our presents.”
The following morning they all wake up to “read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and sing hymns and carols.” This is followed by the opening of more presents. At noon, Dominique attends a luncheon with her entire family.
For Avery’s family, Christmas is a time for creativity. Avery’s father writes a Christmas story for his family ever year and reads it to them on Christmas Eve. Though the story is different each year, Avery’s father always makes sure to incorporate Avery and her brother into the tale.
“The stories are always really cute and have a great moral at the end,” Avery said. “My dad binds them and uses pictures to make it seem more like a book. My first and favorite story was ‘Duffy the Christmas Puppy’ in 2000.”
Many Hockaday families anticipate the holidays with much enthusiasm, prizing the time to celebrate each of their traditions.
“[It] is always the most exciting time of the year for my family,” Ramie said.