When I was a little kid, my grandparents had a fake Christmas tree. A light behind a revolving multicolored translucent plastic circle pointed from the floor at the tree, making the silver foil sparkle in the evening. Granddaddy sat in his chair, cracking pecans one-by-one in his strong hands to fill my grandmother’s pies and Italian cream cakes. While I stared at the glittering tree, my parents and grandparents talked into the night, sharing their stories of Christmases past.
Most of us spend some nights like that in December as we gather together with our families. Whether celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas or Solstice or Kwanzaa, this time of year swells with love and nostalgia as we indulge in our favorite holiday traditions.
Here at Brian Boggs Chairmakers, most of us take pleasure in either Christmas or Hanukkah (although we do have a couple of grinch-types who avoid the celebrations as much as possible, grimacing at every holiday tradition except the bowl of red and green foil-wrapped chocolates that appear on my desk). I asked everyone to share their favorite memory or custom for the season.
“It’s Funner through My Daughter’s Eyes”
“It’s funner through my daughter’s eyes,” says Ryan, our finishing guru and one of several parents in our shop. Those of us with children delight in watching the season unfold for our kiddos.
Steve, our new lumber expediter, has a little one who is getting excited for Christmas for the first time. “I’m going to enjoy watching her go sit on Santa’s lap and open gifts.”
Games with the Family
We connect with our family through games as well. Kevin, our digital marketing manager, and his family search for gifts during Hanukkah. “We turn off all the lights and outfit the kids with headlamps and flashlights. They search around the house, all together, and my wife and I love watching their cooperation and discovery.”
Eddie, the craftsman who constructs the Sonus guitar chair and Lily chairs, shared a favorite game from his childhood. “From an extremely young age, I can remember my three sisters and I being fascinated with the moment a candle is naturally extinguished. It started with watching the candles on the menorah. We would eat dinner, play a game or watch a movie, but stop whatever we were doing to watch the candles go out each night of Hanukkah. Usually, it would be obvious which candle would go out first, but sometimes a few would all be super low, and the whole family seemed to get excited and take guesses on which candle would go out first. This no longer happens, but it’s a great memory I have about the holidays and spending time with my family.”
Visiting the Biltmore
Since we live in Asheville, North Carolina, several of us visit the Biltmore Estate during the holidays. The staff there decorates every part of the estate, turning it into a wonderland of lights and Christmas greenery. Steve loves to visit, as do his parents (Greg, his father, works with us here building custom dining tables and the Sunniva outdoor line). My mother-in-law insists on a trip each year as well, and I’m never disappointed by the skill of the decorators.
Moments of Quiet Sweetness
My favorite times during this holiday season have always been quiet moments: tending the fire while my parents tell stories, baking cookies to give away to neighbors and colleagues, watching a classic movie with my honey while the air chills outside. Most of us cherish these times, and I think Melanie said it best. “This time of year is spent with friends and family, but some of the sweetness comes from the genuine downtime. Everything slows down and is expected to. Almost the whole world comes to a stop. This gives me permission to do the same. So, my senses are awake, present, and taking it all in: the smells of the pine needles, the baking pies, and turkey. The exhilarating feeling of the fresh, crisp air on my face during that traditional walk after dinner as a large group and then the warmth from the fireplace as nighttime falls. Light music playing under the chatter of the stories makes it all complete.”
However you celebrate (or choose not to), we wish you a joyous December filled with light, laughter, tasty food on the table, and a comfortable chair to sit and share your own traditions with your family.