by Bailey Verreault
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with all of the parties, shopping and gifts. We often forget what this season is really about because the idea of commercialism and materialism consumes us. Finding the best gift for that special someone and hosting the perfect party are huge stressors in our lives when this should be a time of giving, relaxation and cheer. Do you remember how excited you got about the holidays when you were younger? As a child, you enjoyed the simple joys of Christmas. The world just seemed a little softer and kinder, and winter break was actually a break. It was truly the most magical time of the year.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Christmas is still my favorite holiday and the season brings me so much joy, but as I get older, it’s not so much a “break.” The stress of gift-giving, social obligations and Christmas parties started to get in the way. However, working at flourish has taught me that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the fun traditions and times we experienced as kids. From decorating our office tree, to exchanging gifts and choosing a charity, flourish has allowed me to re-experience a kid-like, fun and stress-free Christmas once again.
Decorating a Christmas tree has to be one of the most time-honored traditions this time of year. Who doesn’t remember driving or walking through neighborhoods and seeing the beautifully-decorated trees in living room windows, covered in lights, garlands, and ornaments? Christmas tree decorating, for me, represents the beginning of the season, which is why I’ve missed participating in this family activity. Having been out of college and on my own for the past few years, I’ve gotten used to celebrating the majority of the holiday season away from my family, but the fun holiday traditions at flourish has reminded me of my fun childhood Christmas memories. In our conference room, a small Christmas tree stands that we all played a role in decorating. Taking just a quick break from the work day to ornament the tree was a fun and festive activity that brought the office closer together. This brightly lit and gorgeously-decorated tree makes going to work just a little bit brighter.
Another way the Christmas spirit spreads throughout flourish is through Secret Santa. I’ve been fortunate enough to love going to work every day… and I thank my coworkers for this. Your colleagues are with you for eight hours a day, five days a week. They are there for you at 8 a.m. before your first cup of coffee, and if you’re lucky enough, may even become your friends. Exchanging gifts is a good way to show your appreciation for them during the holiday season. Just a few days ago, we celebrated this time of year and each other by enjoying a festive brunch, followed by a game of Christmas charades then the giving of gifts. It’s times like these when the stressors of Christmas go away and just for a brief moment, you have the chance to enjoy the holidays as you did when you were a kid.
Who remembers the 1965 Christmas classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, when Charlie Brown questions the true meaning of Christmas? To answer his question, Linus reads the King James’ version scripture reading Luke 2: 8-14, ending the scripture reading with “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” After hearing this, Charlie Brown was determined not to let commercialism ruin his Christmas because despite his prior beliefs, Christmas is not about the presents, decorations, lights and things, but it’s about good will towards men… love. We often say that we are too busy or don’t have enough time to help out during the holidays, but that is not the case at flourish. We make it a priority to help out those less fortunate. For this year’s project, we donated to Miracle Hill by making baskets for over 10 foster couples, filling them with goodies and treats. If you can just do one thing for someone else during this season, it will make a difference.
We are truly a family here at flourish, and therefore celebrate the holidays like one. It’s because of the family traditions, the people and the encouragement I receive daily, that I look forward to coming to work each and every morning.