BLOG: Ho, Ho, Ho, what are your holiday traditions?

By Assunta Ng

Don’t let anyone steal your Christmas. Not even a killer.

Look at Newtown, Conn. With a population of over 27,000, the city is determined to keep Christmas going despite the tragedy of a mass shooting. Their resilient spirit is amazing.

For those of you who have uneventful holidays, don’t ever fret about not being invited to parties, being penniless, or being lonely. It’s too bad that when we see the misfortunes of others, we finally realize how lucky we are.

While we need to honor the dead, we have to celebrate the living. At the end of the year, we have to unburden ourselves from worry, stress, anger, and bitterness. Change your mindset to find joy, sweetness, and beauty in our existence.

It isn’t easy. Some people find their fulfillment through eating and shopping during the holidays. One friend said he saw eight movies during the holiday. But you can go beyond these traditions and spend time with your friends and family or serve others in a variety of ways.

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Aegis Living’s chairman, Dwayne Clark gets into the Winterfest spirit with employees (Photo provided by Aegis Living)

1. Winterfest

Aegis Living, recently voted as one of the best places to work, started Winterfest to help its employees have a better Christmas. The company, which owns several assisted living quarters in Washington state and California, invites its caretaker staff to bring their families to choose free gifts, such as toys and warm coats.

Aegis buys all the new items in bulk, with discounts from retailers. Over 450 attended on Dec. 8 in Redmond for the gifts and free barbecue. You can create your own Winterfest, too.

2. Make your own Christmas tree

One of my friend’s Christmas tradition is to visit a tree farm with friends to select their trees. Afterwards, some plant their trees in their own backyards.

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3. Make your own calendar

Making a calendar is easy with a computer. You can pick a them, feature family photos, Washington state scenery, and pictures of your kids, your trips, your coworkers’ funny moments, and more. If you need help, you can always go to Kinkos. Give those calendars to your friends as gifts.

They will remember you every day.

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Cleveland High School students fundraising for the Salvation Army (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

4. Volunteering

Cleveland High School students collect donations for the Salvation Army outside Nordstrom.

You can also serve holiday meals to the homeless. Go to ACRS or Northwest Harvest. They need your help.

5. Singing carols

Music is a form of healing. Research has found that music can boost our mood. Sing, sing, sing this Christmas or go to the Seattle Symphony holiday concerts.

6. Chicken tradition

Jerry Lee started his chicken tradition with friends, giving away hundreds of Costco chickens to the poor at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service food bank.

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The Wong family tradition (Photo provided by James Wong)

7. Kids talent show

James Wong has an entertaining family gathering every Christmas. All the relatives’ kids perform a talent. This gives the kids a chance to build self-confidence. It’s best to videotape all the performances. They will be treasures in the years to come.

8. Cheering up the sick

Every Christmas, Phil Smart Sr. dresses up as Santa and visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital, giving gifts to cancer patients. Smart, who is 93, has been doing this for over 45 years.

9. Travel

Our family has traveled to Las Vegas, New Orleans, the Caribbean, and Thailand during Christmas. What was wonderful was escaping the freezing snowstorms of Seattle during those years. Guess I have a way of picking the right times and the right places. Chinatown travel agencies will be glad to help.

10. Organize your own parties

If you don’t get party invitations, you can invite others. A party doesn’t have to be lavish. I went to one recently, where the host just served chips, fried chicken, and drinks. Tell your guests to bring something if it is convenient. Although food was scarce, I enjoyed it because the guests were a dynamic mix of interesting people.

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From left: Mel Cutter, Ben Zhang (company founder and ceo), and Christine Fei (Photo by George Liu/NWAW)

11. Showcase achievers and your company

I always enjoy attending the annual Christmas party organized by Greater China Industries, Inc. Held at the Glendale Country Club last Friday, Dec. 14, founder Ben Zhang gave out awards to his sales team. What better way to honor your workers than in front of your suppliers, attorneys, friends, and their family members? The food was amazing, salmon and filet mignon for 100 guests.

At the event, Zhang announced that the company is now exporting Washington state wine to China.

If you still don’t want to do anything during the holidays, you are entitled to that. Doing nothing can be a sort of tradition, too. You can take Christmas time to be calm and rest. Whatever you do, just don’t let Christmas slip away without joy, gratitude, sharing, and giving.

What’s your holiday tradition? Visit our website at www.nwasianweekly.com and let us know! (end)

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