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The holiday traditions we love

We’re slowly embracing the holiday spirit at Parkway. We decked out our window for Lancaster’s seasonal transformation to Christmasville. We also sat down to reflect on our favorite traditions this time of year—both past and present. Keep reading for our team’s traditions, which are (unsurprisingly) a humble mix of comic relief and sentimental moments.

“An As Seen on TV Gift”

“We do have one fun holiday tradition that has been going on for 14 years. Each year, we hold a white elephant gift exchange with our friends—with a catch. It has to be an As Seen on TV gift. Shamwow, the Clapper, Flex Seal, anything with the logo on the box. It’s fun because it is all trash, but sometimes you get something you’ll actually use. (We have ceramic knives that cut chicken like butter we use all the time. Those were from about 4 years ago.) It was just a stupid idea my roommate and I came up with 14 years ago—well before marriage, kids and all the responsibilities of adult life.

“[Traditions are] important to me because they are an opportunity to gather friends together to catch up on the past year. A lot of those friends I don’t see as much as I’d like anymore. Between work, kids and super busy schedules, it is hard to carve out the time. But each year, everyone comes back for the Christmas party. It’s the one gathering everyone looks forward to.” – Chris, Creative Lead

“Decorate the Tree with Vintage Ornaments”

“One way my family gets into the holiday spirit is by decorating our Christmas tree with vintage ornaments that belonged to our relatives who are no longer with us. We have a lot of really cool ornaments from the 1950s (at least I think that’s when they are from). It’s a nice way for us to honor them during the holidays!” – Dana, Designer

“Baking Cookies While Listening to Kenny & Dolly”

“My favorite holiday tradition is baking cookies while listening to this CD and this CD only: Kenny & Dolly – Once Upon a Christmas! My mom, my sisters and I all have a deep appreciation for this soundtrack. Even if we can’t get together to bake, I know they’re all doing the same in their kitchens and it makes me happy. Baking is such a small gesture but I love leaving a handmade gift (and wine, obviously) for holiday party hosts, friends and family. I have a huge sweet tooth so this tradition also greatly benefits me.

“My husband and I have a Good Year Jar which we open together in the week between Christmas and New Year’s to remind us of all the positive things that happened over the last 365 days. As good things happen throughout the year, we jot them down on a piece of paper and place them in the jar, and then reflect on them during the holiday season. It’s easy to forget the small things in the hustle and bustle of life and it leaves us feeling extra grateful as we start a new year together!

“Another tradition I love (and will continue with our growing family) is adopting a child at Christmas. When I completed Leadership Buffalo, I realized just how many organizations in our region have needs during the holiday season. Plenty of them will post Amazon wish lists or host toy drives to donate to. Parkway has participated in many!” – Jenna, Project Manager

“I Love the Itty Bitty Gifts”

My favorite holiday tradition is stockings! I love the itty bitty gifts; I love opening them first (usually before breakfast, while presents come after breakfast); I even love that they include what some people might consider boring gifts: new ‘school supplies’ (markers, pens, Post-Its), and travel-sized lotions and lip balms.” – Taylor, Content Strategist

“When the Elves Rang the Doorbell, it was Time for Sleep”

“Growing up, my little sister and I had to wait at the top of the stairs for our parents to get their coffee before we could come down and open stockings and gifts. We would always have the ‘yule log’ on TV and holiday music playing and, thinking back, it really was such a magical time. One annoyingly non-magical memory my parents loved was telling us on Christmas Eve when the elves rang the doorbell, it was time for sleep. Every single year, the doorbell obnoxiously rang around 9 pm and even when we opened the door, it wouldn’t stop. It terrified us and took us well into college to figure out how it was happening!

“Now, with some little ones in the mix, Christmas Eve has become an adult/sibling favorite. We print out and color holiday coloring sheets (with or without the kiddos), blast the Pentatonix holiday album and bake cookies. Once we’ve stalked Santa Tracker and read some books with the little ones (and they’re asleep), we keep the music going, drink some wine, wrap presents and usually go back to coloring!” – Jennifer, Digital Copywriter

“Everyone Knows They Have a Place at Our Table”

“Every year we gather at my house on Christmas Eve for a large meal, followed by a gift exchange. Almost every year we ask friends to join us who do not have family in town for the holidays. We do this every year because we feel it’s important that everyone knows they have a place at our table.” – Rob, Technical Lead

“Setting up the Tree of Memories”

My favorite holiday tradition is setting up the big tree for the Christmas Eve party at my grandmother’s house. This party is the one event that has stayed consistent throughout my life. It’s a big deal, so all of my cousins come in from out of town to celebrate with us.

When setting up the tree I get to hang the plethora of ornaments that we have created throughout the years and watch as it becomes a tree of memories. They are full of pictures of us when we were younger and places we have been to as a family. We also set up a really cool and fully functional train track around the tree. This is very cool because my uncle built this before I was born, so setting it up has been a part of Christmas for me every year. – Mike, Programmer