To celebrate the holiday season, we asked our team to tell us about a cherished holiday memory. From elves to last-minute gift buying, we’re sure you’ll see a bit of yourself in each of our stories. Above all else, we hope you see the joy and love that each memory holds.
Wishing you the happiest of holidays,
– the CTS Team
My first Christmas memory is from the early 2000s when I was invited to my ex-girlfriend’s family home. Assuming I would just be a bystander to their family tradition, I was not prepared at all. On the morning of the Christmas eve, she told me how everyone had bought me multiple gifts and she couldn’t wait for me to open them. Even the family members I have never met! I only had a few hours before we had to go there, so I jumped into my car to find gifts for eight people. Even though it was a stressful start and I don’t enjoy shopping, I quickly realized it was a lot of fun shopping for gifts! I managed to get it all done, and we were only late to the party by a couple hours. Having a silly nature, I gladly put on the dancing Santa hat and the tackiest sweater I have ever seen. From the moment we arrived to the time we left, everyone wore big smiles. Warmth, positivity, and cheer filled every corner of the house and was bounced back and forth between us as we ate cookies, played games, and opened gifts. I never forget how my cheeks were hurting from wearing big smiles the next day.
Our family marks the beginning of Christmas with the arrival of our family elf: Hermie. Hermie is different from the elves you see in stores today because he was hand-made by my mother. Back in the 80s, my mom and her sisters dreamed up the idea of building and selling elves to families across the country and even made it so far as to hand-make hundreds of elves. While their business never took off, every family on my mother’s side has a personal elf that arrives the day after Thanksgiving and stays until Christmas eve. I remember waking up every December morning and hunting to find the elf’s new perch (he usually flew about at night). Sometimes though, the elf would fly about the house while we were home! My mom would jump up surprised and ask a questions like “did you see that? I think I felt a breeze.” Shortly after, one of us kids would spot Hermie in the room and put the pieces together. My mother was so good at cultivating the magic that we would all genuinely believe that we’d felt the breeze and seen him fly in, too.
When my siblings and I moved out, we were each given our own elf. I aptly named mine “Hermie Junior”, and now she arrives to my own home every holiday season. I’m sure she still reports my naughty or nice status back to the Clause household, but more than that, she reminds me of the wisdom my mother shared with me the day I confronted her about Santa’s existence: “Now that you know the secret, you get to be a magic maker, too. It doesn’t matter where the magic of Christmas comes from. In fact, isn’t it beautiful to know that it comes from within all of us?”
My favorite holiday memory is of the first time I was able to afford something nice for my parents. I had my first job that year, and I saved up enough to buy them each a used iPhone. I remember going shopping for white wrapping paper and red ribbon (to recreate the Apple experience) and testing everything to make sure it worked. It was such a good feeling seeing them open their gifts and giving them something back on Christmas for once.