Holiday Traditions: ‘Tis the season to connect with what’s important

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The holiday season snuck up on me this year.

I blinked and it was November! Thanksgiving approached quickly; Christmas and Hanukkah aren’t far behind. With this in mind, it has me reminiscing about the past, specifically holiday traditions. What are yours?

One of my favorite holiday traditions happens on my mother’s side of the family.

My mother is 100 percent Italian and we have something called “an Italian Thanksgiving.” At this feast everyone brings a dish that they have perfected. It is a meal that makes me salivate just thinking about it! I look forward to it every year when I am able to travel home. However, before we eat this delicious meal we do two things: we talk about my great-grandfather Rocco and we pray. When we talk about Rocco, we repeat what he always said before every meal which was “God bless America!”

He would always say, “God bless America”, at every meal because he was truly thankful to live here in our country. Living in America gave him the opportunity to eat well and provide for his family. In Italy, he grew up poor and food was scarce. However, in America, Rocco was able to eat and live well, perhaps better than in his wildest dreams. In repeating that phrase we remember where we come from and family members that went before us. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for Rocco, America, and God. Next, we pray giving thanks for all of these blessings.

I am sure your family has similar traditions. This truly is a wonderful time of the year to remember the past and to celebrate.

Speaking of holiday tradition the Nellis Chapel has some fun upcoming holiday traditions we are planning. On Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m., Nellis AFB will be celebrating two events: The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and a Menorah Presentation retelling the miracle of Hanukkah. These events are always a ton of fun and we hope you can join us. We will have refreshments, crafts for children, and pictures with a popular elderly large old man who will be traveling to our base from far up north. Of course, I am talking about Santa Claus! You do not want to miss this fun family event.

The holiday season will culminate for the Nellis Chapel on Dec. 24, with Christmas Eve services and a Hanukkah Menorah Lighting that incidentally starts the same day! We hope to see you.

If these are your traditions, do what you can to be a part and keep them alive. But if you are able to make it home, wherever home is, stop and slow yourself, and bask in the glow of your traditions that connect you to what and who is special in your life. Either way we wish you and your family a safe and happy holidays!

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