Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 12-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 THE VALLEY DECEMBER 12-18, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION Family holiday traditions run deeply personal Some of The Valley Breeze edito- rial staff members share below their favorite holiday traditions with you, our readers. Enjoy. Lauren Clem For as long as I can remember, my family has kicked off Christmas by singing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus lying in the manger. On Christmas morn- ing – and, in later years, after returning from midnight Mass – my brother and I took turns placing Jesus in the man- ger and leading the family in a slightly off-key version of the song. The rest of the nativity set always arrived a few weeks early, but, as we set up stable, my mom would hand Jesus to one of us and tell us it was our responsibility to find a safe hiding place where he would be out of sight until Christmas morning. Inevitably, one year, we lost him. We spent much of that Christmas morning searching through sock drawers and jewelry boxes only to come up empty- handed. Luckily, my brother had made a shoebox nativity scene for school, and, in our desperation, we decided to borrow the baby Jesus he had improvised for that low- budget display. That year, and for several years after, we sang "Happy Birthday" to a peanut with a face drawn on it in marker that smiled out from the manger as Mary looked lovingly on. My parents have since purchased a new baby Jesus, but I still miss that little peanut with its happy smiling face. If there's a moral to this story, it's that you don't need expensive deco- rations to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Or, rather, if you hand your children a treasured family keepsake and tell them to hide it, they won't remember where they put it a few weeks later. And yes, we still sing "Happy Birthday" on Christmas day. Laura Colantonio One of my favorite Christmas traditions started with an ornament made out of a simple walnut shell. I guess it pretty much just looks like a nut shell with a slight crack running through the center, attached to a loop of red ribbon. But the reason I like it so much is that it reminds me of when I was a child and the excitement of the holidays. The ornament started out as a fun and unique way to conceal a surprise gift. When I was a little girl, my parents were always looking for creative ways to surprise my sister and me at Christmas. One particular year, we had just finished opening our presents under the tree, my par- ents opened their gifts to each other, and we had emptied our stockings (which always came last). We were about to get ready for our annual family vis- its, when my dad informed us that there was one more present to open. We were told to look closely at the tree for a new ornament with our name on it. Hidden were two walnut shells. With the help of my parents, we cracked the shells and each discov- ered a small ring with our birthstone in it. We were so excited about the unexpected presents and loved the fun of how the gifts were hidden that we insisted on having the shells glued back together and hung back on the tree. The "ornaments" made their way back onto the tree every year since. One Christmas a few years ago, my dad brought the walnut surprise back with a twist – everyone in the family, including my young nephew, found walnuts at the bottom of their stock- ings, along with clues for a scavenger hunt throughout my parents' house. The clues all led to a hiding spot for walnuts with each family member's name on them, with a surprise gift inside. The walnut scavenger hunt is now a tradition that our family looks forward to each year. Jacquelyn Moorehead My siblings and I spent many Christmas Eve evenings with our noses squished against the glass of our bay window, craning our heads up to the sky while hoping for snow. The magic of a white Christmas was the icing to the holiday for me, my older sister Jasmine, and younger brother Cody. Upon returning from our annual candlelight ser- vice and nativity play, my parents, Debbie and Jerry, would allow each of us to open one present. One year I received a walkie- talkie set that my sis- ter and I whispered to each other with under pillows and blankets in our bunk beds. Though we could hear each other clearly on any given night without the radios, it was my favorite present I've ever received, and still think of that night when we open our Christmas Eve presents. Most years, my brother would usually open a noise-blasting toy he could torture his older sisters with, keeping us up as late as pos- sible while still waking the family up before 7 a.m. to open presents. Each Moorehead takes a turn passing out presents from under the tree, while we dodged "snowballs" of wadded- up wrapping paper. After cleaning up, the family plus significant others will jam onto the couch like a packed car full of clowns, and finish the holiday with marathons of Hallmark Movies. Merry Christmas! Nicole Dotzenrod It's hard to top the feeling of pure excitement we felt as children on Christmas Eve, gathering at my grandmother's house with my cous- ins and younger sister to prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. We'd be sure Santa and his team of reindeer spotted our houses from their sleigh high above the tree line with our spe- cial reindeer food; a mix of Quaker Oats and glitter. As we grew older, a new tradition began for the adults. Every year, we participate in a "Yankee Swap," a Secret Santa game requiring each participant to supply an unmarked Christmas present for less than $20. Participants pull a number from a hat, from one to the total number of people. Player one chooses a gift from under the tree to unwrap and show off. The next person can either select a new gift to unwrap and keep, or "steal" one of the already unwrapped items. The game continues until everyone has a turn, returning to player one who can choose from any of the gifts. Gifts can be serious or silly (in my family, they skew toward the silly side). There is a lot of trading, and a lot of broken hearts. You think you're going home with a nice car detailing kit and you leave with a used con- struction hard hat. We've had every- thing from Elmo Snuggies to boxes of toilet paper. A mischievous garden gnome has been a recurring pres- ent every year for the past several Christmases, and while its recipient is left with a pants-less gnome for a year, they're not required to buy a new Yankee Swap gift next year. Whether it's making reindeer food or participating in more "adult" tradi- tions, the best part of Christmas is swapping laughs and making memo- ries with family. Lise Barnett My favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the Christmas tree with my family. I take care of the lights and the garland and then we all pitch in with the assorted ornaments. I love listening to my kids reminisce and laugh about the memories attached to certain ornaments. We have to have Christmas classics like "The Grinch" and "Year Without a Santa Claus" playing on the TV. My husband, Ron, does the honors of putting the finishing touch of the angel on the top of the tree. When we are done, we watch our favorite Christmas spe- cial, "Charlie Brown Christmas." Even though my daughter, Liane, and son, RJ, are now grown and on their own, it means a lot to me that they still come by, along with my son-in-law, Rodger, to decorate our family tree. CLEM COLANTONIO MOOREHEAD DOTZENROD BARNETT See TRADITIONS, Page 4 Valley Breeze offices to close for Christmas & New Year's holidays CHRISTMAS DEADLINES The Valley Breeze office in Lincoln will be closed on Monday & Tuesday, December 24 & 25, 2018 for the Christmas holiday. The news and display advertising deadline will move forward to Wednesday, December 19th at 3 p.m. for the Dec. 26th/27th editions. The classified line advertising deadline will move to Thursday, December 20th at Noon. NEW YEAR'S DEADLINES The Valley Breeze office in Lincoln will be closed on Tuesday, Janu- ary 1, 2019 in observance of New Year's Day. The news and display advertising deadline will move forward to Thursday, December 27th at 3 p.m. for the Jan. 2nd/3rd editions. The classified line advertising deadline will move to Friday, December 28th at Noon. Lifetime Medical Home Care is in need of CNAs with a RI up to date C.N.A. license to provide care to Adult and/or Pedi clients. We offer flexible schedules, which allow you to choose the days, time & locations in RI that fit with the hours that you are available to work. We offer competitive wages, 401(K) Pension Plan, Sick Time etc. Please Call Lifetime Medical at 333-3333, or 1-800-333-NURSE (6877) to set up an appointment, or stop by our office located at 235 Lonsdale Ave., Pawtucket, RI 02860. E/O/E CNAs NEEDED FOR HOME CARE Spanish & Portuguese Speaking CNAs is a plus HISTORY MATTERS Visit Our Military Museum G.I. JOE'S ARMY & NAVY STORE 847 E. Washington Street, North Attleboro, MA 02760 (508) 699-1200 • BUY • SELL • TRADE

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