|These two young boys are anxiously reaching for toys that were provided for hundreds of kids that received toys during the SEIU Security Officers United in Los Angeles (SOULA) annual luncheon and toy drive held at the Los Angeles Sentinel recently. SEIU SOULA 2006 members recently celebrated the holidays with the assistance of hosts Councilmember Bernard Parks and the Los Angeles Sentinel at their first annual Holiday Celebration. Members celebrated with food, music, and toys donated by the United Way AFL-CIO Labor Community Services. SOULA celebrated their recent victory of securing the support of key building owners to settle current contract negotiations for higher wages and family healthcare without delay. SOULA President Faith D. Culbreath was also on hand.|
As Christmas approaches this Tuesday, there are many ways that families choose to celebrate this last and perhaps most important holiday of the year.
For some, Christmas represents everyone coming home to exchange gifts and spend time with one another. For others, it is a chance to reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ in their own personal way.
Lately, the real meaning of the holiday has been lost in the shuffle of beating the crowds to buy gifts. Even now, malls such as the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza are full of people buying last minute gift items.
But for most families, they find ways to remember that faith is perhaps the most dominant theme of the Christmas season. The birth of Christ represents a new hope for the world and it ranks as one of the important events in the history of founding the Church itself.
Some decide to attend a traditional late night Christmas Eve service. Others use the Sunday before Christmas as their chance to spend time watching a traditional Christmas play or hear an inspiring message about the birth of Christ.
Most have some tradition that revolves around sharing gifts or reading the holiday story of Christ in the books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible. This helps in keeping the day in its proper perspective since most houses of worship are closed.
Domina Nyinawinyange, a recent college graduate whose family lives in Colorado, said that her family usually attends a Christmas Eve service then opens a present that night. On Christmas Day, they read the story of Jesus’ birth after breakfast.
Carlisa Stevenson, a personal recruiting assistant for Vector Marketing Corporation, said that one tradition involves her mother making a birthday cake for Jesus.
In addition to celebrating one’s faith, each family has their own unique tradition when it comes to sharing gifts. Stevenson’s family, for example, does a special gift exchange with a particular family member by getting their favorite gift idea.
Another example comes from Nyinawinyange’s family where they have a fun way of figuring out where they will spend Christmas day. In each of their stockings is a piece to a puzzle and when all of the pieces are together, it spells where they are going for their trip.
Other examples come from personal touches around the house, such as decorating the tree with a Black angel at the top or playing Christmas music from R&B or gospel artists.
Whether it be Donny Hathaway’s classic “This Christmas,” James Brown saying “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” or something more modern like Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s collaboration “Let It Snow” or Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” you can find ways to bring a little soul into your Christmas celebration.
Others find more charitable ways to spread holiday cheer to remind them that it’s not about just their immediate family. Whether it be donating their time at a homeless shelter or donating presents, they don’t just leave the Christmas spirit inside their immediate circle.
But the majority of people find a way to use Christmas to catch up and reflect on the past year with family. They may come together to watch a holiday movie or the traditional NBA doubleheader, but the most important tradition here is spending quality time away from the world’s worries with the people who matter the most.
The beauty of the holiday is that everyone celebrates it differently and it’s that different personal touch makes it worthwhile. So over this weekend, reflect on your own traditions and find a way to spread your holiday cheer to someone else.