None of us can remember when it started.
’94? Or ’95.
Who started it? Marty? Yes, that’s right. It’s so something she would do.
I remember it started when the “young set” joined the company. Young set… I was thirty-two and they were twenty-five.
The first “girls Christmas ornament exchange” I attended was after work. At a down town tea shop.
I’d been away from the company for about two or three years but went back to work part time. And loved the new tradition of a girls ornament exchange.
Since the middle 90s, a lot of things have changed. Almost all the “girls” have left the company. Several have moved away. But there is a core of us who gather every Christmas season to talk, laugh, catch up, and exchange Christmas ornaments.
Though we only see each other once a year, we gather like old good friends with hugs and cheek-kisses.
We reminisce. Toss out former co-worker names from 25 years ago and wonder how they are doing now.
We pass around pictures of our children. And yes, grandchildren.
I make this lunch a priority. Because tradition roots us. Makes us feel a part of life, of the community.
One year, I blanked and missed the luncheon. No one had my phone number (a situation now remedied) and it was the year everyone came. The friends from Orlando and surrounding area.
Ah! I was so bummed.
Last year one of our friends was in town from New Jersey and she made it a point to join the exchange. We hadn’t see her in 20 years.
When I came to this town, I was fresh out of college, living on my own, away from my family, away from my college friends and these folks were some of my first friends during that new phase of life.
And now, my Christmas tree is trimmed with the ornaments we’ve exchanged over the last eighteen years. My tree is trimmed with friendship and love.
What about you? Do you have any traditions you wouldn’t miss?
Best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story.
She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship for their annual conference. At the fall conference in Indianapolis, she was named ACFW 2013 Mentor of the Year.
She lives in Florida, where she is also a worship leader, with her husband and mini schnauzer.
Her novel, The Wedding Dress, was named Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year. Her latest release, Once Upon A Prince, earned starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly.
Visit her at www.rachelhauck.com