Three Local Families Share Their Holiday Traditions

The Miller Family

Parent: Tara
Children: Ryan (3) and twins Preston and Ellie (1)

What do the holidays mean to you? Christmas is a time to believe in the magic, believe in the wondrous, believe in the good in people.

What are your top 5 holiday traditions?

1. Christmas lights. Every year we go to the Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and also the light display in the Upper Sandusky park. We usually try to visit the zoo on a warmer day and love to save the Upper Sandusky lights for a snowy night!
2. Pictures with Santa. I hang a picture of each child on Santa’s lap in a dated picture frame ornament on our tree. The framed pictures are a wonderful souvenir and it’s so much fun to see how the children change from year to year. Ryan loves to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. Last year it was a “tractor, a combine, and a field!”
3. Christmas Eve service. I especially love our candle-light singing of Silent Night. It’s important to remember the reason for the season and it’s very grounding for this Mama.
4. Book-a-day. This is a new tradition I’m starting this year. I’ve bought and borrowed a collection of Christmas books to wrap and put under the tree. Starting December 1, the kids will get to pick one book per night to unwrap and read
as a family.
5. Polar Express train ride. We love riding the train at the Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation on CR 99. In fact, Ryan loves it so much that this year I’m planning a special trip for the two of us to ride the Polar Express at the Cuyahoga
Valley Scenic Railroad.

McClure Family

The McClure Family

Parent: Cassidy
Child: Adelyn (3)

What do the holidays mean to you? Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, count our blessings and spend special time with family and friends.

What are your top 5 holiday traditions?

1. Decorating the tree. When I was growing up, my mom would get me a Barbie ornament every year to put on the tree. I have 18 Barbie ornaments now that I am passing down to Adelyn each year. I also get Adelyn a special ornament to put on her tree
in her bedroom.
2. Winterfest and Santa visit. Our annual trip to visit Santa is always memorable because Adelyn cries and I have the hysterical pictures to prove it! We enjoy Findlay’s Winterfest which includes a horse drawn wagon ride through downtown to see the lights.
3. Toledo Zoo lights. It’s one of our favorite things to do together with friends. Adelyn’s favorite part is watching the light show while listening and dancing to the music. Christmas lights always get us into the holiday spirit!
4. Christmas Eve dinner. One of my favorite family traditions is Christmas Eve dinner with my mom’s side of the family. My mom has eight siblings so our gatherings are large—around 60 people! The past two years have been difficult for our family with both my grandparents passing away, along with other illnesses and hardships for several family members. But this has not stopped our family from our traditional Christmas gathering, even though it will be sad without my grandparents around this year. Being around family—laughing, conversing, sharing a meal together—makes the holidays special.
5. Christmas Eve church service. Celebrating the birth of Jesus and understanding the true meaning of Christmas is something I want Adelyn to always know. Christmas is a busy time and it can get overwhelming with shopping, baking, holiday parties and gift giving. Listening to Christmas hymns and hearing the Christmas story brings me peace.

Lloyd Family

The Lloyd Family

Parents: Brian and Bridgette
Children: Nicholas (14) and Nathan (12)

What do the holidays mean to you? Christmas is a time to spend cherished, magical moments with family and friends.

What are your top 5 holiday traditions?

1. Watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Ever since
I was a little girl, I’ve loved this television special. So, Brian and I have continued the tradition of watching the show as a family. We usually pop popcorn and have hot chocolate.
2. Upper Sandusky Christmas lights. When the boys were little we started driving around Findlay to show them the beautiful lights people so lovingly and proudly put up in their yards and houses. As they grew older, we decided to make it bigger and better with Upper Sandusky’s lights. The lights bring the magic of Christmas to our hearts, and we are all together. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
3. Making gingerbread houses. We use graham crackers and homemade frosting, M&Ms, Starlight mints and all sorts of candy. It’s usually one of the first traditions of the season so they can be displayed for us to enjoy.
4. Opening one gift on Christmas Eve. We started this a few years ago so the boys could have their Christmas morning pajamas on when they woke up. Some years we get a little carried away and open a few more!
5. Inviting Grandma for Christmas Eve and morning. We invited my Mom to our house one Christmas Eve about 10 years ago to stay overnight so she would have someone to be with on Christmas morning. We decided to ask her to come stay every year so she wouldn’t be lonely, and now it’s a wonderful tradition full of great memories.

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