The holidays continue to be special as we get older, as the glow of past Christmases becomes burnished in our minds. We begin to nurture those feelings as we realize how precious time is, how important it is to be there for family, how necessary it is to help lonely individuals feel wanted, and why it’s comforting to be part of a family that faces everyday challenges together. I wish you a holiday as happy as your first memories of a joyous Christmas, a festive Chanukah, or a happy Kwanza — and above all, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Last night I watched a TV show with a Christmas theme. (Not unusual for this time of year.) One of the people on the show said something that was memorable. (Usually unusual for TV.) He said, as adults, we’re always trying to capture the childhood feeling of our first Christmas, which is why we work so hard to make Christmas special.
Good memories are like that. Over the years they take on a special glow and we remember specific events with nostalgia. For me, it’s Christmas time. I remember so many wonderful childhood Christmas events.
I remember going into the forest each year with my parents to cut down and bring home the perfect tree. It had to appear perfect to every one of us!
I remember sneaking downstairs to see the tree, heavy with ornaments collected over the years. And the presents. It seemed like there were mountains of presents under a tree that sparkled with mounds of tinsel. Those special memories of Christmas excitement have never left me.
We still have a live tree at home, and it still overflows with Christmas gifts for the family, kids and grandkids. And every strand of good old-fashioned tinsel must be perfectly placed on the tree.
What’s changed since my childhood is that my family has grown much larger. It now includes everyone at Shamrock. We make a big deal about the holidays at Shamrock’s Westlake headquarters. The lobby is decorated with a huge tree and there are loads of ornaments in every corner. Each office door is decorated with a holiday wreath. And we celebrate with traditions that include the formal Shamrock Christmas dinner party with spouses and significant others, when our Westlake site turns into the country club Christmas party scene from a 1950s movie.
More important, we have a tradition of giving back to the community during the holidays. The entire Shamrock family has a Giving Tree designated to help several needy families in the community. Each person picks a name and buys a specific request for that person. We donate goods to the Cleveland Foodbank. We also help out other local charities by donating time or money.