What Do the Holidays Mean to You?

Another Christmas season is upon us, and it might be a little different with shipping delays expected on merchandise, staffing shortages impacting many businesses and continued concerns around COVID limiting family get-togethers. Despite all of that, we want to take a deeper look at what makes this time of year special. Here, we share some of the stories from our communities.

My parents, Ken and Arlyce Pearson, moved into Wesley Des Moines this July after leaving the home they built and lived in for 50 years. To my and my two brothers’ relief, they have settled in nicely and are loving their new home more and more each day.

We have beautiful Christmas memories in the home we grew up in. On Christmas Eve, after candlelight church service, we would arrive home to discover Santa had been to our house while away. Before looking under the tree, we’d dine on Swedish meatballs (my Grandma’s recipe) and an assortment of meats and cheeses.

We were doubly blessed waking up Christmas morning with our stockings full. Santa came to our house twice! Christmas morning brought the Swedish potato dumpling treat of krup kakar served with fried eggs–something I now make every year and serve to my family.

Traditions are important to carry on from generation to generation, and I love that I can share these traditions with my husband and our two boys and hope they will pass it on to their families some day. I know Nana and ‘Ba’ will approve!

Merry Christmas & God Bless,
Jennifer (Pearson) Cooper,
Daughter to Amazing Parents Ken & Arlyce Pearson

Growing up, we got together with my dad’s and my mom’s side of the family over the Christmas holiday, with rotating host families.

There are many great memories from that time: playing hide and seek in Holy Rosary Church in Tacoma, taking an uncle’s pet raccoon Goggles for a walk on a leash in Bremerton and walking around in barn boots in a 50 acre field of cows in Auburn.

Delicious food was always plentiful. We made a Ginger Ale Salad with lime jello and ginger ale as the liquid and whipped cream folded in, Forgotten Pudding (really a meringue) with fruit and more whipped cream, plus world class apple, pumpkin and pecan pies!

Auntie Esther from Kansas always made outstanding mashed potatoes and cooked like she was expecting a battalion of lumberjacks. When we asked why her potatoes were so good, she said, “You have to add half a pound of butter and a pint of whipping cream for best results.” Yes, that certainly ought to do it.

Pat Kelly Chubb

Painting by Nancy Bogni

My favorite Christmas is that of 2021…it all happened on October 5th of this year!

I was visiting my daughter in Montana, and we hadn’t been able to spend the holidays together in over eight years. As we arrived at her house, there was a beautiful Christmas wreath on her front door, and I didn’t know if she was either very early or really late in her decorating process!  

We opened the door to huge family smiles and a house full of good cheer, a brightly lit and beautifully decorated Christmas tree, music and the smell of our holiday dinner!

Nancy Bogni

“O’er the mountains they drove
To see Patti by jove
And also to see Bobaloo,
But what a surprise
Greeted their eyes
‘cuz Santa had visited too.

He brought gifts for all
They adorned the hall,
I think there was even a gecko.
But the biggest surprise
To my wonder filled eyes,
Was my very own, very own Echo! 

Yes tears filled our eyes
From such a surprise
With the joy of Christmas that day.
It’s hard to believe
Or even conceive
Of the love that had come our way.”

Nancy Bogni