Lighting Up the Library:
To help our library staff and community get into the holiday spirit we light up our library with a beautiful seasonal lights display. Visit the library in the evening to join the fun!
Lighting Up the Library:
Community Holiday Giving:
Every year, we participate in Village of Glendale Heights’ Christmas Sharing program and provide gifts for a family in need. We also run a food drive where we collected 484 food items and packed them into 15 boxes. This year we are also collecting hats, gloves, coats, warm clothes, and cleaning supplies for DuPage Pads. A big round of thanks to our generous library community!
Community Holiday Wreaths:
During the month of December, we hang wreaths we’ve received from our library community. These wreaths represent various organizations, schools, nationalities, and hobbies. Here are a few wreaths we’ve receive over the years:
Everyone has their own unique ways of celebrating the holiday season with their friends and families. Here are a few stories of the special traditions our staff participate in:
My grandma always gave my brother and me a chocolate Advent calendar. I now give one each year to my niece and nephew. I also give them an ornament each year since they were born. My grandfather made a wooden nativity set that we put up each year.
My family traditions growing up in a family of 7 siblings include visiting Santa at the Marshall Field store (downtown or Oak Brook), making our “wish list” for Santa from the Sears or J.C. Penney Christmas catalog. Spending Christmas Eve listening and reading Christmas stories. On Christmas Day, sharing the joy and excitement of what Santa brought and then going to Mass as a family. Enjoying Christmas with also extended family. Stories, music, Mass, downtown, has continued as my daughters were younger.
We’ve made Christmas cookies for over 60 years from a recipe my mom got from a neighbor while she was in high school. Our family considers this recipe such a celebration that it has been made as “thank-yous”, wedding favors, and birthday treats.
My grandfather owned and operated a German bakery in Wisconsin, so food and drink are very important to my family, especially around the holidays. We always make it a point to get downtown for Chicago’s Christkindlmarket so we can eat pretzels and warm up with a mug of Glühwein. We also celebrate a lot of birthdays around Christmastime – my cousin’s is the 26th, mine’s the 27th, and my uncle’s is the 28th.
My mom is Polish and my dad is Italian. So, I have a mix of different cultural holiday traditions every year. For Christmas dinner, we always have a giant lasagna and homemade cannolis. I spend hours making those cannoli shells! Before dinner, though, we always break oplatek around the table. Oplatek is a thin wafer that you break with the person sitting next to you, as you wish them well for the new year. It’s my favorite Polish tradition.
I have an 18″ stuffed cloth tree which is decorated with brooches and lapel pins. About 2 weeks before Christmas I put it on the mantel, and I hang my husband’s and my childhood Christmas stockings under it. I put chocolates and snacks in the stockings on Christmas Eve night, to munch on Christmas Day. It’s very relaxing!
Our family gets together on Christmas Eve to celebrate baby Jesus’s birth date. We have a nativity set with our baby Jesus doll that is dressed up. We pray the rosary at around 8 or 9 PM to start our celebration. During the rosary we sing songs that tell us what piece of clothing we take off the doll. Once we are finished with the rosary, it’s time for baby Jesus to sleep. We put him in his bed and wrap him around warm blankets. At 12 AM, on Christmas morning, we open our presents. The reason why we open our presents at this time is to symbolize our gratitude. We do this every Christmas. On Christmas day, we reunite (once we wake after our celebration at 12 AM) at our aunts’ or uncles’ houses to eat tamales, pozole, hot chocolate, ponche Navideño, and so much more.
Every Christmas Eve, my family (approximately 40 people) celebrate a meatless meal. We start with a thin wafer that we share along with blessings and wishes for the New Year. We have mushroom soup, potatoes, sauerkraut, pierogi, fried fish, rye brad. barley and stewed fruit. We then sing Christmas carols and distribute the gifts. After, we attend midnight mass. I’ve been doing this for 70+ years.
I am from Kerala, India. We decorate the Christmas trees with previous years’ Christmas cards. We will have fireworks. We will have a Christmas Carol service in church on Christmas eve. The church choir will go around and sing carols in every house and the money collected will be donated to the church. We will have special meals and lots of sharing of fruit cakes among friends and family.
A live tree is a must, and we always trim it to the tunes of Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and this little gem of a CD, A Classic Cartoon Christmas from Nick at Nite Records.
On Christmas Eve my siblings, their spouses, cousins, my fiancee, and I engage in cut-throat war of Gals versus Guys Pictionary, have a round of Christmas carols, play another intense game of Celebrity, when finally we commence with an hour-long present distribution of gifts to nieces, nephews, parents and when they have all been passed out – everyone opens theirs at the same time! On Christmas Day the cousins catch a movie.
We have one tried and true holiday tradition in our family and that is Brenda Lee! My mom just goes bonkers for that album, especially ‘The Angel and the Little Blue Bell’. I think she even had that song on repeat one year. Can you imagine listening to one Christmas song on repeat all day? I think any song on repeat would drive me crazy given enough time. That was probably not the best plan for entertainment that year, but I have since learned to love Brenda Lee. My mother also reminds me that one day she won’t be here (she’s right) and that Brenda Lee will always remind me of her (again, she’s right, but mothers always are, right?). I’ll need lots of tissues for when that day comes.
My mom also gives me these gifts every year:
- A ginormous jar of pickles
- A box of Russell Stover chocolates
- Jelly Belly jelly beans
My father, on the other hand, loves A Christmas Story. I think TNT plays that movie on a loop on Christmas Eve, (I guess there’s some obsessiveness in my family), and he never tires of that movie. He loves Ralphie and those bunny pajamas he gets. He will quote that movie and just laugh throughout the day.
At Christmas time, our friends become our family and on Christmas day they come to visit and we enjoy a vegetarian Christmas meal together. Christmas Eve is spent with family, the more the better!
My extended family, always gather together on Christmas Eve. We enjoy eating homemade appetizers and delicious desserts. We all bring a homemade gift and then we play a game… all ending up with one of the gifts which our family has made.