Holiday Traditions

Handmade Jesse Tree Ornaments

A few years ago, we made a set of 25 “Jesse Tree” ornaments to put on our Christmas tree during the days leading up to Christmas. Each ornament has a symbol representing a story from the family tree of Jesus, starting with Jesse (the father of King David).

Each night, we read a passage of scripture, pray together, and then take turns adding one of the ornaments to the tree. It has been a special way of celebrating with an emphasis on our faith, and a sweet way to spend meaningful time together during a season that can often be very hectic.

Making the ornaments themselves was also a memorable time. The first year, our girls were very young, so we printed the different symbols out and they helped color them. As they got older, we remade them using felt, fabric markers and glue.

It is exciting to pull them out each year, and someday I hope to help each of my daughters make some for their own families.

— Jonathan, Marilyn, Janelle and Julianna Marrero, Cary

A Visit from St. Nick

Every year someone in the family is given the honor to dress up as Santa Claus and visit the Christmas host’s home.

Santa has a sack of gifts for everyone, and when he calls your name, you go and sit on Santa’s lap. In order to receive your present, you have to sing a holiday song or tell a joke.

In the black and white photo, the little girl with the doll sitting on Santa’s lap is my Mom, now 86 years old.

— Patty Van Dyke, Cary

Tell Us About Your Holiday Traditions

Do you have an heirloom menorah, a handmade ornament, or maybe an ugly sweater? Do you make cookies, go caroling, or watch “The Polar Express” every year?

As you celebrate this year, please send us a photo that captures your holiday tradition and a few sentences explaining why the ritual is special to you and your family. We’ll include them in next year’s holiday issue of Cary Magazine!

Send your photo, description and name to

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