Some call this season the Season of Giving, but it is also the Season of Tradition. Each of us has grown up with some holiday tradition. As adults we cling to some long-standing traditions and form new ones for our families or in response to life. Our family’s holiday traditions begin the moment we wake up on the Friday after Thanksgiving. From that point on, until the day after Christmas, you will hear only one thing from the Encarnacion home - Holiday music and Christmas Carols. We also dress our pets in holiday garb for a ridiculously cute family picture in front of the Christmas tree. Community traditions we have include the Otay Ranch Town Center’s Holiday Parade, Holiday in the Village on Third Avenue, and the Chula Vista Starlight Parade (which is back this year after a 2-year hiatus).
Read on to hear about your neighbor’s traditions. You might just find something new to do this year!
We look forward every year to putting up our Christmas tree together as a family. We turn on holiday music, make eggnog or hot chocolate, and start decorating the Christmas tree with ornaments, lights, peppered with love and thanksgiving. Over the years the kids have all made special ornaments from grade school and we fondly recall each one and its history and then hang them from the tree. It’s a special time for us to slow down, recall our blessings and get ready to celebrate the coming of Christ —The Mendez Family
Our favorite holiday tradition is to walk the beach on Imperial Beach on Christmas Eve day - even in cold weather. What started out as an escape one year from the family squabbles over who was hosting the holidays, has turned into our family tradition. Our family spends Christmas Eve day walking and remembering what the most important part of the holiday is. It’s not the food, not the presents, not whose turn it is to host, but opening our most precious gift — time with each other.—The Richardson Family
Every Thanksgiving weekend, we go to the Pinery to select the perfect Christmas trees. We spend the next two days decorating the house, playing Christmas music and we watch our favorite holiday movie-Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. So much fun and great family time! —Mora, Valdemar and Isabella de Murguia
Our favorite Holiday tradition is wearing matching pj’s on Christmas Eve and staying in our pj’s all day on Christmas Day. Our favorite thing to do during the Holidays in Chula Vista is attend a Christmas Eve service at EastLake Church and then drive around looking at Christmas lights, while drinking Hot Chocolate. Our favorite house is on San Bruno – as it has a light show that dances to music!
—Rob & Cheryl Shields, and 11-year-old triplets Caroline, Zach & Hannah
Our favorite holiday traditions in Chula Vista are to meet friends at Miguel’s for lunch to celebrate the holidays and do a gift exchange; go to Christmas Circle to view the lights and decorations, and to go down Third Avenue to view the Christmas tree in Memorial Park and see the lights. Outside of Chula Vista, we like to go to the Hotel del Coronado to look at its beautifully decorated Christmas tree and then walk on the beach. —Shauna Stokes and Joel Chew
My tradition is making my sister’s mashers (mashed potatoes) every Thanksgiving. She passed away in 2009. —Humberto Peraza
We started this tradition a few years ago when In and Out first opened. We go to the last service at Eastlake Church on Christmas Eve and then head over to In and Out to enjoy a delicious cheeseburger with the family. Then we go home, unwrap one gift each and watch A Christmas Story or Elf. It’s a wonderful time of sharing with the family, no rushing around and very casual. —Laura Disharoon
One of our favorite holiday traditions is to get in our pajamas, pop popcorn and hot chocolate and get in the car and drive to see the lights. There are some pretty amazing houses that go all out for Christmas! We especially love the houses that coordinate their light show to music. We love to sit and sing along or laugh at the funny holiday songs people find. Even as our kids get older they look forward to this! Well done CV!!
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.