My Project Social partners and me are at it again.  We like to share in each others story-telling (blog posting) call it what you like.  I have written a bit about Christmas around my house.  I am sure that both Laura Schroder and Lyn Hoyt have cooked-up much more interesting holiday stories than have I.  So after you check out Laura’s Christmas Post at Working Girl  and Lynn’s Christmas Post at the HR Bacon Hut, come back and see my intriguing story I will call A Czar’s Christmas.


My life seems to be falling into somewhat of an annual routine at this stage of my being. For the last time, this year in the late summer I sent a son off to college.  Then it was Labor Day, Birthdays (mine is 10/16 and my wife’s is the next day).  Somewhere in there is a USA Hockey Officials Clinic, the hockey season begins, then there is SHRM Leadership, Thanksgiving and then boom Christmas.  It seems to have rolled this way for about the last 7 years of my life.  It’s not bad; it is just the way it is.

But the Christmas Holiday is always special, both in what it represents and the family time that it brings.   Only since my sons have left home and gone to college, do I know understand why my dearly departed Father-In-Law so much loved the holiday season.  For many of us it is a chance to gather with family and friends that we seem to see less and less. It’s no ones fault it just happens this way.

In my time of having children (25 and 22 now) we have done many different things on Christmas, but in the last seven years some of our traditions have begun to develop a little staying power.

Getting ready to make some juice

The Chairman of the Board of our Company is an active Rotarian at 80 years +. One of the things they do to raise funds is sell Fresh Florida Citrus (oranges and grapefruits) at the first part of December.  I have always purchased a case or two.  For the last several years the tree-ripened fruit ends up being squeezed into fresh orange juice.  Whatever of that juice is left come Christmas morning is used to make Mimosas after the presents are opened

Another thing our family does is this. As a family unit, usually on Christmas Eve, we watch Christmas Vacation. You know the show, with Chevy Chaseand Beverly D’Angelo. We all know nearly all of the lines in the movie, yet we still laugh when Clarksays “Eddie if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpeting I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now!”

Christmas Day we always manage to catch A Christmas Story at least once or twice on TBS, where we hear a rousing version of Deck the Halls.

My wife comes from a large family, so many of her siblings end up at our house for an early afternoon Christmas Dinner and gift exchange. I am usually knee deep in cooking by this time and about waste deep in some sort of Christmas Cheer.  I end up being the last to eat, and then start the clean up.  It is noisy there are a lot of people – sometimes near 40.  There is always a lot of trash, following the orgy of gifts. And then – they all leave. Everyone seems to have at least two or three stops on Christmas Day.

We wind it down at the Ryan house and then we head out for a very special early evening.   The Chairman of the Board of our Company (the Fruit Rotarian) and his wife have for many years now had an open house on Christmas Day.  It is always wonderful. I see people I work with; I see old friends and make new ones, and share great food and Christmas Cheer. We have missed this a few times, when I took the family and bolted to see my relatives who all live in warmer climates.

So depending upon whether or not the 26th is a work day, kind of drives what time we depart the open house.   But at some point we get back in the car for the five minute ride home, and it’s all over.  The excitement, the expectations, the craziness is all done for another year.

Next year the Christmas build-up cycle will not begin with sending a kid off to college. Hopefully he will be working.  So if you are in HR and are looking for a sharp young man with a B.A. from SIU in Video/Cinema Mass Communication Major for your organization,(check him out here) just leave me a comment – we’ll talk.

Merry Christmas!