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Health & Wellness
I Remember When: J&J Employees Share Their Favorite Holiday Memories

When you think back to the holidays from your childhood, what immediately comes to mind? A special dish made by your grandmother? Santa bringing the gift you really wanted? A silly tradition that your parents made you endure every year?

Each of us tucks away those childhood holiday memories like snapshots. And while we all may celebrate the holidays a little differently, reading our employee’s holiday memories makes one thing clear: it’s all about love, magic, kindness and giving. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we did collecting them.

My favorite Christmas was in 1969, when my grandmother bought me my first bicycle. The joy of having that bike overwhelmed me. I was free to ride all over the city if I pleased, as long as I was home before dark..

– Terry Robinson

My favorite holiday memory was when we traveled north to pick out and cut down our Christmas tree. Much like the Griswolds in the movie “Christmas Vacation,” the tree was too big and needed to be severely trimmed in order to fit in our house. Luckily no squirrels came out of it! It was a nice family experience with lots of hot chocolate and doughnuts to keep us warm on that frigid day.

– John Patterson

One of my favorite holiday traditions is waking up on Christmas morning and getting down my stocking from the fireplace. When I was a child, no one could open presents until after breakfast on Christmas morning. The stocking became a highlight of the morning before opening the rest of the presents. My husband and I still continue this tradition today!

– Ginger Smith

My best holiday memory was when I was 7 years old. While my parents were out shopping, my older sisters went into our parents’ room, got my Christmas present (a beautiful blue bike) from under the bed. We put it together and rode it around the block (me on the handle bars) two times. Then they took it back apart and put it back under the bed. They never found out, but it was so hard acting surprised Christmas morning.

– Sue Pentecost

One of my favorite holiday memories goes back to Christmas Eve night at my grandmother’s house when I was a little girl. I will never forget my whole family together, after dinner, singing carols and traditional Puerto Rican Christmas songs until dawn.

– Luz Perez

My favorite holiday memory was waking up on Christmas morning at 9 years old to find my very own dirt bike under the tree. Joy, joy, joy!

– Timothy Matlock

My most memorable holiday was when my mother separated my birthday from Christmas. I received two dolls and jelly coconut cake. It was the most memorable holiday for me!

– Cheryl A. Thompson

My favorite memory from childhood is going to church on Christmas Eve with my family. We’d go Christmas caroling, then back to the church for Christmas goodies and hot chocolate.

– S Jane Janney

As silly as it may sound. I was a kid & I got my 1st pair of glasses during the Christmas season. I remember seeing sharp and clear Christmas lights for the 1st time. Amazing!

– Armando Durazo

When I was about 8, my family was opening presents. I thought to myself that my sister and brother got a ton of more toys than I did. I remember my dad asking my mom, “Are there any more presents left”?

My mom thought for a minute and said, “Why yes, there is one more for Kristin outside the door.” I ran to the door, opened it and there stood a pony. It was snowing that morning and she had snowflakes all over her. I remember looking at her and starting to cry. It’s a memory that I will have for the rest of my life.

– Kristin R. Johnson

As a kid, my most cherished holiday memory was my father taking my siblings and me out to see the lights on Christmas Eve. There was a television broadcast antenna in my neighborhood with a flashing red light on top. My Dad always claimed the red light was Rudolph’s nose. When we returned home, there were presents under the tree and my mother always said, “Santa was just here, you missed him!” It’s funny how I only remember seeing that red light on Christmas Eve!

– John Reihing

My favorite memory of the holidays was going to my grandparents’ house. I played on the farm with my cousins, and enjoyed the food and fellowship with family. My grandmother always made a homemade coconut cake. Try as they would, my mom and my aunts could never make the cake the same. The recipe died with my grandmother. I have never had a coconut cake to equal hers but every Christmas when I eat cake I have that memory.

– Alan Ford

My favorite holiday was when I was eight years old. I received a pink bike that had a basket and a banana shape seat, and also my first pair of black boots.

– Linda Kendrick

My favorite memory is when I was 10 years old. I was wishing for an Atari and my sisters and I got one for Christmas. We didn’t get to play it much because my dad and uncle kept hogging it.

– Tracy L. Lecy

When I was about 10, my entire family was at my grandparents’ house for a holiday get together. It snowed so much that no one could leave and we lost power. It was a great time for bonding with no television or radio to distract us from actually talking to each other, and spending time with one another in candlelight and exchanging gifts.

– Rick Magee

My favorite memory is from the Christmas that I was almost 16 years old. Inside my stocking was a box. When I opened it, I found a key chain with keys already on it. They were the keys to the 1963 Mercury Comet that my older brother had owned for several years.

The car was in the driveway, freshly painted baby blue with a huge red ribbon tied on it. My big brother had not only given me this car, but put a lot of money into fixing it up so it looked new and pretty for me. This gave me a gift that couldn’t be bought at a store, a lesson that I could carry throughout my life and bestow on others.

– Peggy Brooks

What’s your favorite holiday memory from your own childhood?