Phyllis Law - December 2019 | 404.514.3397

Protecting Bright Futures


Bright Futures Bulletin


I love hearing about how people The Collins family spends the month of December watching our favorite Christmas movies: “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Polar Express,” “4 Christmases,” and “Elf on the Shelf.” The belly laughs that come from my whole family watching “Elf” are priceless. “I love smiling, smiling’s my favorite!” The morning of Christmas Eve, we head to the Marietta Square to have our picture taken with Santa. We began this tradition in 2004 when our first child was born. Thank God they changed several years ago from first come, first served to reservations! No more waiting in line for three hours. After Santa, we have breakfast at Sugar Cakes. Ted is a master pastry chef and never disappoints. During the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we make Christmas sugar cookies with my kids as well as my nieces and nephews — all 13 of them. We use the recipe given to me by my dear friends Carol and Jimmy Hudgins. (I would tell you the story of why I give Jimmy a chocolate Santa Claus every year, but that deserves its own article.) We make the dough from scratch, roll out the dough, and use our special Christmas cookie cutters. I struggled for years to get the dough just right but finally mastered it about 10 years ago. The key is having a good standing mixer. celebrate the holidays. It brings me so much joy to see someone’s face light up as they describe their family traditions. So, I thought I would share mine with you in hopes that you will share yours.

We have dinner together on Christmas Eve with my parents, Billie and Phil Gingrey, and all my siblings and their kids. GrandDoc (aka Phil Gingrey) reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and, if we’re lucky, plays a few Christmas carols on the piano. Those who can stay awake long enough attend midnight Mass. On Christmas morning, we sleep in as late as possible. We wait until everyone is ready to go downstairs together to see what Santa left for us under the tree. The kids always get annoyed with me when I insist on getting my cup of coffee before we open presents. We spend the morning in our pajamas, eating breakfast, watching “A Christmas Story,” and enjoying our gifts and each other. I have thought a lot about why these traditions are so important to me and others. I think it’s because they comfort us; we know we can depend on certain rituals year after year to provide us with the stability we crave. Traditions give us confidence to know that we can rely on our families to give us a break from the daily grind. It serves as a buffer to our anxieties. I wish we could find a way to harness that peace all year. It has been a pleasure to serve this community in 2019, and we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2020. From all of us at, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Traditions give us confidence to know that we can rely on our families to give us a break from the daily grind."

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

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