OCTOBER 2018 HEADLINES HEGWOOD
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THE HEART OF THE HOLIDAYS
Reflecting on Memories, Traditions, and the Power of Giving Back
T he holidays are a special time of year. As we gather with our loved ones this season, I cannot help but think back on meaningful memories of our traditions and celebrations. I am the oldest of three sisters, and when my middle sister and I were younger, we always hunted for our Christmas presents, and without fail, usually found them. As a result, we were scary good at unwrapping the paper and rewrapping it — well, that is until our mom caught us in the act! After that, she became more vigilant about her hiding techniques, but her anger took the fun out of this tradition! Of course, as kids, containing our anticipation for the holiday was hard! We waited months for Christmas, created our lists, and counted down the days until Santa came. It was impossible to fall asleep on Christmas Eve as we anxiously awaited the next morning. My sisters and I used to sneak over to the tree to see if Santa had been to our house yet. I even remember our grandma sending us back to bed one year when we had woken up at 4 a.m. These days, it is not so much the presents as it is my family and our traditions that excites me about the holidays. After my grandparents passed, I began hosting holiday celebrations at my house. My sisters and mom come early to put the finishing
touches on the meals and preparations, often teasing one another and making our mom laugh. No matter how old we get, we always revert back to our silly childhood selves when we are together. By lunchtime every holiday, we make pigs of ourselves and gorge on the delicious food we only enjoy a few
times a year. We may complain about how full we are, but we all love it. I also come from a big football family, so any holiday gathering usually involves watching a game or having it on in the background. Of course, I cannot write about holiday traditions without mentioning my commitment to service. The holidays remind us to be thankful for what we haveand to give back to the community we care about. I currently work with Innovative Alternatives, a mental health services and training organization that often responds to crisis situations. I am the past Chairman on the board for Habitat for Humanity in Pasadena, work with Family Promise of Clear Creek, which helps homeless families, and work with ARC of the Gulf Coast.
I come from a long line of volunteers. My mom was always willing to help others, but I did not come into volunteering until I was older and my kids were grown. As you get older, you begin to appreciate life more and want to give back. I have truly been blessed, and I want to share that with others. In particular, the work of one nonprofit reminds me I could have been in a similar situation as a kid. It is enlightening and empowering all at once. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to hearing all about your memories, traditions, and organizations close to your heart.
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