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Gutknecht: Traditions make the holiday season special

Having a November birthday, I don’t remember much of my first Christmas. To be completely honest, I don’t remember much of my first few Christmases.

Outside of the pictures my parents have scrapbooked, the first memory I have of Christmas was when I was about 5 years old.

My family has a big tradition with Christmas cards. We take them very seriously.

When I was 5 years old, we had just moved from our house in the outskirts of Newton County to Rockdale County and were excited to build our new traditions in that house.

See, my mom had picked the house out of a magazine and then tweaked it to perfectly fit our family. Turns out, it fit a lot of other families as well, because shortly after ours was built the contractor built two more of the exact same house in our neighborhood… but we’re getting off topic.

In this house, there was a ledge of sorts above the front door. On this ledge my mom placed fake flowers throughout the year and they changed with the season. It was always a task, with my dad pulling out a huge ladder to climb up to the ledge, change the floral arrangement and make sure it looked just right.

Well, I know you’re probably wondering how this all ties in. When I was five years old, for the first Christmas in the new house and the first Christmas card in the new house, my mom decided that along with the poinsettias, my sister and I would be placed on the ledge in matching homemade vests for a Christmas card picture.

While the picture did turn out to be one of the most adorable pictures I’ve personally ever seen, I was actively searching for a different photo opportunity for the next year so I didn’t have to climb back up there on the scary ladder. 

Once the Christmas cards were printed, I can remember always sitting down as a family, picking out our pen colors and going through and signing a stack of cards to send out to friends and family.

This tradition carried on all the way through my college years and now that we’ve gotten older, my sister and I have found ourselves creating our own Christmas cards to carry on the tradition in our new chapter of life.

The holiday season is filled with traditions, whether they are planning the perfect personalized Christmas card or something else. I personally believe that traditions are the reason the holiday season is so special.

I can vividly remember climbing into the car after the late-night Christmas Eve service and looking at Christmas lights in my special Christmas dress. Even when I was well into my teenage years, my family and I would drive around looking at the lights in our community.

These traditions, on top of everything else that makes the season so special, are what make me excited to celebrate each and every year.

So, with the holiday season in full swing, I want to thank you for making The Covington News part of your family tradition. Thank you for allowing us into your home each and every Sunday. It is an honor to be a part of your day.

Merry Christmas.

Jackie Gutknecht is the managing editor of The Covington News. She can be reached at or 770-728-1409. Twitter: @jackieg1991