Our Family Tree-O: Traditions in Our Nontraditional World (Jodi Moore)

Like some of you, our family has had to work most holidays. We’ve been a part of the entertainment and hospitality industries since Day One of my husband’s and my relationship (no, really – I helped him DJ a fraternity party on our first date.) Over the years, we built a successful mobile disc-jockey company together. My husband has managed clubs, overseen restaurants and banquet facilities and now is a Master Trainer for alcohol education. One of our sons has been involved in theater since he was four, and now is a brilliant onstage triple-threat/choreographer/director. Our other son has been active in food service since high school (he’s also an amazing video game designer/entrepreneur.) I'm one proud wife/mama. But I digress...


When others need to play, we work.


We’re not complaining. We truly love what we do.


But with extended families living between 3 and 4 hours away – in opposite directions – and each expecting us to travel, our own ‘traditions’ had to take a backseat. Often, there wasn’t even room for them in the car.


We soon realized that it’s not the date that’s important. What matters is that we’re all together. What matters is the love.


A couple of years ago, ‘our’ Christmas was January 4.


That doesn’t mean we don’t have our own traditions, however. And since writers love the rule of three, I thought I’d share a special ‘tree’-o:


1. Letters to Santa


We started this tradition when the boys were little and continue it to this day (yes, our ‘boys’ are now 31 and 33.) We all write out our letters and ask the other members of the family to ‘mail’ them. The important part? All letters must tell Santa the things we’re thankful for before asking for anything. Warning: you may need tissues.


2. Ornaments to Commemorate the Year


I love ornaments so much, we had to get a second tree three years ago. But what I really love to do for our boys (and now their girlfriends too!) is find ornaments that showcase their accomplishments for the year. That way, each year when the kids decorate their trees, I hope they can feel pride in not only what they do, but the amazing talented people they’ve grown to be. 



Of course, I do this for ‘us’ too (35 years married, 40 years together, 10 months pandemic 24/7 and we still like each other.)



Oh, did I forget to mention that before we went to dinner on our first date, Larry and I participated in an event at a nursing home where we taught disco-wheelchair? And that we actually met at a disco competition (he was a judge, I was a contestant) and that we still love to dance?


And that our first movie date was Lady and the Tramp?


I may be a little biased. Nah, it's the absolute truth.💖


3. Box-in-a-Box


Credit here must go to my husband, Larry. You wrap a tiny gift in a box, then place it in another box, which you wrap, and so on and so on and so on. I don’t remember when it started, but it's produced a treasure trove of memories, giggles and anticipation. It’s also escalated into quite a challenge. Over the years, the ‘unwrapping’ itself has become an undertaking...from an abundance of duct tape on duct tape to using casting material, to freezing one of the boxes in a block of ice! This was last year’s, courtesy of one of our sons and his girlfriend. Yes, they not only wrapped the refrigerator, but everything in it (including individually wrapping the eggs). And yes, in keeping with tradition, there was a gift in there for Larry, and he had to unwrap everything until he found it!



This year, like many of you, our holiday will be different. But our traditions will continue, and we will all be together as soon as it is safe. Because again, the date doesn’t matter. What matters is the love.


Wishing all of you a blessed, safe, happy and healthy holiday season! Love, Jodi xoxo










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