Traditions to Remember
Nothing compares to the excitement of a child at Christmas. Now imagine the excitement of a hundred children during the Christmas holidays! Whether they’re visiting with Santa, singing carols, or exchanging gifts, the children (and staff) of Palmer Home for Children’s two campuses are buzzing with excitement this month.
In Columbus this year, the season kicks off, with a visit from Santa on December 6, followed closely behind with a Christmas Open House on December 7. The event offers Golden Triangle community members an unique opportunity to tour the campus and view all the Christmas decorations. The highlight of the evening is always the Treblemakers concert.
Christmas events aren’t limited just to children at Palmer Home. Staff on the Columbus campus will gather for their annual brunch along with a rousing game of “Dirty Santa” on December 14 and Hernando staff will celebrate with a potluck brunch at Grace Home, the director’s residence, on December 6. In addition to the traditional Dirty Santa, Hernando staff will dress as their favorite Christmas movie character (though rumors are circulating that someone plans to come dressed as usual and claim to be an “extra” in their favorite Christmas movie).
Both campuses will hold Christmas Traditions dinner which includes staff and their families, houseparents, children and sponsors. The Hernando event is scheduled for December 14 and the Columbus event is December 15. Christmas Traditions begins with a traditional Christmas meal and ends with the lighting of candles.
Each staff and child at the dinner is given a candle. In Columbus, Palmer Home President & CEO Drake Bassett will call the name of each staff person and child, starting with the person who has been at Palmer Home the longest and ending with the newest member of the Palmer Home family. In Hernando, Jeremy Beavers, Campus Director, will do the same. As a name is called, their candle is lit. Once all the candles are lit, everyone sings a few carols and then blows out their candle to end the night. It’s a sweet, reverent time to celebrate the impact Palmer Home has made on each person in attendance, and to remember the Good News of Christmas.
When it comes to giving and receiving gifts, for the 12th year, Williams Sonoma distribution center in Olive Branch will provide financially for the Hernando houseparents to shop for the children in their cottage. Boxes from these orders began arriving just before Thanksgiving and will continue to arrive until near Cottage Christmas. In Columbus, Security Holdings provides gifts for the children, which are received during their visit with Santa. These partnerships are a key part of making the holiday season special at Palmer Home.
Houseparents set aside one day during the season for an intimate family Christmas. For the Hernando campus, Cottage Christmas will take place December 16 and for the Columbus campus December 14 or 15, depending on the cottage. Cottage Christmas allows houseparents and the children in their care to open gifts and enjoy some time together. Because many children will spend time with their sponsor families or sometimes biological families on Christmas Day, Cottage Christmas allows houseparents a time to share in the season. Houseparents reserve a few surprise gifts and celebrations to make the holiday a special time for children who remain on campus as well.
To learn more about opening your family to sponsor a child at Palmer Home on special holidays like Christmas, and all throughout the year, click here.