Celebrating Inclusivity this Holiday Season

December 19, 2022 | (13) Comments

Some of my favorite memories are the many holiday seasons I experienced growing up in Oklahoma City. I would spend days with my friends playing any and every sport or game we could get our hands on; I enjoyed making cookies with my wonderful mother Mollie, who was a fantastic and talented baker; and I would look forward to Christmas morning when the presents under the tree could finally be opened.

As I reflect on those years, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s was great in many ways — life was simple and it was comfortable. While I would never change a thing about my childhood, as an adult who has been blessed to witness the changes and developments in more recent years, I cannot begin to tell you how amazing today’s world is where we have a glimpse into so many other celebrations and meaningful holidays.

Oftentimes, we only know what we are familiar with. For example, if we grew up celebrating Christmas, our families may never know the history and meaning behind holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and many more.

We live in a beautifully diverse world and while there’s always more work to do, more to learn and more to understand, there is no better place than our own homes, workplaces and communities to start seeing and embracing what makes every holiday so special.

As we prepare to end another remarkable year at Texas Children’s, I encourage you to take a moment over the next few weeks to learn about other’s cultures and celebrations and also share your own with those you love.

This year, my wish is to hear from you — I want to know more about the holiday traditions of our One Amazing Team. All of you mean so much to me and I can’t wait to read your comments below on how you celebrate the holiday season and what is important to you.

To my Texas Children’s family, ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Heri za Kwanzaa,’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ to each and every one of you. Thank you for everything you do for our patients, your colleagues and for me. I wish you a joyful and peaceful holiday season and a Happy New Year filled with wonderful memories and traditions spent with your loved ones!

13 Responses to “Celebrating Inclusivity this Holiday Season”

  1. Maya Ingle

    I am from Beirut, Lebanon. we have 3 different religions in my country. as a Muslim family, we do celebrate Ramadan and Eid Adha, but during this time of the year, we used to attend midnight mass with our Christian neighbors and enjoy Christmas dinner with them.
    In exchange, our neighbors also eat Ramadan dinner ( Iftar) and celebrate Eid with us.
    Today, I wish that people can accept others’ beliefs and share them with their happy moments as we used to do decades ago.
    I will pray for everyone’s happiness, acceptance, and comfort.

    • Diana Moore

      I grew up christian and would identify as non-denominational now (spiritual for sure). With a jewish boyfriend, I have learned so much… I am very open-minded to religions and beliefs that are different than mine and would love to experience and learn more. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  2. Brenda Gregg

    Well Christmas traditions at our house, i like to think, are an extension of both of our childhoods; My husband and i both come from families that had Christmas baking traditions; He and I had a walk down memory lane this year, and recalled many of the recipes of candies, cookies and cakes made by our parents during this time of year; we talked about how i learned from his parents, and how some of the “older” candies that were our parent favorites – like divinity- i had never attempted…. well this year, for some reason, i did make a small batch of divinity- and took it to my mom. I remembered it being her favorite. Little did i know that would be the last time i would see her smile and enjoy that sweet treat! She is together again with my father, and is enjoying Christmas with many that have gone before us. My i bet the decorations and lights are beautiful! May you have a wonderful and blessing filled season of love.

  3. Roula Zoghbi Smith

    The holidays represent a time of togetherness and inclusivity for our family. My parents are of two different religious belief systems (Christian and Muslim) and my adopted grandparents were Jewish, so we welcomed all holiday traditions in our home. My parents would often invite people that were far from their family for the holidays so we always met new people every year and celebrated with them. I have fond memories of baking a marble cake with my adopted grandmother and our whole family would eat it for breakfast on Christmas morning (I love it frozen with coffee). When she passed, her kids gave me the cake platter she would always serve it on and I still bake it in her memory every year with the help of my own kids. My adopted grandfather dressed up as our “Jewish Santa Claus” every year and would count to three to let the kids loose onto their gifts. We always waited with such anticipation and wouldn’t dare move until he said “3!”. I’ve been so fortunate to partake in many faith traditions over the years and I love learning about those of others. Thank you for inviting us to share a bit of our stories with you and look forward to reading those of our one amazing team! Wishing you Happy Holidays and a healthy and bright year ahead!

  4. Diana Moore

    I grew up in the baptist church, but would say I am non-denominational now. I am thankful to have a jewish boyfriend who has taught me so much. I have always been open-minded and realize that, sadly, unconscious bias exists. I’m hoping to circumvent that by welcoming the chance to learn about the differences in religions and cultures. I want more exposure and to make long-lasting friendships that will make me a better person. I believe the best thing a person can be is… good. Just be good, kind, caring, and compassionate. I value all of our differences. As we mesh my christian upbringing with my boyfriends jewish traditions, it makes for a much more colorful and fun holiday season. Love is love

  5. Frank Stowell

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories. I send good cheer and holiday greetings to you, Shannon and all my Texas Children’s Hospital family. A tradition in our family was attending midnight mass. We would also gather with extended family on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Memories I will always cherish.

    HUGE thanks to those who work and volunteer during a holiday. We know that Texas Children’s is a 24/7/365 operation. Please take time for yourself as we wind down the year.

    Blessings to all,


  6. Lawrence Frimpong

    It takes courage and open-mindedness to realize that we are one big family (the human race). Embracing and welcoming different traditions are powerful traits for our human survival. Just see how beautiful it was to watch the just ended world cup soccer tournament in Qatar. One big human family exposing their talents for all to witness and admire.

    Religion, unfortunately has divided us instead of uniting us. Seldom do we choose our religion. For most part, the geographical location that one happens to be born from determines their religion. Let us respect each other and join the celebration of all cultures.

    Every culture is unique!

    Happy seasonal celebration to all.


  7. Paola Alvarez-Malo

    Thank you for your inspiring post! We grew up with huge family get-togethers and since we now live far from our family in Mexico, we have had to create new traditions with friends. This season can mean so many different things to our friends and colleagues…it can also be a tough time of year as we miss friends and family we have lost. This holiday season is an opportunity to support one another, embrace our cultures and exude kindness to everyone around us. Felices Fiestas (Happy Holidays)!

  8. For Filipinos, Christmas is the longest and joyful holiday of the year. It starts when the month ends in BER…September, October. November ..December. As early as September 1, Christmas songs are played on the radio and everyone starts buying ,unpacking and putting on their Christmas decorations. Another tradition is our “Simbang Gabi” which is a 9-day devotional series of masses attended by Filipino Catholics (which is >86% of the population) starting on Dec 15 and usually followed by a sumptuous meal with family and friends every after mass. People usually aim to attend all 9 days for prosperity and fulfillment of their prayers and wishes for the coming year. Christmas there is always festive, full of merrymakings and is enjoyed by all people regardless of religion. It really lives to its being THE Most Wonderful time of the Year.

  9. Tracey Jackson Robnett

    Driving 14 to 16 hour trips (over the river and through the woods) to Grandmother’s house we went for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Grandma made so many pies and carrot cake. Lots of family bringing even more food. Grandpa watching football and listening to basketball on the radio on his shoulder. Midnight communion on Christmas Eve. Such a beautiful gathering. Learning new holiday recipes like Stollen from my grandmother in law. Now we are grateful for our Christian, Mormon, Catholic, and Atheist neighbors who all helped each other during and after Harvey when 5 of the 7 houses flooded in our cul-de-sac, and Imelda 2 years later when just us flooded. So grateful for the support from my Texas Children’s Family and my husband’s work. Our neighbors give little bags of baked goods or homemade jams to each other for Christmas. I want to have a party with them in the Spring in our cul-de-sac to finally celebrate our long flood recovery and adding more traditions from our new family members. So grateful we all have each other. Happy Holidays.

  10. Alyson Alvarez

    Well, I never grew up with any Christmas traditions in my home. It was always the usual Hispanic celebration of celebrating the 24th with the rosary and prayers and opening gifts at 12:00. Now I have two boys ages 5 and 1 and I have started new traditions for them to feel the spirit of Christmas. I started the elf on the shelf this year and they are so excited to wake up in the morning to find him around the house ( this is seriously SO exhausting). I do the snowy foot steps walking to the tree like if Santa came the night before( A MESS!). I do the cookies and milk for Santa and the Christmas list on the tree. I love to see their faces light up each time. Its difficult being just me and my boys but knowing I can make them believe in something I want them to grow up and do this with their own kids. These are just a few things I started with me and my little family & I am extremely grateful to be able to do the things I wished we would do as a child 🙂

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