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Holiday Wrap

Idaho Falls is wrapped in the holiday spirit.

Published in the December 2022 Issue Published online: Dec 08, 2022 Holidays
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By Susan Stucki

Idaho Falls is wrapped in the holiday spirit.

Idyllic Christmases for the Darryl Harris family have been a decades-long tradition of celebrating Christmas in the mountains with abundant snow and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives and worldly cares. This time together has bonded their family and created lifelong memories. After arriving at their mountain cabin, cutting and decorating a fresh tree is a priority. Nothing says Christmas more than the fragrant smell of fresh pine. It has been said that “the best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper shared a few of the Christmas traditions that wrap her family together:

“When my children were small, we had fun decorating gingerbread houses with homemade gingerbread. Often, we would invite another family to join us, and I’d make a big pot of healthy soup to counteract the sugar. We usually ‘gifted’ our creation to someone we knew who lived alone or to a care center or the children’s wing of the local hospital. Often, our biggest challenge was finding enough Necco Wafers, which were a popular choice for quaint and colorful roof shingles.

We went out for Chinese food every Christmas Eve in commemoration of how my children’s father and I spent our first Christmas Eve. Anymore, with grown children and lots of schedules in play, we just aim to get Chinese food sometime during the December holidays. If someone is missing that year, we will text pictures of our evening to the missing sibling. Once, we even face-timed the ritual fortune-cookie portion of the meal with the missing sibling.

As a family, we try to formally practice ‘giving rather than receiving’ by shifting our focus away from ourselves to others who may be in need. We have done this in many different ways—from visiting a nursing home to adopting giving tree names to donating to a charity to helping box-up or deliver holiday meal groceries to working holiday dinners to collecting or donating toys.

Our family also loves the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess. We read the story and watched the old, animated film every year when the children were young.”

If we were to visit our county commissioner’s home, the Reed residence, we would witness their cherished tradition of the reading of Luke 2 while family members, young and old, act out the parts. Wrapping their family in the traditions of focusing on the first Christmas, Bryon catches some fish and Debbie cooks them whole, inclusive of head and tail. She adds hummus, olives, breads, and other simple foods from Israel. They eat this meal on the floor with their grandkids and call it their ‘Back to Bethlehem’ dinner. Wonderful discussions about this experience ensue.

To create your own family traditions, wrap yourself, your family and friends in the warmth of service to others to lighten and brighten their lives. The best gift we can give ourselves is to “give of ourselves”! We don’t have to look far to find a way to serve.

Also capture the excitement of the season with the festivities around Idaho Falls, wrapping yourself in holiday joy.

Trees along the river wrapped on every limb With thousands of light strands, meticulously trimmed. River reflections of trees all aglow. Crunchy, fresh fallen, holiday snow. Civitan Park with trees to celebrate yule Decorated by students from elementary schools. 130 wreaths on light posts, hanging and lighted. A large replica of Santa, for kids delighted. 7 large candy canes so festive and jolly, Free rides on 1 horse-drawn holiday trolley. Dozens of Santa’s puppies have been carefully hid For searching and finding by community kids. Nativity reenactment with animals live December 21-23. To view, at 7 you should arrive. Indeed, Idaho Falls is a great place to be For a Christmas to remember, a community jubilee!

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