We hope that you are having a festive, relaxing holiday season. Here’s what our team is up to:
What is your favorite part of the holidays?
Zach: Oh, where to start? There are so many things, so I’ll just pick one. I love the lights. We’re fortunate to live in a neighborhood where people get very into the holidays, and it’s fun to drive around and see what folks have come up with. My husband and I also like to decorate, and we’ve (maybe) gone a little overboard this year :)
Sarah: My favorite part of the holidays is the overall joyfulness I feel when I am spending time with the people I love so dearly. The season brings a lot of comfort and coziness for me with decorations, smells, gifts, and dedicated time to spend with those I love.
Crystal: When I think about the upcoming holidays drawing near, excitement fills my heart. I will spend quality time with my family and friends in a few short weeks. Throughout the year, everyone is so busy, but during the holidays, everyone will slow down enough to enjoy some memorable moments. It is a time of year I will have all three of my boys under one roof for a whole week. Then the night before Christmas, my extended family and friends will gather at my sister’s house. It is a time that I catch up with my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends. The highlight of the night is when Santa makes a surprise visit before he heads out to deliver the gifts to all the children.
Brady: I love taking time to relax, rest, and gather with family and friends. I also really enjoy getting a Christmas tree each year. My dad is allergic to pine, so we grew up with an artificial tree. Now, every year my fiancé and I get a real tree, and I love the smell of pine throughout our house!
Do you have any special family traditions or events?
Zach: My husband and I like to choose a special cause to donate to every year, and it’s fun to find something we’re both passionate about where we can help.
Sarah: My sister’s birthday is Christmas Eve; she lives her whole year looking forward to her birthday, so we celebrate her on Christmas Eve- it’s my favorite day of the year. Her joy is infectious and on her birthday, her cup overflows with so much joy — it’s truly the best.
Crystal: A holiday tradition that I cherish is going to my dad’s house for breakfast on Christmas morning. On Christmas morning, everyone wakes up to Santa’s surprises. After everyone discovers what Santa left for them, my four sisters and their families, along with my family (a total of 22), travel to my dad and stepmother’s house. We go in our pajamas and, of course, freshly brushed teeth. My dad demonstrates his cooking skills in front of all the kids and grandkids by throwing eggs up in the air to flip them to the other side. The kids love it! I love this time because we spend quality time with my family while enjoying fantastic food.
Brady: My favorite tradition is Christmas morning breakfast with my family—actually, the entirety of Christmas day. The whole family gets together on Christmas morning for steak and eggs. I try and eat a mostly vegetarian diet throughout the year, so the Christmas morning “cheat day” is extra special. Then, in the evening we all gather again at my grandparent’s house for a very eclectic Christmas dinner. We like to joke that anyone my grandmother happens to meet that week at the grocery store is invited. It’s an all-around great time with family and friends, and I always seem to meet someone new!
What are you looking forward to in the new year?
Zach: I’m excited about opportunities to continue advancing access and equity in oral health care across North Carolina. I’m really passionate about the work we’re doing at NCOHC and FHLI, and there’s a lot of positive momentum right now. I’m also hopeful that more people will get vaccinated!
Sarah: I am looking forward to a year full of more and more hugs! As I think about the new year and what that means to me, I reflect upon the lessons and gifts of the previous year while being hopeful for joy-filled days ahead. In 2022, I am really looking forward to my upcoming wedding and spending those special moments with my partner and those who love us!
Crystal: NCOHC had a lot of success creating system change for oral health care access in 2021. As a new addition to the NCOHC team, I am looking forward to working on various initiatives and seeing what NCOHC accomplishes in 2022. Personally, I am excited to see my son, Chase, graduate high school in 2022 and see where life takes him.
Brady: I have so much to look forward to in 2022, both in my personal and professional life! I’m excited to see the ways that NCOHC can leverage the work we did this year to create more positive change for folks across North Carolina.