Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the music, the lights, the food, the decorations and family time. In my family, we have many traditions. One of my favorite traditions is putting out our Christmas village.

My sister, my mom and I take several hours to get the village pieces just right. We have close to 100 houses, and I couldn’t even begin to count the accessories (people, trees and fake snow). We take a day, turn up the Christmas music and slowly work our way through the individual pieces.

The Williams’ family Christmas village takes up most of the dining room in their house. Photo by Kristen Williams.

The Christmas village tradition started with both sets of my grandparents. My grandmothers each had their own village sets, and Katie, my twin sister, and I would sit and play with the pieces that were not glued down. When Katie and I got older we were placed in charge of creating the sets for the houses.

That became a big deal because we had so many different things to choose from. We have huge cathedral churches, a shopping center building and even a farmhouse with a windmill.

The only problem we have now is that we have so many houses we do not know where we are going to put them all. Regardless, I love this tradition and the fact that I can share it with my mom and my sister.

Another of our family traditions is getting together for Christmas dinner. Half of my family lives in Bristol, Va., and half lives in Jonesborough, so planning Christmas get togethers can get tricky.

Both sides of my family can cook really well. We have brown sugar ham, turkey, sweet potato casserole, hash brown casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, sweet potato pie, pecan pie, apple pie, fudge bars and chess bars just to name a few.

The food is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. This year, my Nana Barbara is going to teach me how to make candy.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories were in 2015. My Papaw Lucky had open-heart surgery, and he was not home in time for Christmas. But we were able to have almost the whole family over for Christmas on the 28th of December. We had 20 people together in one house.

ven the pets are not immune to Christmas decorations. The Williams’ family dog, Molly, has to take a picture with a Santa hat every year. Photo by Kristen Williams.

Dr. Bruce Montgomery, professor of communications, has some Christmas traditions of his own.

Everyone who goes to Paxson Communications Building is sure to hear Montgomery playing Christmas music in his office.

“I start playing Christmas music around July, because it reminds me of the real reason for Christmas,” Montgomery said. “I find it easier to stay in the present on Christmas instead of being focused on the presents or if you liked what you got or not.”

Montgomery said another tradition he and his family have is putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and having all the grandkids come and decorate it.

“Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday, but I love it,” Montgomery said. “Thanksgiving is my favorite because everyone comes to us and we don’t have to travel.”

Montgomery also talked about how at his church he always makes a point to observe advent in the month of December and to have a Christmas series for the sermons.

Montgomery and his wife also like to help a family in need each Christmas, and they make a shoebox to send to a child in need.

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