Favorite Holiday Traditions – Derek Taylor

For this year’s Thanksgiving blog series, we decided to ask the Central Office staff to tell us about their favorite holiday traditions. Each day this week, you’ll hear from someone on staff and find out what each of us like the most about the holiday season, and hopefully you’ll let us know your favorite traditions as well.

Next up is Extension Coordinator Derek Taylor.


Welcome to Dublin, NC; a small town in rural North Carolina. Here people tend to move a little slower, talk a little slower, wave to everyone, and some still refuse to lock their front door. Dublin is a town of 1 gas station (which also serves as the grocery store), one restaurant, an elementary school, 7 churches and 254 people – Welcome to my home.

Our family, like many others in our area put a strong emphasis on spending time with one another, especially during the holidays.  The Taylor family is a very large, very close family. Our Christmas Eve celebration with our extended family often has over 200 people in attendance; yes I know that is almost the population of the town. On Thanksgiving Day this year we will have over 40 people at dinner not all of whom will be family. I am fortunate enough to have all four of my grandparents, five uncles, four aunts, and eleven first cousins, most of whom live with a 10 minute walk of each other. Needless to say with such a large family the holidays can be hectic for us. We spend most of the time from two days before Christmas through the day after Christmas visiting with our various family members.

Dublin, NC. Population: Taylor family

This year Teri asked everyone in the office to write about holiday traditions of theirs. I thought about this more and more and could not come up with any “traditions” I would consider worth sharing, or really any traditions at all despite the closeness of our family. I spent weeks searching my memory for a tradition that my family does every year, a ritual, and I could not come up with anything. Then it dawned on me, our tradition is not a year to year ritual. It is not a specific meal we always have on a certain date. Our ritual, our tradition, is not a prayer or a collective act of any kind. No our tradition is family. Our tradition is taking care of those we care the most about and nothing has made me appreciate this tradition more than my time traveling with Chi Psi.

Every year at my Thanksgiving dinner we do participate in a somewhat ritualistic tradition. My entire family gathers around the living room before thanksgiving dinner. We turn off football (sacrilegious in some families, I’m sure) and go around the room sharing what each of us are thankful for. This year I have a lot to be thankful for, I have a great job with a great boss, I have friends/Brothers all across the country, I even found a young lady who obviously hasn’t been thinking clearly for past year and five months because she spent it with me. Despite the many blessings I have in my life, few will ever replace the tradition of our holiday family gatherings. In past years when we have gone around the room to say what we are thankful for I have always said family – It’s the easy out. This year I will say that I am thankful for tradition, and I hope that our tradition of family only grows with time.



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