My Holiday Traditions



My Holiday Traditions

 By: Heide Van Doren Betz | Photos: Heide Van Doren Betz | December 16, 2014


Like most Europeans, I celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve-- December 24. It is a many faceted special tradition for my family. For the past 35 years we have spent time at Glide Church on the day of the 24th, serving meals. When my two sons were young they joined their father (Joe Betz) and myself dishing out food from the kitchen. No easy feat! It’s hot in there. Now, decades later, the “House of Prime Rib” (owned by my former husband, Joe Betz and managed by our son, Steven) donate about one thousand pounds of Prime Rib to sponsor the entire Christmas Eve dinner. The most heartwarming aspect of this is that not only my sons, but also my grandson participate in serving the meals. Before we all gather for our family dinner and celebration of Christmas we almost always see the news coverage of the “House of Prime Rib” at Glide Church. Sometimes that’s the best and most rewarding moment.

As for gifts, we of course are so lucky to be able to concern ourselves with this! And I love it! I enjoy giving a personal gift, which is no easy feat. How do you really know what would be special, memorable, out of the ordinary for your children, grandchildren and friends? I have given the gift of a photograph – mostly, a portrait of the subject. I have created numerous custom Christmas/Holiday cards for friends. I have taken unusual or memorable photo portraits “painted” them on the computer and then printed them on canvas. Big, if possible. Friends still mention these gifts from years ago – because – well, there it is on the wall.

I also create large- scale photo albums for friends of memorable experiences, journeys or a special event. Of course, this is time consuming but quite memorable and I love to do it.

My favorite Holiday project this year was a photo shoot I did for Ronald McDonald House (my donation) with children at the House decorating Christmas trees with ornaments donated by Macy’s. What joy all around.

So, alternatively there is always that fabulous scarf (Hermes or Etro) or bottle of that special champagne (you know!) one can’t live without.

Still, family and friends are the best gift. Happy Holidays!