12 Days of Traditions – Day 9: Joanne Spencer
Each year as the season approaches, I have a few traditions that bring out the holiday spirit in me. The first tradition I’d like to share is that I go downtown to Montclair and Newark dressed in an elf hat and deliver gospel tracts with candy canes. I also bake holiday cookies and take them to Penn Station.
My second favorite tradition is helping out those in need around this time of year, so I buy and wrap gifts for those who don’t have a roof over their head. I will gift hats, gloves, scarves & socks, typically items that are needed in the cold winter months. I drive down to Newark and find those often living beneath highway underpasses, on benches, and congregated around Penn Station. I also stop at stoplights for those often asking for money, which I will sometimes give. This tradition is extra special to me because sometimes my daughter will come along. One year, I invited the entire Sunday school at my church to purchase one or two gifts for the homeless to give out to those on the street during the holidays. I was happy to see many of them did this as a family project, and delivered these gifts as a family outing during Christmas.
Lastly, every other year my church sings Christmas carols to members who are in nursing homes or home-bound. We put on Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and elf hats during our visit to make it more festive for them. If they are at home, we normally find a window where they can see us, and we sing underneath their window.