The Sunday after Thanksgiving every year, you’ll find me pulling out decorations and putting up the Christmas tree. Yes, I am one of those people.

I like to begin the season decorating. It centers me before the crazy holiday bustle really begins. Sometimes I tackle it alone, sometimes other family members join in. Regardless of how it starts, we all enjoy the festive look through New Year’s.

But there’s more to it than holiday bedazzling. As we place each ornament on the tree, we’re honoring memory and tradition.

Each piece embodies not only beauty or fun, but also a feeling of continuity.

When I was growing up, my mother started my collection by giving me an ornament every year – a tradition I’ve continued with my own daughter. I also have a set of snowflakes crocheted by my maternal grandmother. Every time I look at them, I think of her with love and gratitude. And the brass ornament my paternal grandmother gave me as a child has pride of place near the top of our tree. I remember my late father every time the lights reflect off its surface.


Most of you probably have similar experiences. We may groan at having to pull out those dusty boxes again, but once the task begins, it’s immersive. Our pasts, presents, and futures coalesce in the simple act of hanging something precious on the tree. The very fact that it happens only once a year imbues tree-trimming with a deep sense of ritual and connection.

As we rush through our busy months at home and at work, it’s easy to get distracted by the latest bright, shiny objects. But this time of year is a good reminder that there’s immense value in continuity. In sharing time-honored traditions and meaningful experiences.

This doesn’t mean we should stand still. It simply means that sometimes we should stand in stillness. We all need time to reflect and appreciate.

This holiday season I am reflecting on the continuity I am lucky to experience with my EPI team members, our clients, and our colleagues. Some of you have been part of EPI’s orbit for many years, some for only a few months. However, we all share a common thread of commitment. And together we revel in the memories of our successes and honor the pain of our mistakes by learning from them.

I am grateful for each and every one of you. You are the meaningful ornaments on my EPI tree. I wish you a joyous holiday season and a fruitful 2018.

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