The holiday season is always a great time to connect with family and friends. It’s been difficult in years past for all of us to get together since we’ve been spread out all over the globe. But my sister has recently moved back to Seattle and my parents will be coming over to visit for the holidays. Just in time for some good home-cookin’. And for this, I am truly thankful.

Tim Wang, TD Wang Advertising Group

When we first came to the U.S., we were amazed by all the lights people would put up on their houses around Christmas time. One day, my older brother found a string of lights that someone had thrown in their garbage, so we took it home and taped it to the wall. That’s one of my favorite memories–when we first lit up those twelve lights and felt all American.

Vu Le, Executive Director, Vietnamese Friendship Association

Mary Ann Goto with her mother. Photo courtesy Mary Ann Goto.
Mary Ann Goto with her mother. Photo courtesy Mary Ann Goto.

I remember as a young girl, going into town for midnight Mass for Christmas was a big deal. I’d get all dressed up in a frilly dress with crinolines and my black patent leather shoes. It was special because my dad’s best friend from high school was Fr. Tom Miyashiro, who always said Mass. It was unusual, even in Hawaii, to have a Japanese American Catholic priest. My mom appreciated being able to talk to a priest in her native Japanese. Fr. Tom was a fun guy – he always cracked my knuckles. What a character.

Mary Ann Midori Goto, Makai Communications

I will never forget the day that I found out Santa Claus was actually my father. I must have been 8 or 9 years old and noticed how similar “Santa’s” handwriting on my presents was compared to my father’s…so I asked my dad about this. Naturally, he initially denied it…then grudgingly, after much questioning, admitted he was actually Santa. And you know what…he was right. My father, Joseph, has given me a lifetime of gifts…unconditional love and support, sage wisdom, clear values and principles, enlightenment on my culture and history…and what it means to be a good person. I am very lucky to have my very own “Santa”…my father.

Jeffrey Hattori, Public Affairs Liaison, Eli Lilly

New Year’s Day is our most important holiday for the Moriguchi family. This was the only day Uwajimaya was closed. My mother cooked the essential good luck foods and over 100 well wishers came to welcome in the New Year.

Tomoko Moriguchi, CEO Uwajimaya

Elaine Ko and family. Photo courtesy Elaine Ko.
Elaine Ko and family. Photo courtesy Elaine Ko.

Thanksgiving is always a special time set aside for family, especially with our kids. We now have an ‘empty nest’ which makes the memories of past holidays even more special. It is not only a time to be with family and special friends, but we should be giving to the community throughout the year and be even more generous during the holiday season.

Elaine Ikoma Ko, Port of Seattle

New Year’s Day is probably the most significant holiday for me. The tradition of hosting and celebrating Oshogatsu (New Years Day) has been passed down to me. At our house, the table is filled with traditional Japanese food as well as other foods representing the diversity within our family and among our friends.

Vicki Asakura, Executive Director, Non Profit Assistance Center

New Year’s Day is one of my most memorable holidays. My new year always begins with a family gathering where a traditional Japanese dish known as ozoni is served. Ozoni consists of mochi, kamaboko, and other vegetables served in a fish-based broth. Eating ozoni is essential to ensure good luck in the upcoming year.

Kendee Yamaguchi, Executive Director, Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific and American Affairs

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