On Christmas one of the kids in my family (usually me), would wake up at an inhuman hour like 5:00am and then begin the well-practiced tradition of tip-toeing from room to room and waking the others. The dark home shimmered lightly from the reflection of the ornaments and decorations that lined our walls from the floor to ceiling.
I would first target the family members closest to my age, getting them in on the plan to build momentum. By 6:30am, all of the kids would be up, and we'd set our plan to wake up my parents into motion. As the youngest, I was the designated operative. I'd slowly cut a path to their door, lightly push the handle, so as not to make a sound, and whisper, “Can we open presents?"
I would walk back down the hall and inform my comrades of our sound defeat.
But our dejection would not last long, and we would soon gather the courage to make another foray to my parents room. This dance would repeat itself every 30 minutes until around 7:30, when I had finally weakened their sleepy defenses.
My mom would then come downstairs with the camcorder, and we'd all try and contain our nervous energy about the coming gifts. After the tornado of wrapping paper and joy subsided, we would clean up our scraps and retreat to our rooms in order to play with our new toys in solitude.
While this was going on, my mom would prepare an epic breakfast that appeared as magic on the table. It was a flurry of pancakes, chorizo, biscuits, eggs, and all the continental favorites that were not as remarkable for their originality, as they were for their scope. The table was literally piled high with all of the foods we loved.
Christmas is my favorite holiday because everyone is together. There are other Holidays when you get one or two days off, but Christmas, for us, has always been at least four days of togetherness. It's more than a holiday. It’s a season.
That's why, at Siete, we've given all of our employees paid vacation from the 22nd of December to the 3rd of January. When my sister and I were starting this company, we sought to create an office culture that was like the culture of our family, and it wouldn't be the holidays in the Garza family without all of us together, free to relax, get unreasonably excited about presents, and enjoy each other's company. Extending that same opportunity to our employees allows them to embrace the same message and family culture that is so central to our lives.
Here are a few photos from the Siete Christmas Party, catered by my best friend, Chef Andres Figueroa!