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Once again, the holiday season is in full swing! I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are enjoying preparations for the Christmas season.
For me, the holiday season is one that I look forward to throughout the year, and holds so many traditions that I cherish. Spending time together with family, bountiful meals and baking are just a few of the highlights that this season brings, but Christmas on the farm brings even an extra special touch to Christmas for me.
As you probably know, dairy farming is a year-round job, including nights, weekends and holidays.
Even on Christmas, the cows still need fed and milked at least twice.
For some, this might sound like a dreadful time. Maybe because you’re having to wait to open presents, or maybe because you can’t just chill in your Christmas pajamas all day. But for me, the holiday season on the farm, in particular Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, are times that I look forward to. I can’t speak for all dairy farmers, but personally, I do not mind doing chores on these days — rather I look forward to them, and the traditions that I have created while doing so.
We have a rather large celebration on Christmas Eve, and then at least two more gatherings on Christmas Day, so chore timing takes a little more thoughtful scheduling, but with an extra early start, and some flexibility, we are able to enjoy all of the holiday festivities as well as enjoy our time in the barn with the cows.
After our Christmas Eve dinner, I head to the barn for night milking where I routinely play Christmas music while milking. On occasion, I also will bring a set of reindeer antlers so if we happen to have a fairly newborn calf at the time, I might luck out and get her picture as one of Santa’s “reindeer.”
After chores are over, my fiance and I have the tradition of doing our Christmas together and opening our presents to one another.
Christmas morning rolls around with an extra early morning milking start time, which then leads into Christmas breakfast with my parents and opening of gifts before we head back to the farm for the large gathering and lunch and gift opening with my fiance’s family.
This continues until evening chores where we once again head to the barn to finish out the wonderful Christmas Day. Although it takes some strategic planning, coordination and flexibility, we make it work and enjoy our holidays just like the rest of the world.
Farming isn’t for the faint of heart, and sometimes can result in us missing out on an event, or something due to unpredictable events that might occur with animals or equipment.
In reality though, having the privilege to be able to farm daily and to be able to live my life doing what I love and have a passion for, even if that does mean working holidays, in cold weather, etc. is a blessing that continues to give.
For me, there is a joyous feeling when in the barn with the cows on Christmas.
Although not everyone gets the chance to experience Christmas on the farm, I hope that wherever you might find yourself this holiday season that you find all the positives and joy in it and cherish all of the memories that you make.
Submitted by Julie Holler, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau board of trustees.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.
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