Rachel McDonaldI have called multiple cities in Texas, Ecuador, and California “home” over the past seven years and as I settle into my first year as Program Director of Family and Adult Ministries at Forest Home, I am excited to have Home for the Holidays be a new tradition for me and my family.

Forest Home has a long-standing tradition of welcoming families the Friday after Thanksgiving for a weekend retreat filled with joy, celebration, and relaxation called Home for the Holidays.  This family retreat is a mountain getaway where families can escape the hectic holiday buzz and become centered on one another and the celebration of Christ’s birth.  When I think about Home for the Holidays, I envision parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and children gathered around an impressive Christmas tree with hot cocoa in hand as we sing carols and praises to our King. I picture husband and wife sitting in Stagecoach Coffee Company holding hands as they discuss the significance of what they learned from the speaker. I imagine grandparents delightedly helping their grandchildren fashion together a Christmas craft.  I envision families exchanging contact information as they pack up and promise to see one another next year at Forest Home. What comfort to know that families can come to a place where Christ is the center of all activities and teaching, children and youth are cared for by trained and loving staff, and families are given space to enjoy one another!

It takes foresight, commitment, and effort to create moments your family will remember. Home for the Holidays provides the perfect backdrop for beautiful family experiences where the details are already taken care of.  All you need to do is take delight in the bonds created as you and your family come together in the serene mountain setting. As I look at the traditions I want to create for my family, I am thankful that Forest Home will forever be a part of my family’s memories.  I look forward to the moment when I get to store the leftover Thanksgiving turkey and travel up Valley of the Falls Drive to greet the faces of people I get to join with in celebrating the birth of our Savior. I hope you can join me. We will be celebrating November 25 – 27, 2016!

– Rachel