Family Christmas Revisited . . . Sort of


In the 1950’s we would all travel to San Diego for a family Christmas gathering. My father’s mother lived in San Diego along with one of his sisters so it was the natural gathering place. While his second sister lived in Pismo Beach on the central coast of California, we lived in central Oregon, a distance of 900 miles!

Stuffing two adults, five young kids (4 boys, 1 girl) plus luggage and presents in a 1954 54 ChevyChevrolet station wagon and driving for 24 hours prematurely aged my parents. We arrived exhausted and cranky with each other, but all changed when we walked into Grandma’s house!

The house was small for 8 adults and 8 kids, but nobody seemed to mind. The excitement of seeing our cousins, playing hide and seek, and of course the Christmas presents took over. It was a magical week and the family laughter around the dinner table was infectious. And we always took a trip, en mass, to the San Diego Zoo, at that time one of the top zoos in the world.

Time Passes . . .

We all grew up way too fast, went our separate ways and hadn’t really been together for 50 plus years. Until this year when my brother Don and Cheryl from Idaho and cousin Linda Jane and Chris from Oregon, along with good friends from California, all came to France to celebrate Christmas and New Year with us. And somehow, the magic of Christmas returned in an instant!

Christmas is the day that holds all time together. ~Alexander Smith

And the spirit of family love and enjoyment was back, even if we were missing most of the gang.  Not having seen my cousin Linda Jane in nearly 40 years really didn’t matter, time melted away as we were sitting by the fireplace opening Christmas presents and talking of old times. And nothing brings a family together like working side by side in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner.

oyster shuckingturkey stuffing

Then comes the mandatory outing (no zoo around), this time to a 13th Century ruined fortress once used as a Cathar stronghold high up in the Pyrenees mountains.


hike 3


From the extended Childress family (wherever they are) . . . Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays.  Wherever you are, we hope it’s with family!

Posted by:

John R Childress
Senior Advisor on Corporate Culture, Leadership and Strategy Execution
Author of LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid


PS: John also writes thriller novels




About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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2 Responses to Family Christmas Revisited . . . Sort of

  1. Wonderful John. Happy Holidays to you and your family.


  2. John Green says:

    John merry Christmas to everyone one, I am very sorry to have missed seeing you all and sharing this important time together. I loved your pictures of your family and friends, please convey our best wishes to all and try not to drink too much champagne. Regards John and Jenny

    Sent from my iPhone



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