Every year we kick off the holiday season in November with Thanksgiving. We pause long enough to be reminded of the many things we have to be thankful for. After that it’s like Christmas is knocking on our door, New Year’s Eve passes by in a blur, and we are launching into a new year in the blink of an eye.

To me, the holidays are a wonderful time. I am blessed with a large family that all live near each other. We have lots of holiday traditions to share with each other. The one that is nearest and dearest to me is the one I share with my partner and children. It started a few years ago. The kids were around 10 and 11. We were all trying to figure out what to buy each other for Christmas. I was struggling particularly hard with it and kept coming to the same question. If it is so hard to come up with gifts for each other, did we really need to do it? We talked as a family and decided we would try something different and it’s turned into a fun family tradition that takes us all the way through the year!

Rather than exchanging gifts, each of us has to plan something for all of us to do together. We call them our Christmas Adventures. I buy four Christmas cards. Each of us writes in a card what our adventure will be and we exchange them on Christmas Day, making sure that we don’t open our own. The rules are pretty simple: no airplanes; it has to be something we can all do together; and mom has the final say. We have done some pretty fun things! A food tour in Seattle, a weekend in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and hiking (without complaining) are just a few examples.

The point of sharing my personal tradition is simple. It’s an example of something that was challenging all of us. The solution turned it into something new and better. I see something similar for AICP. We have been faced with many challenges, and will continue to come across more. Each time we are being given an opportunity to look at things in a different way, try something new, and come out on the other side better for it.

As we near the end of 2019, I wish each and every AICP member and their families the best in their holiday season. I hope you all get to spend time with family, friends, and the people that matter in your lives. I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on where we were a year ago, both personally and professionally, and see how far we’ve come.

I also hope you will look forward. 2020 brings a new beginning. Not just in a new year, but with a new decade. It will bring many challenges, as well as many opportunities. We are working hard to make AICP an organization that serves its members better than ever before. And continues doing it through the next year, decade, and far into the future.

Bri Dahl

AICP President

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