How We Holiday: Different Ways Blue Cross Employees Celebrate the Season


| 3 min read

The United States is one big melting pot of races, ethnicities and backgrounds. In fact, there are more than 300 different religions and denominations in the country, which makes for a lot of different holidays and traditions. That holds true here at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as well. Our employees represent a variety of cultures and backgrounds—and no time is that diversity more apparent than during the holiday season. Some may mark this time of year by stringing up Christmas lights, while others light a menorah or hang beautiful paper streamers and flowers. Here’s a glimpse into how three of our employees enjoy this time with their families: Amy Jill Altman Claims Review Specialist, Imaging & Support Services
“My family celebrates Hanukkah, which is a truly joyous holiday. In fact, it’s also known as the Festival of Lights and commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This year, the first day of Hanukkah fell on December 13. The holiday lasts for eight days and include prayers, dinners and gift exchanges. My husband and our two sons light candles, and add a new candle, in our menorah each night. My three siblings and their families come over and join us for one of these nights, which I truly look forward to (especially when we light all of the menorahs together). A special tradition we have is cooking delicious fried foods and bringing in food from a Jewish deli, including corned beef, pastrami, salami, and potato latkes.”
Dena Dalal Senior Analyst, Key, Large, Auto & URMBT Servicing
“I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, so other than Easter, this is the biggest holiday of the year for my family and faith. Christmas is important to me as we are celebrating the birth of Christ, which is of huge significance in the Catholic faith, and carrying on the traditions of my parents, who came to this country from Iraq. I have a really big family (65 people, to be exact!) and they all gather at my house during the holidays. Our staple meal has always been stuffed sheep intestine (called mumbar) and sheep stomach (called pacha). They are brined a couple of days before Christmas, stuffed with seasoned rice and minced meat, and cooked in a broth with chickpeas. We serve traditional holiday dishes as well, but these specialties are the ones looked forward to the most.” Leland Walker IT Manager
“In line with our spiritual beliefs, my family celebrates Christmas on December 25. During the holiday season, we attend Christmas programs at our children’s school and at church. We also come together on Christmas day for a big dinner and to exchange gifts. But that’s not all. To honor our African heritage, we also celebrate Kwanzaa, which runs from December 26 to January 1. This holiday focuses on seven core principles that guide our everyday actions, including “Umoja” (unity), “Nia” (purpose) and “Imani” (faith). My family participates in some of the programs and festivities hosted at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, each of which usually center on one of the seven principles. During this time, we also enjoy visiting The Blue Nile restaurant in Ferndale for traditional Ethiopian cuisine. It’s very special to me to celebrate both holidays since I have some family and friends who may recognize one and not the other. Celebrating both really gives me the opportunity to spend as much time as I can with loved ones during such a special time of the year.” Go behind-the-scenes and learn more about the Blue Cross team by visiting these blogs:
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association