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Whittier family shares their Christmas tradition

Christmas is a time of traditions. Traditions are important within the life of a family, and also a community, as they instill a sense of enchantment, excitement, and a calling-to-memory of past celebrations with loved ones and friends.


For one fellow Whittierite, Andrea White, Christmas traditions are where she shines.


“Cocoa Jams” is a tradition that Andrea started with her family in 2015. The goal of Cocoa Jams was to create a unique, bonding experience for she and her family – one that would also celebrate and bless another family in a small way.


Here’s how it works: Each year, in early December, Andrea gifts her family (her three children, her husband and herself) with a new set of Christmas pajamas.  Then, in mid-December (once folks around Whittier have had a chance to set up their Christmas lights), she piles the whole family into the car and drives to Starbucks.  The rule is, the entire family *must* walk into Starbucks in their pajamas for all to take in the glorious sight. 


Are the kids embarrassed? Of course! Are the parents embarrassed? Most definitely.  But remember…the goal is to create a unique, bonding experience for this young family and what better way to bond together than through a little display of public embarrassment, right? 


The family orders a round of hot chocolate and they purchase one $10 gift card to give to an unsuspecting family.  For the next couple hours, the family drives around Whittier listening to Christmas music on the radio and looking for the best-decorated Christmas house. (Full disclosure: Parents don’t get much say in what qualifies as “the best-decorated house. The kids are the self-proclaimed judges.)


Once it begins getting late and the hot chocolate has worn off, the family decides which house they will award their $10 Starbucks gift card to. Here again, a rule has been instituted to maximize the impact of this tradition: The winning family must be home. Many displays may have been in the running, but the winner can only be one whose family is home to celebrate this “prestigious honor.”


Andrea’s kids are proud to march up to the front door and ring the doorbell in excited announcement that “this house is the winner.” Christmas cheer and celebration erupt between the two families who are now acquainted with the spirit of Christmas. 


This year’s winner is a beautiful family, The Cummo’s, of Starbuck Street. The patriarch of the family, Diego Cummo, spent two days just laying cotton on his lawn to mimic the appearance of snow. He then spent another day setting up the displays on in his front yard. What devotion to the Christmas spirit. 

2019 “Cocoa Jams” winner: The Cummo Family of Starbuck Street

Upon discovering the news that his display was being awarded the 2019 Cocoa Jams Award from Andrea and her family, the Cummo’s treated the children to a few homemade treats and gifts that the family had made. A good time was truly had by all.


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