Union president Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver said that this year, his family will likely be singing “Tender Tennessee Christmas” as they enjoy their first Christmas in Tennessee.
The Olivers have spent past Christmases in New York, Hawaii, Texas and now Tennessee—but still, their favorite part about the holidays is just spending time together.
For Thanksgiving, the Olivers spent six days in New York City. Susie Oliver said they saw Aladdin and Les Miserables on Broadway, watched the Macy’s Day Parade and spent time with their daughter, Callie.
The Olivers’ Christmas traditions include eating Mexican food on Christmas Eve, going to the movies on Christmas Day, eating ham and hanging out together.
Dub Oliver said that this year, since Callie is flying home on Christmas Eve, the family will enjoy their Mexican food tradition at Chuy’s restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Once we had Callie, we stayed in Texas for Christmas Day,” Susie said. “But our favorite memory was our first Christmas together, when Dub and I were first married. We didn’t have a lot, but everyone was really, really generous to us.”
In addition to eating Mexican food, Dub said his favorite Christmas tradition is the candlelight Christmas Eve service. Susie’s favorite recent Christmas memory is going to Hawaii and writing “Merry Christmas” in the sand.
When asked about doing her Christmas shopping, Susie said buying gifts for her husband presents some challenges.
“Dub is hard to buy presents for because he’s not materialistic, so he says, ‘I don’t want anything,’” Susie said. “But I am super easy because I want everything!”
Dub said one of the unique aspects of working at a university is there are intense periods of work during the semester followed by a couple weeks of “rest, reflection and re-creation.”
Though their Christmas will certainly be different this year, all three of the Olivers agreed they still look forward to their time together.
“Being in a new house and with a new church family will mean we are experiencing old traditions in new ways,” Dub said. “That will be good to remind us of the true meaning [of Christmas], that which transcends particular places. The wonder of the Christmas miracle is ever new—I can never get over that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”