SPONSORED: First Lady, In Holiday Mode

First Lady Donna Edwards brings more than her beloved holiday décor to Baton Rouge. She also brings a familial tradition and a taste of her hometown, as seen in the details of the season, both big and small.

The First Lady took out some time recently to catch up with The Picard Group, and to share how she works to keep Christ as the focus of Christmas — and to share the holiday with those in the community often overlooked.

“I love to decorate and cook at our house in Amite, and I continue to do that here,” she said. “I am a hands-on person, so I am very active in decorating the mansion for Christmas.”

For the second year, she brought her family’s hometown to the mansion by inviting her friends from Amite to join the wives of legislators to help decorate. And while she doesn’t cook as much as she used to, the Edwards family still has their same traditional meal for Christmas and maintain their same schedule of celebration.

“We attend Christmas Eve Mass as a family. We also still celebrate our extended Edwards’ Christmas on Christmas Eve and the Hutto Family celebrates on Christmas Day with a Christmas lunch,” she said.

On the mantle of the Governor’s Mansion, one will find the Edwards’ family stockings along with a Lenox collection of ornaments collected over the last 25 years hanging from the tree in the family room.

The family doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to their favorite eats for the season. Think crock pot dressing, Grandma cookies and their own crawfish chowder recipe on Christmas Eve.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the true Louisiana cooking we have had in the mansion. The pecan pies and gumbo are amazing!” she said.

With her love for music and background in it, The First Lady incorporated the element throughout the mansion for the season.

“Our Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation added music in every room. We always have wonderful music playing throughout the mansion and Christmas music during the holidays,” she said.

The entire family enjoys singing and a beloved tradition continues of Edwards playing the piano as the family sings along this time of year. But, it’s perhaps the new traditions that will most give example to the Edwards’ approach to the Christmas season.

Her acknowledgement that it is both a beautiful time for many just as it’s painful and challenging for others points to the foundation of the season – and their lives throughout the year and all that they work to teach their children.

“The holidays are such an exciting time for many of us, but there are so many that are less fortunate. Giving back to our community is so important, and we instill that in our children’s lives,” she said. “Our first year in the Governor’s Mansion, Christmas kicked off with Santa, we invited families of first responders. This year we invited foster care families to celebrate our kick off. We know the importance of investing in our state’s foster care system. We try to do anything we can to help children—our state’s future.”

She said exemplifying Christ in Christmas from the décor to the focus on giving back is key to her family.

“Simple decorations with the focus on Christ and showing Christ to others. One of the initiatives of my foundation is foster care. This year, we have collected gift cards during all our Christmas events to donate to kids in the foster care system.”

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