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Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

This Holiday Season, we thought it would be fun to share our traditions with you, so we asked some of our team members to tell us about their traditions, and these are the stories they shared! We hope you enjoy the stories and recipes!

Carrie Schonlaw, AAA Director: I followed in my mother’s tradition of having two trees. I have a more formal tree that only I decorate because it has to be perfect, ha ha ha! – The boys didn’t care all that much, but Capri likes to help so will let her help (picture attached to prove it) but don’t tell her I sometimes rearrange them. I know it’s my type A personality!!!!! The second tree (like my mom’s tradition) was the kid’s tree! It’s decorated with homemade ornaments, special family ornaments (like first Christmas) and of course, we collect ornaments from our travels. My other favorite tradition is the Christmas stockings, another gift I learned from my mother was the skill of over stuffing the stocking. Stocking were my favorite growing up and now one of my children’s favorite things about Christmas!

Heather Cox, Case Manager: I make a Yule Log cake every year and we do a conference call with my husband, Jason's, Dad with the whole family where he says a toast for the holiday, we all do shots from wherever we are.

Heather's Yule Log Recipe
Download PDF • 125KB

Kelly Reeder, Options Counselor: We collect a holiday ornament from every new place we visit; I have quite a few from the last twenty years! It’s fun to remember a little bit about each place or trip where we got the ornament. Another thing we like to do is attend the local parade of lights or tree lighting ceremony wherever we live and then go home to enjoy French Onion soup that we’ve had cooking all day.

Kelly's French Onion Soup Recipe
Download PDF • 36KB

Maria Bailey, RSVP Director: I make an ornament for each of my children and grand kids. Thy look forward to their grandma ornaments.

Mary Giffard, Administrative Assistant: We try to take a family picture every year together at least the years I have all three of our children.

Sheri Reber, Case Manager: My family does most of the festivities on Christmas Eve. We also "hide the pickle" ornament in the tree- the kid that finds it first gets an "extra" present. I also am a baker- I love to bake caramel, divinity, sugared nuts, sugar cookies, white chocolate popcorn toffee. We love our sweets.

Tracie Lund, Case Manager: We decorate the house in snowmen (I might be obsessed with them). Plus, we have two trees -

1. Snowman Tree

2. American Tree – My husband was in Iraq so this tree means a lot to us.

We make gingerbread houses as a family. We have a Christmas Eve tradition of getting pj's reading a Christmas story. We have family parties with lots of games and food. Grandpa plays the accordion while all the little kids dance.

Tracy HeavyRunner, HCBS Director: For me, Christmas was about going to Grandma and

Grandpa Whipple’s house in Logandale, Nevada. Even though I grew up in Minnesota, my Christmas was filled with sand and dune buggies and no snow. My favorite part was going into the desert with my grandpa and jumping the sand dunes. Now that my grandparents and parents are gone, we have started some of our own. My husband, Jerome and I married at Christmas time, and we started the tradition of collecting ornaments on our honeymoon to Portland. Now as our kids have married, we rotate every other year. I have continued the tradition of Christmas Eve pajamas from my parents, and we make gingerbread houses as the Hello Kitty Club.

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