Volume 4 Issue 8 - December 2015

Holiday Traditions!


Birthdays and Anniversaries


• Tosca Lee - December 1st

• Melanie Gutzmer - December 2nd

• Kandis Friedenbach - December 11th

• Nicole Panneton - December 17th


• Marcelle and John Broome - December 29th


Susie says “when Joe and RanDee were growing up we always did Christmas Eve with Dave’s parents and Christmas morning at my parents.”  Now that the Sochor kids are grown, with families of their own, one of their new traditions is the Christmas Walk at the Stuhr Museum.  They especially love going to the church to  listen to the singing, and then drinking hot chocolate and eating sugar cookies from the General Store.

Deb’s family tradition is Christmas stockings. When Deb and Dick moved from Nebraska to Texas, the kids were each given their stockings to put up at their own homes. Since everyone was spending Christmas together for the first time in a few years (at the beach on Mustang Island, TX) and there was not enough room in their luggage to bring the stockings, Deb made everyone (with the exception of her and Dick), a new stocking from old thrift store sweaters.  Their holiday tradition is to see what Santa puts in those stockings first thing on Christmas morning. The attached family photos are some of Deb’s favorites “even though they are a couple of years old.”

Marcelle says “I am grateful to have my mom with me this year, as she is now under hospice care”.  Pictured on the left with Marcelle, and her mom, are her two grandsons,vLogan-16, who is now 6 ft. 2” tall (watch out) and Tate-11. Pictured on the right is daughter Brooke with her boys. Their family tradition is to play tag football every Thanksgiving where they divide up into teams and the best team wins.  “So much fun.”

Terri’s three all time favorite holiday family traditions are:

1. celebrating the birth of Jesus by attending Christmas church services together as a family, followed by dinner together

2. cutting a fresh Christmas tree with the grandkids

3. creating her annual pictorial Christmas card and poem which takes all year long to compose.

In addition, Terri loves receiving Christmas cards and letters from family and friends just as much as sending them. Both of her daughters also have carried on their mom’s tradition of creating unique family Christmas cards~

Joni’s favorite holiday tradition is Cookies! Cookies! Cookies! Joni  always makes candy cane sugar cookies as well as peppermint, chocolate, and nutty merengue cookies that you bake on a paper bag. In addition to that Joni prepares Hershey chocolate cookie balls. And for the finale...Marshmallow Cream jar fudge! All of these tasty treats are put in Joni’s favorite Christmas tins.  She then buys tins and gives them as gifts. Santa will get some of these delicious cookies this year which will be from Joni’s sweet 1st grandchild, Raegan. Milk included of course!

1991-The day after Thanksgiving, instead of participating in Black Friday...Kathleen Valentine and her family do a deep clean. They go through their things; clothes, toys etc. and give away anything they no longer use or need.

The LaBorde family loves holiday traditions and they have many! For Thanksgiving, they have a favorite tradition which has taken place for many years. A plastic tablecloth is placed on the table and those family and friends who join Kim and Gail for Thanksgiving write what they are thankful for, with a sharpie, on that tablecloth. “It is so fun to read the comments and reflect back over the years about the many things we have been thankful for, Kim says!!” For Christmas, the LaBorde family opens their gifts starting with the youngest person, and are opened one at a time. The person opening the gift states who it is from so everyone can see what is being received, and it allows the receiver the opportunity to thank the person their gift is from.

Melanie’s family tradition is church, a BIG Prime Rib Dinner, and an evening of playing games and enjoying one another’s company.

Usually once a year during the holidays someone asks Tosca for her Cornish hen stuffing— “which takes forever” because she cooks the Cornish hens all day in a crock pot. She then debones them and uses the meat to make a Cornish hen and mushroom stuffing the next day. “It’s pretty darn good, if I say so myself—and practically a meal by itself!” A new tradition Tosca has gained is getting a fresh tree with Bryan and the boys— “I never had fresh trees growing up!” Christmas Day is celebrated at Bryan’s parents’ farm with the extended family.

The Anstine family has a few fun traditions.  They attend church as a family which they cherish! Then they eat crab legs, chili and clam chowder soup.  When their kids were little and not sure they liked clam chowder, Bill and Debbie would bribe them with $5 if they could see the tree on the bottom of their bowl.  That became a big laugh as somewhere along the way they started liking clam chowder but kept collecting and raising the price if they could (“wasn't it $10, no I think I remember $20”). Bill reads the Christmas story from the bible and their daughter- in-law (Dani) does a birthday cake for Jesus and of course they sing happy birthday to Jesus. Christmas morning everyone stays in their PJ's for gift opening and breakfast.  Karaoke with Christmas songs is one of the grandkids favorites!! 

The Gray family tradition starts with Thanksgiving weekend.  Deb and Scott have hosted Thanksgiving since their first year of marriage and it includes both sides of their family.  During that weekend they like to decorate for Christmas, because “Elfie” (Elf on a Shelf) arrives the morning of Thanksgiving and they want to make him feel at home.  Christmas Eve is spent with Deb’s side of the family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family.  They enjoy watching the movies Elf, A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. Last, and certainly not least, the Gray family loves giving back at this time of year…sponsoring a child, family or serving in their community…knowing the true meaning and reason for the season is celebrating Jesus’s birthday…and always remembering, “to much is given ~ much is expected.”

“Merry Christmas from the Gray family!”

One of Sherri’s favorite Holiday traditions is held on her mom's side of the family where approximately 50 people attend their Christmas gathering.  Because of the large number of people, everyone brings an appetizer and Sherri’s mom always has a couple of soups to go along with the vast assortment of goodies. To add to the festivities, everyone brings a gift for a white elephant exchange.  To get the best number in the exchange you have to win it!  There is a theme and everyone dresses up accordingly. Costumes are voted on by everyone - they have a female and male winner.  Besides getting the best number in the exchange, the winners must agree on a theme for next year.  Past themes have included ugly sweaters, cowboys, famous or fancy, and hillbillies! This year’s theme is HIPPIES.  Each family receives a commemorative photo of the event.  Last year Sherri’s family dressed up as the Beverly Hillbillies.

Olivia’s family tradition is their kids open one present the night before Christmas. This year, the Opre family hope to be in their new home celebrating the holidays and creating new traditions for their family!!! Fingers crossed!

Jennifer and her family’s favorite tradition is working on a puzzle all throughout the Christmas break and playing cards on Christmas Eve!

Michele’s favorite family tradition during the holidays is everyone getting new Christmas PJ's and wearing them on Christmas Eve and just spending quality time together.

The day before Christmas Eve Amanda and Brady give Ava a "Christmas Box" that has Christmas pj's, snacks and a movie in it. They eat their snacks and watch Christmas movies together as a family!  On Christmas Eve Amanda’s entire family gets together. They make Christmas dinner and feast away! Afterwards they play boards games and watch movies till Santa comes! When they hear Santa on the roof top they all run into Amanda’s mom's room-they hide and listen to Santa in the living room eating their cookies and laying out our presents. They have to be really quiet so he thinks they are sleeping. Once Santa leaves they rush out into the living room and open gifts together as a family!!

One of the annual Shelton family traditions takes place on Christmas Eve, where they make hot cocoa and load up into the car to go look at Christmas lights around Lincoln. Erika and Jayme try to do this early enough so they can come home and watch a Christmas movie prior to bedtime and before Santa comes!