Staff Traditions

Staff Traditions

We asked our staff to tell us about some of their favorite holiday traditions. What started out as a fun post on social media turned into staff sharing some of their favorite memories with each other. We hope you will share your favorites with us too!


Making povitica, a Croatian bread, with my mom for distribution to friends and family.  It was a several day affair. My dad would buy 50 pounds of English walnuts, and his job was to grind them in a hand grinder, which took quite a while. My mom was a master at stretching the dough thin across the kitchen table. I've never been able to make one as good as hers (and my grandma's). -Madeline


Our tradition is traveling. Since we are the ones in both of our families to live off in the wilderness, we have yet to spend a Christmas here...since 1989. The bad part is putting about 2,000 miles on the vehicle and seeing as many as nine states in a little more than a week. The good thing is seeing the family and having three Christmases! -Ken


Playing board games all night long and drinking egg nog. -Brian


I have on hand a very small cake (we are not much into cakes) or a cookie. I put a candle on it and we sing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus by the Nativity Set. The little kids love it because, of course, they get to sing and blow out the candle. -Judy


We always order pizza for Christmas Eve supper, bring it home and open a movie to watch that night.  When I was a kid, it was the only night of the year that Mom didn't have to make us supper!!! -Sarah


We do fancy dinner for Christmas Eve. We have missed a few years but generally my mom cooks something fancy like prime rib or lobster or something like that. We break out the china and linens and everything. -Angie


My stepmom always gets the kids and grandkids similar ornaments as a gift, and writes their name and the year the received it on there. It's literally my favorite thing ever. I have ornaments from when I was 5 years old up until this past year. -Nikki


We always got to open one present Christmas Eve, which was always new pajamas (although I never caught on to that.)  I do it for my kids still and actually we celebrate Christmas with my parents on Christmas Eve now and we all get matching pajamas. -Jessica 


Christmas morning with my kids has always meant Monkey Bread (the kind made with yeast rolls) and a breakfast casserole.  To this day even though they are grown and living on their own, they always request this.  We can't open gifts until after we enjoy breakfast together! -Betty


We have an open house at my dad's house every Christmas eve. We bake the cookies and make the candy for it the day after Thanksgiving every year and then freeze it for this event. We have lots of food in addition to all the sweets, (when my mom was alive she always made this wonderful broccoli/cheese soup, now my oldest sister makes it every year) In addition to all of the immediate family, old friend's of my parent's come over and we catch up and eat way too much. One of their friends was a musician and he would bring his guitar and we would sing carols. My mom had this assortment of instruments including an old jug and a washboard and, just to be silly, she would pass them out to everyone. It's a great tradition my parents started years and years ago and I always look forward to it. -Lisa


We always have had a huge Italian dinner. It started with my grandpa cooking for all of us (my dad had 6 brothers and sisters) when I was little, then my aunts and mom took turns hosting and cooking. Eventually when the cousin's families got too big we had our own with our immediate family at my mom and dad's house. The last several years, my kids have taken over the cooking and this year we will continue our tradition at my house in Jefferson City. Four generations of family recipes handed down that are not written down but taught by cooking together. -Lisa


Because we moved around so much, we didn't have too many traditional physical things. However, we loved helping our mom put up the Shiny Brite ornaments on the tree. We always put out cookies and milk for Santa and opened one gift on Christmas Eve, too. For my kids, I bought them an ornament that symbolized something for them for that year, my son got a Hallmark ornament featuring a bird's nest in an eggnog carton the year he discovered how much he loved eggnog. I bought them ornaments every year until they left home and someday they will get them out of my attic and use them on their own trees. -Leslie


My mom would make a fresh green wreath lay it on the  table with 4 candles standing in the wreath. Four weeks before Christmas we'd light the first candle, turn down the lights and sing Christmas songs maybe read some Christmas/Winter poems, 3 weeks before Christmas we'd light the 1st and 2nd candles and sing ... and so on. It was a nice way to build anticipation. -Qhyrrae


We like to fight over how to cook.  Everyone knows I'm the best cook in the land. -Brian


We always go to midnight Mass. When there were kids, they got to pick one present to open before leaving for Mass. Of course, this made Mass seem like forever, but you knew if you were super good, Mom would let you play with your gift before heading to bed. Haven't had any young ones in a while, but we still like to pick out something to open and then share Mass together. -Donna


We celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th. When my girls were younger, I had little wooden shoes for them that I filled with little Christmas treats. My youngest daughter does the same now with her children. They also got a book and a movie, but the book and movie always had to have a Christmas theme! -Kimberly


We would go to church for a candlelight service on Christmas Eve and then when we came back to the house, Mrs. Claus had visited and brought us all new pajamas or slippers.  My sisters and I continue the Mrs. Claus P.J. tradition with our children. -Noelle


My sisters and I take turns putting the dollar-store star (circa 1989) on my parents' Christmas tree. We argue adamantly every year about whose turn it is this year, and try to push each other off the chair used to put the star on top. One of my favorite traditions. -Megan