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Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

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The reminder that the holiday season is approaching seems to come earlier and earlier each year. The Starbucks holiday cup appears way too early and jingling commercials about buying presents are also a bit premature. Though the early onset of holiday reminders makes some in our office a little “grinchy,” GD staffers are still excited to share annual holiday traditions once the right time comes. To keep spirits up, we also challenged ourselves to claim some new traditions! How do our seasonal festivities match up with your wintertime celebrations?


Holiday Fads


Brenda Riddell, Owner/Creative Director

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Globe-Trotting Tree-Trimmer

Fav decoration tradition: Whenever my husband and I travel, we always pick up an ornament for the Christmas tree that reminds us of the places we’ve visited. My favorite ornament is Riviera Maya Santa, delivering tequila to all the good girls and boys.

I’m starting what I hope will be a new ongoing tradition for our entire family. I am only giving gifts that are intended to help others. This year, everyone is getting a symbolic species adoption kit from the World Wildlife Federation.


Jaimie Knapp, Design Director

Determined to Decorate with Doodads from the Deep

Christmas traditions have died down as the family has gotten older and smaller . . . I start out my Christmas season by watching Love, Actually every Thanksgiving evening. Then I ignore the holiday until the very last minute. My tree is usually lucky if it goes up the weekend before Christmas, and lucky if it gets decorated at all. But I do have a few favored ornaments from my childhood that make it on to the tree every year regardless of the theme or decor. I don’t even remember loving Minnie Mouse that much as a child, but to this day, it is my favorite ornament. The one other tradition that I look forward to every Christmas is seeing the decorations at my parent’s house. My mom does such a beautiful job weaving holiday greens and lights with seashells and it always feels like Christmas to me.

I guess you can say that my family traditions center around food. On Christmas Eve we have a family get-together that involves family, fire, and so so so much food. It’s wonderful. Christmas day is the day for breakfast strata, cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, and mimosas . . . and then Chinese food.

This year’s holiday will be different in a lot of ways, so hopefully, some new traditions will come of it . . . I have a feeling Home Alone will now be part of the Christmas movie rotation, and I bet I won’t be able to get through the holiday without watching Die Hard, either.


Alex Bahl, Web Developer

In It For the Cranberry

Alex isn’t one for Yuletide fun, but there is one holiday tradition he does enjoy: Canada Dry Cranberry Gingerale. Though it is now a year-round libation, this drink was originally marketed in 1992 as a “less sweet” alternative to eating cranberries during holiday meals. Regardless of its new availability throughout the year, the drink still gives Alex those “holiday vibes.”


Megan Tracy, Graphic Designer

Festive Food Fiend

Thanksgiving is definitely the bigger holiday for my family, I mean, who doesn’t love food and good company? We all hang out, eat/drink, watch the game, and play a big game of left, right, center. Somehow, my grandmother always wins . . . not sure if that’s part of the tradition or just incredible luck.

As for Christmas, my family doesn’t get too excited. Traditions have pretty much all died down since there are no longer any younger kids in my family. We wait until the very last minute (usually the night before Christmas) to set up our tree while eating white fudge covered Oreos and watching some of the classic Christmas movies. Then Christmas day is pretty much another holiday all about food. We have a HUGE breakfast and then go eat our weight in food all day at my aunt’s’ house.

After having been in college the past four years, I’ve been very last minute with my gift shopping. So this year, I’d like to make part of my tradition getting more meaningful and useful gifts for everyone. That and I would like to actually make it through the 25 days of Christmas movies for the first time.


Rachel Pantazis, Content Marketing Associate

Dedicated to Dickens

When it comes to Christmas, my family is full of serious anglophiles. As soon as the season begins, my father and I have always enjoyed watching every single, classical iteration of A Christmas Carol. From the non-musical productions starring George C. Scott, Alastair Sim, Reginald Owen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Seymour Hicks, and Jim Carrey; to the whimsical musical productions starring Albert Finney, Kelsey Grammer, and the Muppets with Sir Michael Caine.

It’s the classic reproductions of the tale that have me wishing my Christmas morning was filled with wassailing carolers and tiny children being cured of TB. My dad and I sit in front of the television many nights in a row as we lipsync to the films like overeager drag queens performing to Celine Dion’s greatest hits.

If I could start a new holiday tradition this year, it would be to do something good with the money I use to buy Christmas presents for my family and friends. I will try to buy as many gifts for people as I can that result in goodness for others. Whether it’s buying local products that support local merchants, buying products that result in donations to good causes, or buying experiences for my family rather than material things. This new tradition is as close as I can get to curing Tiny Tims of TB.

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