Spend Christmas with our Head Staff!

The holiday season is upon us, and we hope that you and your family are counting down these final days until Christmas. As you’re preparing for your own festive fun, join our Head Staff team to learn how we celebrate the holidays each year!

What we eat on Christmas Eve:

Ellen-Anne’s family is most original – they bake a duck! Here’s what she has to say: “My dad’s family is Danish so we try to keep up with what he traditionally did as a family, so we stuff the duck with prunes and apples, have red cabbage on the side with roasted potatoes and gravy. Best part is rice pudding before dinner. My mom secretly puts an almond in someone’s rice pudding and whoever gets it, gets a gift! We call it the “almond gift.””

Summer2022 736.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Other meals our Head Staff enjoys:

  • Jimboy and Margaret: A fancy meal at home, or if we’re not feeling it, a Sushi or Mexican restaurant visit.
  • Alli: Spicy seafood gumbo on fancy plates.
  • Katie: After dinner out at a Mexican restaurant, we enjoy fondue by the fire.
  • Laura: Standing Rib Roast, twice baked Potatoes, Broadbent carrots (from Dr. Margaret’s family), creamed spinach, and meringues for dessert with ice cream and strawberries.
  • Meredith: Catfish stew, turkey and ham, all the casseroles, and an amazing caramel cake and petit fours.
  • Anne Hayden: My mom’s famous white BBQ chicken along with pumpkin dip in a bread bowl, baked brie, cheesy pineapples, green beans, and rolls with Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider.
  • Sarah: Shepherd’s meal! We picnic on the floor and eat charcuterie by candlelight.

What we do on Christmas Eve:

Most of our Head Staff group heads to a Christmas Eve service as the big event for the night.

Meredith has the most unique Christmas Eve tradition: “Our family has a fun tradition of cracking the pink peppermint pig. We pass around the pig, use a little hammer to break off a piece of it, and say what we are grateful for from the year. It gets deep! There are lots of laughs and tears, and everyone spends a lot of time sharing meaningful memories.”

Jimboy, Margaret, and Alli love opening one gift on Christmas Eve, while Sarah and Ellen-Anne open all their presents on Christmas Eve.

A few of our Head Staff team enjoy a Christmas movie, with Jimboy being partial to Hallmark movies while Katie and her family like classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life or Christmas Vacation.

You’ll find JF enjoying a Christmas puzzle, while Sarah and her family read tons of Christmas picture books.

Summer2022 729.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Christmas morning breakfast:

You’ll find quite the mix of foods on our Head Staff tables come Christmas morning:

  • Jimboy and the entire Miller family: Gigi’s Waffles, Broadbent bacon and sausage, Eggs Benedict
  • Katie: Eggs Benedict, fresh strawberries with homemade whipped cream, biscuits, country ham and gravy!
  • Alli: pigs in a blanket with coffee
  • Catherine: oatmeal pancakes with the in-laws
  • EA: Mexican casserole, bacon, and coffee
  • Anne Hayden: Morivian sugar cake and cheese gritz + bacon
  • Laura: Gervais makes camp biscuits! Plus grits casserole, a frittata, country ham, red eye gravy, and a fruit salad.
  • Meredith: Breakfast strata with eggs, sausage, bell peppers, onions, and cheese. Also homemade sourdough bread (fun fact: we’ve had the same yeast starter for over 25+ years!)
  • Sarah: cinnamon rolls from Nurse Jamie!

How we enjoy our stockings:

The number one item you’ll find in a Head Staffer stocking is an orange! Jimboy, Margaret, Catherine, JF, Laura, and Anne Hayden love this citrus tradition.

When Alli was a young girl, she would wake up early to open her stocking with her mom by herself, and now she has continued that tradition with her daughter.

Katie and Sarah find toothbrushes or toothpaste in their stockings each year, while Catherine and Meredith are lucky enough to find lottery tickets.

Opening stockings first is a must for most of the Head Staff, with Catherine, Laura, JF, Anne Hayden, and Meredith emphasizing that part of the tradition.

Summer2022 728.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Special Christmas traditions:

Katie listens to Christmas music to really set the holiday mood (especially Amy Grant and Andrew Peterson). During the whole month of December, Catherine has a YouTube “crackling fire” streaming on the TV!

Meredith loves getting active on Christmas day with a competitive pickleball game (are you surprised with Julie as her mom?!), while Anne Hayden also stays active by hosting a neighborhood Christmas caroling party a week or two before Christmas.

Laura’s family bakes a Happy Birthday Jesus cake, and I think she’s convinced many of our Head Staff team to participate this year!

Alli takes her family to Waffle House the morning of the 26th, while Ellen-Anne keeps the Danish fun alive with a Christmas lunch called a Julefrokost, which includes lots of smoked fish (eel, salmon, herring), shrimp salad, beef roast, cheeses, and more. Sarah’s family eats a Feliz Navidad meal each year, complete with decorations and balloons.

Most memorable Christmas present you’ve ever received:

What is the best Christmas present our team can remember receiving?

  • Jimboy: A Tri-Sport (three-wheel lawnmower motor-powered death trap my parents gave me when I was 12…I loved it dearly).
  • Katie: My Sasha Doll when I was about 8 or 9….I still have it and it still brings me joy when I see it even now.
  • Catherine: Shoutout to John John who went to the ends of Chicago to find an American Girl Kit doll for me one year!
  • JF: My first dirt bike!
  • Anne Hayden: A Barbie Jeep!
  • Ellen-Anne: Got a classical guitar in the 5th grade - best gift…it started a love for playing the guitar - love it till this day!
  • Laura: A bike!
  • Meredith: My horse, Picasso. Yet to be topped!

We hope you enjoy many wonderful holiday traditions with your family this Christmas season!