Christmas Memories

By: 
Ashley Wilson
Reporter

“Every year our family walks our acreage to find the perfect tree. This year they restrained themselves at 10 1/2 feet!” -Merri Schulz of Cloverleaf Education Services

“During December 2020, while shut down due to the pandemic, we hosted a virtual ‘jingle bell’ ride where we asked participants to dress up and turn their camera on for the zoom spin class. When we began the class we noticed one of them was wearing a full Santa suit, beard included! She rode through maybe 3 songs before she was too hot to keep it on. It was a bright spot during an isolating time and we will never forget it!” -Shanna Feist & Courtney Pegram of The Spin Barre

“My favorite Christmas memory/tradition is absolutely cookie making! My mom and I did this together when I was a child. She had this big spread of sprinkles and different colored frostings to choose from. It was always a very big to-do and I looked forward to it every year. I continued this tradition once I became a mother. Decorating cookies with my kids is a must for the holiday season. I probably go a little overboard with having 6 or 7 colors and a million types of sprinkles. But hey, it's Christmas!” -Rachel Achurra of Deer Park Quaranteam

“I’d say that our favorite Lofty tradition is the Saturday after Thanksgiving we make plans to gather for picking up a Christmas tree at Summerlins tree farm here in Deer Park. We then take it back to Lofty and decorate the coffee house for the season. We make drinks, listen to Christmas music and play games. It’s lots of fun!” -Lofty Skies Crew

“For my memory, I would say it’s having Christmas breakfast with my family after we have opened gifts. In my family, we wake up super early to open presents, so it’s really nice to have time to wind down afterwards, connect with my family and eat comforting food.” -Deer Park Princess Mason Griffin

“The day is Christmas Eve. The Moss family is all sitting in a circle on the floor. The room is warm, and you can smell fresh, cooling cookies in the air. These are the cookies that we will eat, as well as the ones that we will set out for Santa. There is a Christmas movie playing in the background. My three siblings and I are each handed a Christmas Eve gift. We open this gift every year on Christmas Eve. We all open our gifts at the same time. After we take in what we got, we look around to see what our siblings got. It is always the same gift. A new movie for each of us, as well as pajamas. Sometimes our pajamas match, last year everyone got matching buffalo plaid pants. Sometimes we all get fuzzy pants that have our favorite cartoon characters on them. My other favorite tradition that my family does is on Christmas morning. After we all take turns opening and giving each other presents, the breakfast making process begins. We have the same thing for breakfast every year, and it is the only time we eat it all year. Biscuits and egg gravy. Dozens of eggs go into making breakfast, as well as a few packages of biscuits. Some bacon is cooked up and the gravy is made in the pan with the bacon grease. Christmas would not be the same without these two transitions every year.” -Deer Park Princess Xandria Moss

“My favorite Christmas tradition is a picture in front of the Christmas tree with my family or younger brother on Christmas Eve. When I was younger, I would get all dressed up and my mom would drag me to the tree to take a picture with my little brother. At the time I despised it. But now, I am so grateful for that tradition, for I can see myself at a variety of ages with precious memories and emotions attached to each of those pictures!” -Miss Deer Park Kaity Wacker

“In 1965, The Peanuts Gang by Charles M. Schulz were born. My father (Bob Schroeder) who was the art teacher at DPHS at that time was inspired to build these Christmas decorations in 1968 which have proudly been on display at our family's home every year since. (You do the math!!!). Many old time Deer Park residents may remember driving by my childhood home at 758 N Arnim and seeing them in the yard with uplifting messages like "Merry Christmas From The Schroeder Gang'' or my favorite, "For Unto us this day in the city of David, a Savior is born!" The Gang is always cheerfully caroling in celebration of the New Born King! Some years later, The Grinch and Max were added and could be seen lurking in the background. In 1968, Dad's efforts won the city wide house decoration competition which, believe it or not, used to be a REALLY big deal!!! To Mom and Dad's best recollection top prize yielded around $20. The top photo is circa 1976 and the lower picture on the left is 1968 while the pic on the right was taken moments ago at the current family home. Getting the characters out, freshening them up and placing them for display will always be one of my favorite parts of gearing up for the Holidays and a family tradition that has carried on 53 amazing years!” -Deron Schroeder of Bicycles by Deron

"Through the years I have loved playing the role of Santa Claus with my 6 children and they loved the tradition of rousting me out of my cozy bed early on Christmas day. Having spent time until the wee hours of the morning carefully arranging their gifts and snacking on the treats they left for Santa, I would always be bleary eyed when they pounced on our bed early on Christmas day. We would enjoy the coziness of the whole family lounging in the warmth of the covers as I stalled the process of heading to the living room to see what Santa brought. Of course we wouldn’t allow that excited stampede to proceed until we’d read the biblical story of the Nativity and sometimes a reading of the classic story of The Fourth Wise Man. That gave us time to ponder the important things and allowed the suspense to build as they wondered what treasures awaited them in the next room. Things are much different now that my children are grown and are living their own lives. Our traditions have changed a bit! Now I get to sleep in, but as I snack on a thick sugar cookie for breakfast (instead of a healthier breakfast) I’m reminded of a new tradition where we invite the grandchildren (all 15 of them) into our home to mix, bake and decorate yummy sugar cookies. Of course the finished product aren’t ever uniform and perfect like the cookies you might purchase at a grocery store, but instead are made the best they can, by little hands that glob on the icing and sprinkles in generous amounts , enough to give grandpa a diabetic coma." -Jim Palmer Jr.

"Our employee Jaylee Lane shared a great tradition with us to share with you! Every Christmas, Jaylee, her sister, 2 brothers, and parents go out searching for the most beautiful tree they can find! After hours of searching, they make a team effort to cut it down, load it up, and get it in the house. Once it has all been set up, tradition follows. As a family, the tree starts to get decorated while drinking eggnog, hot cocoa, and eating delicious treats. This is a tradition that Jaylee wouldn't miss for the world and is a MUST every single year. There is something about searching, getting, and decorating the tree as a family that makes it super special for her. With a busy life, their family doesn't get to enjoy all of the quality time together that they wish they could. It is times like these that make up for them!" -Jaylee Lane of Farmhouse Froyo

"My favorite part about Christmas is the Christmas Eve service at our church. It’s a time to reflect on the love of God in sending his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save sinners which is why we’re celebrating this time of year at all. There’s just something especially encouraging and worshipful about celebrating with other believers gathered together the night before Christmas to focus our minds and hearts on Jesus. Christmas is often a lonely or difficult or sad time, and so gathering together to be reminded of the hope we have in Jesus is refreshing." -Jason Upchurch

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