It wouldn’t be the holiday season without memories of family food traditions, a handful of memorable gifts received, and the gifts we’ve shared with others. 

Our Favorite Festive Foods

For Deb Shafer, having a casual Christmas Eve dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup is a favorite holiday tradition. 

Deb explains, “When my daughters were little, I decided it was too much to prepare a big Christmas Eve dinner, get them to bed, then create Christmas magic. So, we started having grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. My husband and I still look forward to having it every year and my daughters now do the same with their families.”

Chad Larsen, on the other hand, saves his appetite for something a little sweeter. Each year, Chad looks forward to his favorite holiday treat - a delicious pie. Whether it’s pumpkin or pecan, Chad’s a happy camper. 

Most Memorable Gifts - For Better or For Worse

Chad’s most memorable holiday gift, however, isn’t as sweet as pie. 

“When I was about 6 or 7, my older brother, by 4 years, wrapped his present to me in a box, within a box, within a box,” explains Chad. “So, I open the outer wrapping, open the first box and it reveals a pair of Odor-Eaters shoe insoles. I started to cry, not laugh. I was devastated. The brother I revered had given me an awful gift, suggesting I had stinky feet.” 

Chad adds, “He did quickly console me, and alerted me to the real present inside. I am not 100% sure what it was - a digital watch, I think. I will never forget the feeling.”

Barry Berg has also received his fair share of memorable gifts, primarily from his late mother-in law. 

Barry explains, “In response to my wife’s suggestion that her mother give me “barware” for our first Christmas together, she gave me a miniature straw donkey with tiny rum and gin bottles in the saddle baskets. She tried to redeem herself a year later by giving me a beer bottle opener with a jewel on the handle (and we weren’t beer drinkers). A year or so later, having taken a trip to Peru, she gifted me with a gray alpaca tie – have you ever attempted to knot an alpaca tie?” 

“Priceless memories,” chuckles Barry. 

The most memorable gifts of all for Barry, however, are the ones that he gives, particularly the “experiences.” Barry fondly remembers the many family ski vacations out west, typically to Sun Valley, Idaho or Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado. 

As we reflect on years past and recenter ourselves around what really matters, Barry reminds us that, “No one remembers the specific book, album or toy they received a given year, but memories last a lifetime.”

Posted by Lizzie Byrne on
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