The holidays are a time when traditions help us connect and bring back memories that are part of our upbringing. Some of our staff shared their own special way of celebrating with different twists. What are your holiday traditions?
Corinne Gosnell (Master Gardener): Our family tradition is creating holiday wreaths together as a family event. It’s a wonderful way to see through another’s eyes. What each family member makes is so different and beautiful. The process is made even better by sharing a bottle of LaRue bubbles!
Eileen McCartin (Event Coordinator): When my big Italian family gets together for Christmas in Arizona, the festivities typically last for five days. We start with Reindeer Games on the 23 which are essentially themed relay games in which the whole family, young and old, compete against each other. We do the traditional Sicilian seafood cuisine of squid, octopus, a gazillion appetizers, and homemade clam pasta on Christmas Eve. Then we all open presents which, for a family of 40 people, takes a few hours. At around 10p, everyone gets into their designated teams and performs “skits.” This is typically very tequila-inspired, and teams plan and practice their skits months in advance. The theme of peoples’ skits can be pretty much anything, from popular TV shows or movies, current events, or simply making fun of certain family members. These go until the early morning hours! On Christmas morning, we all go to Mass, followed by a big brunch at my grandparent’s house and a full day of eating and drinking. The best part about it is for dinner we have my family’s homemade ravioli and meatballs. It’s the best meal all year, in my opinion! We all sit around a long table, drink wine, and eat until we can’t breathe.
Michelle Kauffman (Communications Director): For me, the holidays are all about tradition and the cozy creature comforts of winter. I love going out with my husband to cut down our own Christmas Tree and watching the flickering candlelight as we celebrate Hanukkah. But, my favorite thing about this time of year is getting together with our friends and family over a delicious meal and an outstanding bottle of wine. This year, since we can’t be together in person, we have plans to Zoom with family in Pennsylvania, which is a wonderful treat to see those we love that are far away. We’ve sent them an amazing array of Stoller wines to enjoy as we chat and celebrate the season.
Erica Miller (Viticulturist): Every year, my family and I find a fun (usually also embarrassing) new board game to play on Christmas Eve. All of the grandchildren get to open the wrapped board game together, and we immediately sit around the dining table to play. The evening is always filled with a lot of laughter and some great video footage.
Chase Abbot (Reserve Winery Cellar Master): My favorite holiday tradition is probably drinking Glühwein and listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree. Glühwein is a hot spiced wine from Germany we discovered after a Christmas vacation, and we incorporated it into our Christmas ever since.
Aaron Fox (Cellar Master):
My fiancé, Rachel, and I both come from families that have a fondue meal and crab meal on Christmas Eve. I don’t know if that counts as a tradition, but it’s always been something we find fun, growing up with the same odd combo meals every year. It’s also nice that Covid can’t take away our Dungeness! I don’t know if I could handle losing my crab feed.
Jon Warszynski (Director of Tasting Rooms):
One of my favorite traditions is Christmas tree hunting – going out in the woods, having some drinks, cutting down a tree, and having a fire with friends and family. All being safe, of course. The other holiday tradition is watching A Christmas Story on Christmas from beginning to end.
Madison Lyons (Enologist): During a normal year, I fly back home to Maui to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas with my family, my siblings and I were raised Jewish, but my mom has always loved celebrating Christmas too. We celebrate by doing the Austrian tradition of opening all our presents on Christmas eve; then, we always go to the beach to spend the day together on Christmas morning.