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Christmas Memories

December 15, 2016 Gina Gallup

We’re gearing up for Christmas here at the Bradford Group! And in the midst of the tinsel, parties and goodies, we discussed what makes this the most wonderful time of the year. Check out our answers below!


Jeff Bradford ChristmasJeff “Licorice Mullingsparkles”* Bradford

Favorite Christmas album: Andy Williams Christmas Album
Favorite Christmas song: White Christmas
Favorite Christmas movie: It’s a Wonderful Life
What do you want for Christmas this year? Sailing stuff
Real or artificial tree? Real
Favorite Christmas tradition: Waiting ’til Christmas Eve to buy a tree
Best Christmas ever: Skiing trip wth the whole family. I really enjoy skiing and thought our kids would, too. So, about a year after Jeanne and I married, we took the whole gang – 5 kids – on a ski trip to Park City, the powder snow capital of the world. They had a blast and the interesting thing is that the non-athletic kids did the best, probably because they chose to learn on skis instead of a snowboard. Louise got to be especially good and she and I had a great ski the last day in 2 feet of powder. They all said it was the best trip they’ve ever been on. The only downside is that we convinced Jeanne, who had stayed on the bunny slope all week, to go up to the top of the mountain on the last day. The idea was the ski down on the easy track. However, we ran into a snow storm when we got on top and… let’s just say it didn’t go well.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: The gift of a family. Christmas means a lot more when you have a houseful of kids to share it with.


Claire “Frangelico Pepperlog” Long

Claire Long ChristmasFavorite Christmas album: Michael Bublé Christmas
Favorite Christmas song: Sleigh Ride
Favorite Christmas movie: Elf
What do you want for Christmas this year? A monogram necklace (with my new initials!)
Real or artificial tree? Artificial
Favorite Christmas tradition: Playing Dirty Santa at my grandmother’s house with all the cousins
Best Christmas ever: The Christmas before I turned 16, after my brother and I had finished opening presents (or so we thought), our parents had one last surprise for us in the form of two giant checks! They were each written for new cars—which neither of us were expecting—and I remember laughing so hard in disbelief! It was really fun, and several days later they took us car shopping where I found the Honda I still drive to this day. :)
Most meaningful Christmas gift: Last year, in preparation for my getting married and moving away from home, my mom gave me a homemade cookbook of all of my favorite recipes that she makes. She worked on compiling the recipes for several months and even included pictures of the ingredients and certain steps. I reference it at least once a week, and it’s something that I’ll treasure for many years to come!


Spencer “Syllabub Cuddleflakes” Turney

Spencer Turney Christmas

Spencer with his custom-built vinyl record cabinet

Favorite Christmas album: Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas
Favorite Christmas song: “Merry Christmas Baby” – Otis Redding
Favorite Christmas movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (link)
What do you want for Christmas this year? Peace and love… and a new car
Real or artificial tree? Real
Favorite Christmas tradition: It may sound unusual to the unaffiliated, but for us Turneys, the Christmas Eve snack-a-thon has to be the highlighted tradition. Full of the most unhealthy victuals imaginable, it’s glorious.
Best Christmas ever: This is a tough one. I have a hard time remembering a “best” Christmas — they’ve all been fantastic. Although last year, I did end up giving the gift of modern technology to my family through an Apple TV. My sweet parents were forever changed, and so was my Netflix queue.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: One I received: A custom-built vinyl record cabinet. (I know — i’m a nerd.) My girlfriend’s father is a carpenter and whipped that together. Still going strong as I keep weighing it down! For the favorite gift I’ve given? Well, I like to write poems. Wrote one for my old lady one year and won some serious brownie points. (Yes — I also bought a gift. Let it be known, I am not a cheapskate!)


Mimi “Eggnog Starsnaps” Hamid

Mimi Hamid Christmas

Mimi with brothers Zack (middle) and Noah (bottom)

Favorite Christmas album: Christmas by Michale Bublé. He covers all of the best Christmas classics.
Favorite Christmas song: “Do You Hear What I Hear” by Whitney Houston
Favorite Christmas movie: Jingle All the Way and Elf—I can’t choose between the two.
What do you want for Christmas this year? Mostly kitchen equipment. I’m really trying to up my cooking game in 2017.
Real or artificial tree? Artificial. I’ve never had a real tree. It sounds nice in theory, but I feel like the execution would be more trouble than it’s worth. Also, allergies.
Favorite Christmas tradition: My mom gets my brothers and I each a new ornament every year. They normally all go together some how, so I look forward to seeing what she comes up with, and then decorating the tree with my family. It’s a tradition that I’ve started doing for my boyfriend and I, too.
Best Christmas ever: I’m not sure what year it was, probably somewhere between 1997 and 2000, but it snowed on Christmas day. My siblings, cousins and I spent all day outside on their trampoline and play set in the snow. It was our first White Christmas, and we enjoyed every second of it.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: When I was 2 1/2, I got a kitchen play set, a salon play set and a plethora of other extravagant gifts (I was an only child at the time). I came downstairs and surveyed all of new items as my parents taped with their camcorder. When they asked me what Santa brought me, in a room brimming with toys, I held up a rubber piece of cheese from the kitchen play set and, in a deep southern drawl, said, “Santa brought me a piece of cheese.” Even at a young age, I knew the value of a good piece of cheese.


Lauren “Snowball Sparklelights” Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton Christmas

Lauren (left) with older sister Kristen and mother

Favorite Christmas album: The Christmas playlist I created for myself on Spotify a couple years ago
Favorite Christmas song: “Last Christmas” by Wham!
Favorite Christmas movie: I love the original animated shows for Rudolph and Frosty.
What do you want for Christmas this year? A little bit of everything.
Real or artificial tree? We always had an artificial tree growing up because my sister was allergic to the real ones. So, I’ve continued the tradition of having an artificial tree, but we might change that!
Favorite Christmas tradition: My family always read “Twas the night before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. Even as adults, we still read it whenever we’re all together at the holidays.
Best Christmas ever: I love them all because there are unique, special memories in each one! But, getting a “my-sized Barbie” as a kid was memorable. I can still hear myself shrieking.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: For my first Christmas with my husband (then boyfriend), he gave me a diamond necklace and a handwritten poem in a frame with a picture of us. The poem was so sweet and his effort was sweeter. I had also never been gifted jewelry from a boyfriend, so it meant a lot to receive that gift from him—and I still love the fact that my husband was the first to romantically gift me jewelry. 


Molly “Tiramisu Fairystockings” Garvey

Molly Garvey Christmas

Molly with her water babies

Favorite Christmas album: Any Amy Grant holiday CD
Favorite Christmas song: White Christmas by The Drifters (link)
Favorite Christmas movie: Home Alone
What do you want for Christmas this year? I’m just excited to be home with family :)
Real or artificial tree? Real all the way
Favorite Christmas tradition: When we were little, my parents took my sisters and me to pick out a new ornament every year. Growing up we always had fun reliving the memories as we decorated the family tree. Now that we’re older it’s fun to see them on our own trees each year.
Best Christmas ever: They’re all the best ever! (But my four-year-old self might tell you that the year I got a new water baby was the best ever. When I opened it, I proudly screamed, “LOOK – a water baby! Just what I ALWAYS wanted!” I was the happiest kid on the block.)
Most meaningful Christmas gift: I don’t know that I’d necessarily call it meaningful, but when I was little my parents found a stuffed animal in their closet that they had intended to give me as a Christmas gift that year (this was sometime in January). They gave it to me and my dad made a big deal of it, saying they found it in the chimney and that it must not have made it all the way down with Santa. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.


Damon “Evergreen Icicletrifle” Maida

Damon Maida Christmas

Top: Damon and wife Kristen at their first Christmas. Bottom: son Lucas screaming at Santa Claus. He doesn’t like Santa.

Favorite Christmas album: Take6 “He Is Christmas,” Rockapella, “Out Cold”
Favorite Christmas song: The First Noel
Favorite Christmas movie: It’s a Wonderful Life
What do you want for Christmas this year? Ten million dollars (if not, lots of smiles and happiness from my wife and son)
Real or artificial tree? Real
Favorite Christmas tradition: Cooking my Aunt Rose’s Italian breaded steak recipe
Best Christmas ever: My son, Lucas, was born on November 19, 2014. His first Christmas with us had to be the best. We were very sleepy and did a lot of ordering in, but Kristen and I had both of our families with us to celebrate in our apartment in Astoria, Queens NY. It was the most special yet.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: When I was 16 years old, I got an electric pencil sharpener from my parents for Christmas. Exciting, right? Well, I reacted just as a 16 year-old would: “Seriously? An electric pencil sharpener? That’s it?” Fast forward over 30 years and I still had that pencil sharpener. It saw me through the rest of high school, college, grad school and my first decade in NYC. Anytime anyone saw it, I had a great story behind it and it reminded me of Christmas with my family. It eventually petered out, but I’ll always remember that gift. 


Melinda “Gingersnap Tinselspice” LaFollette

Melinda LaFollette Christmas

Melinda (right) and her cousins)

Favorite Christmas album: Pentatonix, That’s Christmas to Me
Favorite Christmas song: There are so many!! Top 3 – All I Want for Christmas is You, Mary Did You Know, O Holy Night
Favorite Christmas movie: It’s a Wonderful Life
What do you want for Christmas this year? After getting married this fall my new husband and I have more gifts than we have room for in our home! Instead of presents this year, I want for my loved ones to make a donation to the GoFundMe campaign my husband set up for a hometown friend whose son is battling a tough disease.
Real or artificial tree? I grew up with artificial trees but we started a new family tradition this year and picked out a real one!
Favorite Christmas tradition: Going to the Christmas Eve church service, when we return home we are allowed to open one present while we make dinner. After having a delicious family dinner, we get to open all the presents!
Best Christmas ever: Growing up we spent every other Christmas with my dad’s family in Minnesota. We would spend 2 days driving up there in the family Suburban and 2 1/2 days driving back after New Years. In January 1999 on our way home we hit an intense blizzard in Illinois and had to stop at a hotel…for 2 days. Even though we wanted to get home, my mom, dad, brother and I spent those two days playing games and watching movies in the hotel room, and bundling up to traipse across the highway for food at the diner. The apple pie and Christmas cookies we brought back from Grandma’s house only lasted so long. It was an unexpected delay, and the catalyst for never again driving to Minnesota in the winter, but it made for some great family memories.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: One of the most meaningful Christmas gifts I ever received came in 2015 when my now-husband gave me an engagement ring. He surprised me with it, and the ever important question, two weeks before Christmas so we could spend the rest of the holiday season celebrating with our families. Giving me the gift of starting our life together is one of the most precious things I could have ever asked for.


Gina “Snowball Ivycrystals” Gallup

Gina Gallup ChristmasFavorite Christmas album: Carpenters “Christmas Portrait”
Favorite Christmas song: Silent Night – and “It must’ve been ol’ Santa Claus” from Harry Connick Jr.
Favorite Christmas movie: Love Actually (only because I’m not sure Diehard truly qualifies as a Christmas movie)
What do you want for Christmas this year? A new house – that’s not too much to ask for, is it? :) I’ll settle for another dog though.
Real or artificial tree?  Unsure this year. I think it will be real, but we haven’t purchased it yet!
Favorite Christmas tradition: Reading about the birth of Jesus in the Bible and lighting the Christ candle in the advent wreath.
Best Christmas ever: When I was a little girl, my parents would always leave one gift unopened, so I could get it first thing Christmas day. (Everything else waited until after breakfast and the Bible reading.) One year – it was a puppy! My most awesome gift ever at the time, and, really, it’s still pretty awesome. It the first time I’d had a puppy to name, train and care for myself. And I really did it all myself! Every time I think back on Christmases as a little girl, that’s the one that comes to mind. Yes, great family time, and I probably had other gifts that I liked too, and I’m sure the food was awesome – but I had a little apricot poodle of my own! Best Christmas ever.
Most meaningful Christmas gift: When I was younger, I really wanted a Barbie Dream House. It was all I could talk about, and I was so jealous of any other girl who had one. I asked my parents for it so much, they probably got sick of me. And they really led me to believe that I would not get one. But then, there it was! And I know that’s superficial, but it really meant a lot to me that they found one (at the time, it was hard to get) and paid for it (it was also expensive at the time – I’m old…), so I could have what I wanted. I played with that almost every day for a long time. All that said, to me, the truly most meaningful Christmas gift is the reason for the season: that God sent his Son to be our Savior. And, thankfully, that is a gift I will always have.


And let us know how you celebrate Christmas below! Have a merry one!

*Our “Christmas elf names” were generated here.

One comment on “Christmas Memories
  1. Rick Regen says:

    Great! Wonderful lists and memories.


    Good health always! That is the best gift you can receive!

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