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‘Tis the season for favorite traditions

Staff members from Newton Presbyterian Manor recently reflected on Christmases past and shared some of their favorite holiday traditions.

Alex Ramos, Wellness Director

“My favorite Christmas tradition was traveling to Hutchinson on Christmas Eve and then waking up and traveling out to western Kansas on Christmas morning to be with family. We did everything from attending midnight mass to eating at our family’s restaurant in Garden City. Even though those 48 hours were extremely busy, I will be forever grateful for all the wonderful memories we made throughout the years.”

Linda Smith LPN, Haury Place

“When my children were younger, we would pick a different country and find out how they celebrate Christmas. We would make that country’s meal for ours and the kids would do research and tell us about that country’s traditions. We would add a decoration, (usually their Santa Claus), that symbolized that country, too. We had some interesting food. Haha.”

Chaplain Jeanne Bergren

“This one memory stands out: my family would all gather for an early family dinner on Christmas Eve. Then we would walk together to our church for Christmas Eve service, and afterward we would return home to open gifts.”

Lou Forell, QA nurse

“Through the years in our family, several of us worked in health care (and still do) and my father was an over-the-road truck driver, so he was gone a lot. Our holidays were usually celebrated on a time and day when all family members could be together. So it was rare that we celebrated on the actual day. But when we did do our family get-togethers, it was a lot of fun! We would catch up on everyone’s lives, celebrate events/children and we would eat a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, a vegetable, homemade bread and cinnamon rolls made by our mother (and later on by a couple of my sisters who picked up how to do it from our mother), and pies galore! When my mother would make bread, we would have rolls, loaves of bread, cinnamon rolls and fried bread with butterscotch icing. After the meal, we would joke and laugh and dance! Depending on the weather, we would play touch football or basketball. The boys always found time to work on someone’s car that needed an oil change, or a fuel pump, etc. At times, we would invite aunts, uncles and cousins to join. So, at one time there may be 24 or up to 30 people in the house at one time! It was a blast! Sure miss those days since my parents are both gone now. But, when we can, we get together and do it all over again!”

Briana Worley, CMA/mentor, Haury Place

“Every year on Christmas Eve, my family gets together and bakes and decorates the sugar cookies that we leave out for Santa. In the evening, my mom, siblings and I all open our surprise movie that my mom picks out every year for us to watch together while we drink hot chocolate on the couch.”

Krystal Duerksen, RN, Utz House

“We set a day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas as a family. The tree, the whole house, outside, etc.”

Melinda Ebersole, Director of Life Enrichment

“We have a large family and if we all get together there is easily over 100 people (and still growing). We get together for all holidays but Christmas Eve is the only holiday that my grandma expects everyone to be there. (If you don’t make it, you have an entire year trying to make it up to her). We have the best meal time and she makes the BEST ham loaf, zwieback rolls, homemade red candied pickles, graham cracker pudding and so much more. Once supper is done, some help with dishes, some keep the kids entertained and the others get current on how everyone is doing. Santa shows up and we have all the little kids get their gifts and of course get pictures. My grandma is up next. She opens all her gifts, Dr. Pepper, pictures of grandkids and great grandkids and money are just a few of her favorites. This is my favorite time of year. I love getting together with my family and seeing how all the kids have grown and just spending that time with the people I love.”

Gladys Conner, Life Enrichment, Haury Place

“Our family Christmas tradition is that we load up in the car and go look at Christmas lights and stop for hot cocoa. I now carry this on with my grandchildren.”

Lee Ann Carey, RN, Claassen House

“One of my favorite Christmas traditions with my family is to go out the day after Thanksgiving and choose a Christmas tree, take the tree home and decorate the tree and the house that day.”

Brittany Jaso, CMA/mentor, Claassen House

“My grandma makes homemade potato soup only once a year as she hates to cook but she makes THE BEST potato soup.”

Noelle Dickinson, Director of Marketing

“A favorite Christmas tradition for my family is making South Indian curry and rice for Christmas dinner. My dad grew up as a missionary kid in India, so we pull out the old worn recipe cards and honor those family memories with a meal we all love.”

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