Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

Tis the season to be Jolly

by Donna Auvil

It’s that time of year again; it’s time to celebrate for the holidays.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza (or in some families – all 3!), it’s time to decorate, buy gifts, bake cookies, get together with friends and family and so much more!  I thought it would be nice to share how members of the Administration and Finance Division celebrate their holiday season and to see what kind of traditions they have carried on over the years.

Susan Brown, Sr. Event Manager for Events and Conference Services, shared that her son would read “The Polar Express” on Christmas Eve to all that were at her house that night.  He loved reading this book to others and did it every year until he became a teenager.  Her son is now a freshman at Towson – maybe he’ll read it to his friends this year!

Eric VanLieshout, Communications Assistant for A&F, has a unique tradition.  Because his father is first generation Dutch (Holland, not Germany), his family celebrates “Dutch Christmas”.  On December 5, Eric and his brother would place a wooden shoe on their front porch for St. Nicholas to fill.  In the morning, St. Nicholas would leave a bar of Dutch chocolate in each shoe!  (I think I’m going to try this myself this year – I love chocolate!)  Even though Eric and his brother no longer live at home, they still have their wooden shoes and use them to decorate their homes in December.

Many families simply enjoy spending Christmas Day together.  Tobi Bennett, Facilities Management, goes to church on Christmas Eve and spends the night with her family.  Come Christmas morning, they stay in their PJs all day long and just enjoy each other’s company!

Dana Hall, Parking Services, celebrates the children on Christmas Eve at the family home.  Cousins, grandchildren and great grandchildren each receive large holiday bags filled with gifts.  They play games, enjoy great food (obviously including homemade Christmas Cookies and eggnog!), and sing Christmas carols.  Her family also makes sure that they donate to Toys for Tots and collect money to feed a local family each year!

Angie Hall, University Budget Office, packs the family up in the car on Christmas Eve and drives to the District of Columbia to visit the National Christmas tree.  They enjoy seeing the trees that represent all 50 states and the five territories.  After a trip to the US Capital, they return to a family friend’s house for a Christmas Eve gift exchange!

Sherry McKendry, Human Resources, has carried on a tradition for over 40 years!  When her children were little, they were sad to see their Christmas tree out on the sidewalk waiting for the trash collection.   Instead of letting them think about the tree being chopped up for mulch, Sherry told her children that the tree was “going back to the woods” and that they would get the same tree next year.  The family has named the tree “Timothy” and heads out each year to find the same tree.  The youngest child hugs the trees at the volunteer fire company and the one that hugs back is Timothy!  Timothy is a legend in Sherry’s house and receives Christmas cards and “branch” hello handshakes by visitors to their home each year!

Over the years, my family traditions have changed as our family has grown and spread out.  But the holiday is about family and we make sure that we spend it together.

Christmas Eve is at my house.  After Mass, we enjoy homemade pizza and some adult beverages.  The nieces and nephews open their gifts from their aunts and uncles so that we don’t take away from Christmas morning gifts from “Santa,” mom and dad and the grandparents.  My family celebrates twice on Christmas day – once with my parents in the early afternoon and then once later in the day with my husband’s family.  It’s a long day filled with family, food and fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about the traditions of your A&F co-workers.  May your holiday season be blessed with health, happiness and family!

2 Responses to “Tis the season to be Jolly”

  1. Mary Pat Pfeifer


    What a great idea. I enjoyed all the stories.

    Mary Pat

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