The Holidays bring friends and family together, and for better or worse every year creates new, lasting memories. The unending avalanche of Christmas cookies in our office helped jar loose some great childhood memories from the TMG staff, so please enjoy this trip down memory lane. We hope everyone has an amazing holiday season with their loved ones, continuing old traditions and starting new ones.
Discovering that Santa had brought me a much-desired Barbie Dreamhouse … with a working elevator! Twenty years later, I still won’t let my parents throw it away!
—Christie Berardi, Director of Business Development, Brand Manager
My favorite memory was the year I was having doubts about Santa. My fourth grade class had recently read the Polar Express. I asked Santa for a golden jingle bell from his sleigh (just so I could be sure he was real). Lo and behold I received one that Christmas morning! I had no idea why my mom was so tired, but I remember talking about visiting every craft store in town.
—Terry Caber, Art Director
My favorite memories from childhood are playing hockey with my siblings and cousins in our backyard. Every year my father would build a hockey rink for us. Much to my mother’s dismay, he removed the rose garden to make the rink larger for us. Good move Dad.
—Blake Carbone, Brand Coordinator
We never had a fireplace at my parents’ house growing up, but we did have an old-fashioned white porcelain stove in our kitchen, stove pipe included. My mom always said Santa would come down the stovepipe to deliver the presents. So on Christmas Eve, we’d always make sure to leave the oven door open for him so he could get in the house.
—Lianne Coogan, Senior Art Director
The best gift I ever received had to be E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on VHS. I’m pretty sure I wore the tape out with the amount of times I watched it.
—Nate Hillabush, Graphic Designer
I used to love making Italian Christmas cookies with my grandmother as a child, but it’s been 13 years without her and 13 years of shipping cookies all over the country to family that couldn’t imagine a year without Cucidati, Biscotti con Ricotta, S Cookies, Spumoni Thumbprints and Anise cookies!
—Jennifer Houle, Brand Manager
My Dad’s side of the family is Canadian, so every year we take turns crossing the border to celebrate with them in Buffalo or Toronto. One year when I was about 12 we switched it up and we all met at the cottage. As we drove up late Christmas night the Northern Lights were on full display for the last few hours of the trip and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. I can’t think of winter or the holidays, and not remember that moment.
—Rob Hopkins, Senior Art Director
I always loved nerding out and gazing into the decorated Christmas tree, probably partly because we usually put it in a room that we never used. After we opened all the presents, I insisted on leaving my haul displayed under the tree for as long as long as possible, like a pirate displaying his booty. We would break after opening our stockings to eat Mom’s cinnamon rolls, and as the only child I always got the middle one, where all the magic is.
—John Jiloty, Social Media Manager
My favorite Christmas memory is the great lengths my dad would go to prove that Santa actually came — cookie crumbs by the tree, sleigh tracks and footprints in the snow and even half-chewed carrots from the reindeer.
—Shannon McCabe , Media Planner/Buyer
I would always look forward to Christmas shopping downtown with my mom and brother. We would take the #3 Grant Street bus right to Main Place Mall (it was very new back then), shop at Sattler’s, then on to AM&A’s, then Woolworths, then Hens & Kelly and finally Grants. Main Street was vibrant, so pretty with sparking Christmas decorations. It was perfect — I remember not wanting the day to end.
—Robin Needham, Associate Media Director
Starting the annual tradition of baking thousands of Christmas Cookies with my mother when I was about 10. We started one evening, and kept going all week and then we drove around and delivered cookies to all of our friends and family. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces encouraged us to keep going every year, bigger and better!
For a few years when I was a kid we adopted a family in need of a Christmas. My mother and I would go shopping for a whole list of items for the family in need and in doing so, my mother instilled in me at a young age what the holidays really meant. It was a rather large learning experience my mother shared with me as a young child that I understand more and more each year and has helped me realize that I am very lucky to have a family, and even more lucky to have a family who cares so much about other families.
—Kristen Perri, Senior Brand Manager
One of my favorite holiday traditions is attending church on Christmas Eve with my family and ending the service by lighting candles and singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” (It’s even better if there is a quiet snowfall outside while we sing.)
—Kelli Putney, Senior Vice President, Brand Strategist
Remember Underoos? I got a pair of Hulk Underoos from my aunt for Christmas. The most embarrassing thing was, #1 I was too old to get Underoos and, #2 I opened the gift in front of all my family.
—David J. Riley, Creative Director
One of my earliest childhood memories is returning home to Olean from my grandparents’ house in Salamanca on Christmas Eve. There was a full moon that night and my dad said to look up quick to see Santa and his reindeer. Half asleep in the back seat, I was too late to see them; but I believed!
—Dick Shaner, Jr. , Senior Vice President, Public Relations
My 10-speed bike sitting in front of the Christmas tree!
—Lisa Strock, Senior Vice President, Client Services
One of my favorite holiday childhood memories is wanting a Cabbage Patch Doll and they were all sold out and were the hot item that year. My parents told me I most likely was not going to receive my Cabbage Patch Doll for Christmas. On Christmas Eve at my Auntie Rita’s and Uncles Ronnie’s house, my cousin Roseann and I did get our Cabbage Patch Dolls. We were so super lucky and felt so so special.
—Alena Thomson, Senior Traffic Manager
When I was very little, our Christmas tree was never lit and decorated until Christmas morning. That’s how we knew Santa had been to the house. I loved seeing the reflection of lights on the wall beside the stairs, then I knew it really was Christmas! My Mom and Dad would stay up very late the night before, decorating and wrapping presents. I do remember hearing laughing and whispering one year, very late. But I didn’t dare peek downstairs to see what was going on. That was one of my favorite memories, hearing them laughing (and obviously wrapping gifts for the next day).
—Sue White, Production Design