MMS staff shares their favorite holiday memories and traditions

MMS staff shares their favorite holiday memories and traditions

Hailey Inmon, Staff Writer

The holidays are in the air! Hanukkah recently finished, and Christmas is just weeks away. It is time for family gatherings, good food, and cheer! And, of course, presents!

During the holidays, many people spend time with their families, travel, and have large meals. Though most people would say the holidays are used to relax, be with loved ones, and celebrate giving, traditions are unique to each family. 

Some common holiday traditions include decorating a Christmas tree, lighting a Menorah, watching holiday movies, and even leaving stockings and cookies out for Santa Claus.

Another beloved tradition involves the Elf on the Shelf. Mrs. Saunders and Mr. Yas both enjoy the Elf on the Shelf tradition. Mrs. Saunders loves watching her kids excitedly find the elf each morning.  Mr. Yas has an elf named Clyde. “It’s not an elf-y name, but that’s what it is,” Mr. Yas laughed.

This is a collection of toys that Mrs. Mayer’s family has made over the past 7 years at Lake Farm Park’s “Country Lights.”

Just as Elf on the Shelf often makes its appearance just after Thanksgiving, many staff said they begin their holiday festivities at that time as well. Mrs. Mayer’s family goes to Lake Farm Park every year to attend the “Country Lights Festival.” They’ve gone every year since her oldest daughter was eight months old. Mrs. Mayer’s three children enjoy picking out which toy to create with the elves, and then decorating it and making it sparkle to be their own.  “We look forward to getting these toys out year after year…and now they often wonder why they painted things they way that they did, such as a rainbow-colored snowman.”

Mrs. Mayer’s family also has a tradition of searching for and cutting down a live tree.  They get coffee before they go, take their dog, and enjoy the adventure of finding the perfect tree. “This year, it was a muddy mess at the farm…and we had many giggles (and struggles) to trek through the mud and yuck,” she said. 

Cutting down a tree is also a tradition for Mr. Face and his family.  After they cut it down, they decorate it then watch Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. “It is still one if my favorite holiday shows,” said Mr. Face.



Many families celebrate on Christmas Eve. Mrs. Saunders started a tradition of “Christmas Eve boxes” with her kids.  It’s the only box they open on Christmas Eve and contains fun activities to do that night as a family.  They might include pajamas, movies, books, crafts, snacks, or games.  

Mrs. Zanella goes to the mall with loved ones to see Santa on Christmas Eve.  Mrs. Kerr always goes to church on Christmas Eve after a family dinner.

For Mr. Stephens, opening gifts with his family on Christmas Eve is his favorite part of the holidays. 

Mr. Stephens and his family.
Mrs. Zanella’s sons at the Mayfield Education Association Toy Drive










For many families, holiday traditions are closely tied to food. For Mrs. Zanella, Christmas means an all-fish meal–an Italian tradition.  Her favorites are shrimp and calamari.  Mr. Destino, the principal at MMS, likes simple spaghetti and meatballs for his holiday; Mr. Yas, on the other hand, likes pasta with calamari.

Mrs. Hastings, an eighth-grade teacher on team Hele, Mrs. Halsey, a sixth-grade teacher on team All Star, and Mr. Newsome, a sixth-grade teacher on team Trailblazer, all chose stuffing as their favorite holiday foods. Mr. Newsome, however, enjoys topping his stuffing with gravy.

Mrs. Saunders enjoys her mother’s cheesy potato casserole, with “shmelty” cheese, sour cream, and crunchy, buttery, corn flakes on top. “I could put down a good half pan of that!” she exclaimed.  

Mrs. Kerr, administrative assistant, said that her favorite food was mashed potatoes. For Mr. Latine, who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, his favorite food is potato gnocchi.

Though traditions are an important part of the holidays, some staff are most looking forward to doing something new this year.  This year, Mrs. Halsey is going to New Hampshire with her family to visit her husband’s family; then they will head to Boston.

Mrs. Hastings is looking forward to taking her kids to Disney World this year. It will be there first time.

“I was not like most screaming toddlers, I loved Santa!” -Mrs. McGarry, STEM teacher.

This year, Mr. Newsome is looking forward to his daughter coming home from college. They plan to take a trip to D.C. together.

As people look forward to creating new memories in the upcoming holiday season, they also enjoy reminiscing about seasons’ past.

Mr. Newsome recalled, “When I was growing up, I had five brothers and sisters. On Christmas Eve we always went to my Aunt Betty’s house for a traditional Christmas Eve dinner. We’d always open presents!”

Mrs. Hastings remembered, “When I was little, my grandpa came to our holiday party dressed as Santa. I thought the REAL Santa came to my house, until I was older and looked back at the photos. I recognized my Grandpa, and realized I didn’t actually get visited by the Santa Claus!”

When Mr. Yas was little, he loved wrestling. One year, he got wrestling figurines and he loved them. “I would play with them on Saturdays while watching WWE on the TV. It was awesome!” he said.

Whether past or present, people’s memories all tend to revolve around giving and family.  The recurring message was that staff are excited for uninterrupted time to enjoy their loved ones.  Mrs. Wright, guidance counselor, is looking forward to spending the holidays with her fiance. In addition, Mrs. Marrotte is excited to spend time with her family, especially those whom she doesn’t get to see as often as she’d like.

For Mr. Latine, his favorite thing about the holidays is just the spirit of it.  He loves seeing people “in mostly a good mood” during the holiday season. For the holidays, he has friends over “who don’t have any family, or their family has passed away.”  

Whether one celebrates Hanukkah or Christmas, eats take out or a large traditional feast, spends the days leading up to holidays doing last minute shopping or watching Hallmark movies, or celebrates around a live or artificial tree, may the memories be happy ones and spent with the people one loves the most.