Holidays are a time when everyone’s traditions shine. Whether it’s gathering with loved ones or cooking up a holiday feast, we reached out to our Kromer Country family to hear about the holiday traditions close to their hearts.

Santa's Footprints - Jeff Rabidoux

As the father of two daughters, I carried on a tradition that my father started when I was a child. After the Christmas Eve fire in the fireplace had cooled and those “no batteries included” and “some assembly required” presents were done, I would lift the log grate and lean it against the back of the fireplace. I would carefully make footprints in the ashes and “walk” the boots, by holding them in my hands, across the carpeting in front of the fireplace hearth, leaving Santa tracks toward the Christmas Tree. I’ll always remember my girl’s faces as they saw this proof of the jolly ‘ol elf. I have continued to do it for my grandkids, though their brand-new home has a gas fireplace, so Papa might have to come up with something new to keep the Santa spirit alive.

Childlike Wonder - Rob Meendering

Childhood memories of the holidays are something I truly cherish. I was always the first to awake and would make my way down the hall and into the living room. Sitting on the floor at the base of the tree as the sparkle of the lights and ornaments filled the room. Eyes filled with wonder and anticipation. I can still feel the green shag carpet beneath me, smell the pine of the Christmas Tree and hear the winter winds as they blow down the gravel road outside. The quiet stillness inside would be broken when my Mom would awake and put Elvis’ Blue Christmas on the record console. No fireplace to be had in our cozy little home so the crackle of the fire would be replaced by the crackle of vinyl. Soon my sisters would join me. The three of us in our pajamas sitting cross-legged just waiting for the magical day to unfold. The hours to follow would be filled with music, gifts, food, family and navigating snow-covered roads in the old station wagon. Christmas, in many ways, is different now but I still make time to sit in silence and embrace the warm glow of the tree, holding dear the memories of each holiday season.

Thanksgiving Hunting - Jack Schroeder

My favorite holiday tradition is deer hunting on Thanksgiving morning. I love hunting and being in the outdoors but I also love my family, and when we all go out hunting on Thanksgiving morning we get together after and talk about what everyone saw that morning or if someone was lucky enough to get a deer. It’s the perfect combination of family and the outdoors.

Winter Wonderland - McKeon Hugh Roberts

We usually have a skim of snow where we celebrate and Thanksgiving typically signifies getting out on the first of the frozen lakes for ice fishing or skating. By Christmas, it’s full-on winter with lots of snow and ice fishing. Then, go back inside, being cozy and catching up with the ones you care for most.

New Adventures Close to Home- Heidi Eitreim

We are building a backyard ice rink in our yard this year.  It’s turning out to be one giant winter experiment with making sure the grading is just right, reinforcing the 2×12′ sides without the help of snow (which we thought we’d have by now), and getting the layers of water to freeze smoothly.  If it all comes together, the goal is to have created a wonderful outdoor spot to share with friends and family throughout this holiday season.  Spending quality time together is such a gift!

Tradition built over time enriches each moment of our lives. We love to hear what the holidays mean to the members of Kromer Country and how each of you bring it to life. No two holiday celebrations are alike, but it’s the commonality of having unique quirks and our special traditions that give us a sense of togetherness. We always want to hear more and if you have a story to share, let us know here.

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