Gift exchange with the family? A trip to another country? Volunteering in the community? The holidays mean something different to everyone, and the way each person celebrates ranges from simply laid back to extravagantly sentimental.

So how do you celebrate the season? Let us know by commenting!

In the meantime, here’s a little glimpse of how we celebrate the holidays with our families and friends.

Chuck Ruiz, Executive Vice President

Chuck Ruiz, executive vice presidentThe holiday season is always a special time of the year for visiting and celebrating with family and friends. This year my side of the family and my wife’s side will all be sharing Christmas and the New Year together. The days and nights will be filled with laughter, concurrent conversations that far exceed acceptable decibel levels for normal communication, eating way more food than necessary just because, and the slight possibility of a relaxing movie night by the fire (right).

In following Ruiz family tradition, my wife, Robyn, enjoys kicking off the holiday season with a nice dinner and theater in Detroit with our kids, Julianne and Stephen. However, this year will be different. My kids convinced mom that a casual dinner and a Red Wing game would be a good change of pace. Sounds fantastic to me. Could this be the start of a new family tradition?

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season and prosperous New Year!

Mike Zainea, Chief Strategist

Mike Zainea, chief strategistI was raised with one sister and five brothers who are now scattered around the state with very active schedules and lifestyles, so it was hard to gather the entire family for a celebration.

Since 2005, each year we celebrate the Zainea Family Christmas Party, hosted by a family member, two weeks prior to Dec. 25.  That includes my father (my mother passed in 2008), the six children, six spouses, 13 grandkids and their spouses, and two great grandchildren, as well as very close aunts and uncles.

Certain years well over 45 people came together to celebrate Christmas, remember and share wonderful stories of our mother (and to some grandmother), and truly reconnect as families must.

It has become a “must-attend” celebration.

Agatha Bayones, Brand and Digital Marketing Manager

Agatha Bayones, Brand and Digital Marketing Manager in Michigan

Holidays, to me, are all about keeping my family’s Polish heritage alive. Each year, my husband and I join my parents in a full day of pierogi-making, which has, in some years, produced up to 300 of these Polish potato-filled dumplings!

My dad, who comes from a family of Polish bakers, works on creating and perfecting the dough while I work with my mom on blending the perfect mix of potatoes, farmers cheese, and (secret ingredient goes here!) for the filling. My husband, Bill, hand rolls and cuts out the little pierogi dough circles, and then we all stuff them together, working like a well-oiled machine.

By the end of this long but gratifying day, we are covered in flour and feel as if we have carpal tunnel syndrome. But the upside? All our closest friends and family share a little taste of Poland with us during the holidays.

Kelly Cedroni, Director of Projects

Kelly Cedroni, director of projects for the Basso Design Group digital agency in Troy, MichiganAgatha and I will start a new tradition of making pierogies together before the holidays!

Otherwise, my husband and I start by celebrating our doggies’ birthdays (a couple days before Christmas), and then spend three days bouncing around to visit our families. We’re fortunate to get to see loved ones from out-of-town while also experiencing the joys of watching my younger sisters-in-law (5 and 13) experience holiday traditions like baking cookies, decorating the tree, and building snowpeople.

The holidays are all about experiences that make lasting memories. As a child I have fond memories of picking the perfect Christmas tree at my grandma’s tree farm. As an adult, I’m fortunate that my husband, Cameron, shares my belief that experiences are more meaningful than more stuff.  Whether it’s ice skating, visiting the zoo lights, or seeing a holiday play, ballet, or opera, we like to do something special instead of exchanging gifts. Having memories and photos to look back on means more to us than the latest electronics or clothes.

Amanda Lalama, Lead Designer

Amanda Lalama, lead designerOur celebration starts with Thanksgiving in Cheboygan with my grandpa.

My husband, Joe, our 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Mila, and I then decorate the Christmas tree a week after Thanksgiving. Taking Mila to see Santa at the mall has been a highlight of our season for the past two years.

We spend Christmas Eve with my in-laws, enjoying a big meal and exchanging gifts. The celebration with my husband’s family continues with Christmas Day breakfast, mimosas included of course.

We also hold an annual Secret Santa gift exchange with my sister and brothers-in-law.

Hlee Yang, Designer

Hlee Yang, designerIt’s a fun tradition for me to find a new recipe to cook for the family on Thanksgiving, and my husband, Pao, and I spend the holidays with both sides of our family. I enjoy buying gifts for the family, sharing quality time with the people I love, and staying warm while it’s cold out.

 

Katelyn Kerns, Digital Marketing Specialist

Katelyn Kerns, digital marketing specialistWe go out to the movies together as a family on Christmas Eve. With a somewhat large family (nine people total with significant others), it’s a rare occasion that we can all go to the movie theater together. This year my mom wants to see the Ruth Bader Ginsburg movie “On the Basis of Sex.” Last year we saw “Coco,” and the fact that the youngest one of us is 18 didn’t stop us from enjoying every minute of this full-length cartoon.

I love all of the cookies and good food the most. My dad will usually make a ham for Christmas “dinner,” which we usually start devouring at around noon.

Lena Khzouz, Content Writer

Lena Khzouz, content writerEvery weekend is a party at my parents’ house, but for Christmas Eve, we go all out. We all look forward to it for weeks.

Our Thanksgiving evening includes drawing names out of a hat for our gift exchange, and the simple act of picking names has become a fun tradition.  During the annual Christmas Eve party, we munch on an incredible amount of finger foods, salads, and desserts in between dancing for hours, playing games, and welcoming Santa into our home to present gifts to the younger children. The adults and children then open the Secret Santa gifts at midnight while playfully teasing each other about who each person picked.

On Christmas Day, we welcome more distant family members who stop in to wish us a Merry Christmas and also head out to visit relatives we haven’t seen in a while.

Then we celebrate all over again on New Year’s Eve, and maybe New Year’s Day if we have the strength.

Chris Marabate, Developer

Chris Marabate, website developerI’ll be spending the holiday with my family. We play white elephant every year. What I love most about the holidays is getting and giving a bunch of stuff you want but don’t need.

 

 

Meghan Steingold, Social Media Specialist

Meghan Steingold, social media specialistThis season is basically just the best time of year, and I can finally listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas Is You” as much as I want.

I’m a holiday hybrid, so I’ve got Hannukah, Christmas, and then my birthday …  all jammed into one month.

As the cliche goes, it’s a great time to get together with family and friends – but this reigns true in that I get to see everyone.

However, being as movie-crazed as I am, my favorite part of this time of year are all of the great films and holiday-themed episodes of my favorite shows that I binge. Starting on Thanksgiving, I (and whichever willing candidate I’m with) make it a point to hit every staple holiday movie before Dec. 25 (obviously watching “Elf” a minimum of seven times). I love the festive nature of these movies and cozying up with a hot chocolate and my basset hound. My holiday movie marathon lasts all the way through until the end of Dec. 25 with “A Christmas Story” playing all day on TNT and possibly every Disney Pixar movie on the other channels.

Happy holidays and may your movie-watching season be warm and lazy!

Meagan Welsh, Digital Marketing Assistant

Meagan Welsh, digital marketing assistantEvery winter holiday I like to go to Florida to see my family. I am grateful to be able to see people I care about who I don’t get to see often.

 

However you celebrate the season, we wish you warmth and happiness. From our BDG family to yours, have a safe and joyful holiday season!

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