The holiday spirit is infectious! And the best part of being part of a diverse team is sharing that joy and finding out about everyone’s holiday traditions. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day, St. Lucia Day or Festivus, the Chateau 20 team wishes you peace, joy, love, and prosperity.
Happy Holidays from the Chateau 20 team:
- Karen White, Founder and CEO
- Nina Merikan, CFO
- Brandie Feuer, Director of Strategy
- Lisa Riolo, VP of Operations and Special Projects
- Chris Park, Partner Relationship Manager
- Tiffany Ponds-Kimbro, Publisher Development Manager
- Aaron Yeh, Digital Media Manager
- Ashley Holyoak, Publisher Development Manager
We won’t tell you who on the Chateau 20 team has been naughty or nice, but you can find out who loves fruitcake (and their recipe). And learn what we love about the holidays.
Best holiday gift you’ve received?
Karen – So, I am dating myself here, but the best gift ever was my Atari Pong Game, circa 1972. I was one of the first kids on the block to have one, and I recall playing with it for hours. Back and forth, back and forth. Good times.
Brandie – I love unique gifts. One year my Grandpa made me a stained glass jewelry box that I will always treasure.
Lisa – My love of gadgets started at age 12 when I received Simon, the electronic memory game. I loved that gift so much and have embraced gadgets ever since. Honestly, though, I genuinely like giving more. I love finding something that is appreciated.
Chris – Recently, I’d have to say my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. I use it all the time!
Tiffany – There were two. My great-grandparents bought me a globe one year and I spent hours with it, learning the countries and capitals – thinking and dreaming about where I’d go and the people I’d see there. It helped give me a bigger scope than Cleveland, Ohio. I wanted to see it all and I still do. I also remember getting a Barbie makeup set when I was around 8 (1982). The best part was taking it to a sleepover/birthday party where all of us did makeovers, in baby pink and sky blue eyeshadow. It was hilarious.
Aaron – It was my wife agreeing to marry me. I asked her on a Christmas Day.
Ashley – I’ve had so many great gifts that I can’t really say which has been the best. But if I had to pick, I would say that my favorite gifts are candles. I can’t get enough!
Worst holiday gift you’ve received?
Karen – My mother once wrapped up a box of rocks in the prettiest big box under the tree as a gag gift.
Brandie – Anything you receive in a White Elephant Exchange is usually the worst.
Lisa – I got back a gift I gave one year later from a friend. It kinda crushed me because I realized that a) I gave a gift that wasn’t a good fit and b) it was so bad my friend didn’t remember I was the original giver.
Chris – The worst gift was something I REALLY wanted. When I was young, I wanted these bouncing shoes. This must have been before toy safety was a consideration. Each shoe was giant metal springs sandwiched between 2 pieces of tin. You strapped them to your feet and were supposed to be able to bounce to incredible heights. I sprained an ankle after about 40 seconds and got several “told you so’s” from my parents.
Tiffany – I don’t really remember any holiday gifts as bad, honestly.
Aaron – A tub of squid jerky from my Chinese grandma. Gross!
Ashley – Last year, just before Christmas, my 7-year-old nephew passed away after suffering from a brain tumor since birth. It’s one of those things that is horrible no matter the time of year, but because it happened during the holiday made it a bit tougher for everyone.
Favorite holiday tradition?
Karen – Christmas Eve is all about food prep for my family. But after all the food prep is done, we all head out to Big Lots to pick up the half-off Christmas ornaments for the next year. After that, we usually sit around laughing and talking and sipping Egg Nog. Nina and I still honor this tradition every year. We have been doing this for 30+ years.
Brandie – Home for the holidays.
Lisa – Holiday music runs a close second to (almost a tie with) the lights and decorations. But my favorite family tradition is that my immediate family gathers on Christmas Eve for Antipasti (all appetizers).
Chris – When my boys were little, I always got up before they did and made cinnamon buns. Once they got up, we waited for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive and then they tore into the presents.
Tiffany – My favorite holiday tradition is The Nutcracker. My mom and I went every year. I could dance the thing if I had to. It was an entire event. We dressed up and we would take the train downtown to Playhouse Square, which was beautiful. When I moved to Las Vegas I went to see it at the Smith Center, but it’s just not the same without her and a very heavy coat.
Aaron – Matching pajamas for the whole family. We open them with the stockings on Christmas Eve so everyone matches for presents on Christmas Day. It’s adorably dorky!
Ashley – On Christmas Eve all of my relatives on my Mom’s side get together at one house (usually my Aunt’s home) for Christmas dinner. All of the kids play together, the adults laugh about old memories, then as it gets later we all sprawl out on the floor to watch movies until Santa comes.
How you give back during the holidays?
Karen – Giving back is one of the most important things to me and my family during the holidays. It used to be numerous turkey and ham giveaways that we would hand deliver for those in need of a helping hand. But the last three years, Nina and I usually find a family to adopt. We make sure that all the kids get the toys on their wish list, and we purchase gift cards at the grocery store to help out with their dinner. This year we are buying toys for kids in children’s services. There is a wish tree at my place, and each resident can pick a kids name off the tree that lists what they want for the holidays.
Brandie – I support Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth during the holidays. It’s easy to give back through their Amazon Wishlist.
Lisa – I donate throughout the year. And then around the holidays I do more spontaneous generosity -meaning bigger tips for service providers etc. Also I focus more on local organizations at this time of the year.
Chris – My wife Shelley and I donate to the Salvation Army food pantry.
Tiffany – I should do more, but I like to volunteer at my church.
Aaron – By preparing care packages for troops deployed overseas. My favorite memory of this was in 2013, my entire organization donated items and we ended up making and filling 49 stockings for an entire platoon. It was amazing.
Ashley – We normally donate gifts to Toys For Tots.
What’s on your holiday wish list?
Karen – Picture Frames. To please, please NOT let me overeat. And a cruise vacation.
Brandie – Apple TV, Build Your Own Robot.
Lisa – I was not kidding when I told my family my only wish is for rain. Seriously. My area (Ventura, CA) did not get relief from drought conditions with the early 2017 rains. Now with the fires… well, I’m just asking for mudslides. So, maybe I need to rethink. On a personal front, I really don’t want anything. I’ll just be happy with spending time with family and friends.
Chris – I really don’t have much on my list. My birthday was on Black Friday, so I already got most of what I needed/wanted.
Tiffany – I’d love an espresso machine or a trip abroad (Prague or Vienna), but I don’t need any more “things”. Like, at all!
Aaron – For my kids to stop growing up so dang fast. Holiday pajamas that I don’t feel dumb wearing year round (looking at you, 2016 Santa and candy canes). And a new coffee pot (coffee is life).
Ashley – A new laptop, my kids’ happiness, and for everyone to experience peace and love.
It’s just not the holidays without _____.
Karen – Coquito
Brandie – Grandpa’s Christmas cookies.
Lisa – Sparkling white lights in the town centers.
Chris – Family.
Tiffany – SNOW. Damn it!
Aaron – Pumpkin spice everything!
Ashley – Christmas lights!
Eggnog or fruitcake?
Karen – BOTH!! I am getting everyone fruitcake for the holidays. I found my recipe.
Brandie – Never had either.
Lisa – If the eggnog is added to my latte, then eggnog. If the fruitcake is freshly baked and full of spice, fruitcake.
Chris – Neither.
Tiffany – Eggnog.
Aaron – Eggnog is a billion times better than fruitcake.
Ashley – Eggnog. Never tried fruitcake.
Are you a regifter?
Karen – Yes. Pretty sure I have done a few, like a crystal clock and other houseware items which were not of my taste.
Brandie – I regift a lot of vendor chachkies as stocking stuffers for family. They love them!
Lisa – Nope.
Chris – Yep. Typically gift cards.
Tiffany – No.
Aaron – Nope. Not even once!
Ashley – Yes, I have regifted! I received a bath set one year that, in my opinion, didn’t smell too good, so I gave it to my younger sister.
Favorite holiday movie?
Karen – Love Actually is my new favorite, with It’s a Wonderful Life coming in second.
Brandie – The Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. It’s 60 days of cheesy Christmas movies.
Lisa – By far my favorite full-length movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I absolutely love the one scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase flips on the holiday lights and causes an power outage for the entire town. That made me laugh so hard I cried.
Chris – A Christmas Story. Christmas Vacation. It’s a Wonderful Life.
Tiffany – It’s a toss up between White Christmas and Home Alone. They’re so similar, right?
Aaron – Die Hard. It’s A Wonderful Life is a very close second.
Ashley – Christmas Vacation. Every year my family gets together on Christmas Eve to watch movies and spend time together, and this movie is always a staple that everyone loves!
Rate your holiday spirit from 1 (a Grinch) to 10 (last name might be Claus)
Karen – My middle name is Grinch during the holiday season. Having lost both parents, it takes me longer to get in the mood. Giving to others has certainly helped, but I am still a big fat 1 until about 12/23 with my sister pulling me along kicking and screaming.
Brandie – Does being excited about a full week of vacation count as a 10?!
Lisa – I pretend to be more Grinch like than I am. I am a solid 6 with moments of 8. I act like a 2.
Chris – This year? Probably a 3, but hopefully it will improve as we get closer to the holiday.
Tiffany – Most years I’m about an 8. This year I’m holding at a 4 so far – sliding slowly into Grinch territory where I have NEVER before dwelt.
Aaron – I am a natural 2 who has successfully learned how to be a 5. Kids change everything!
Ashley – I would say an 8. Mid-November is when the holidays begin. I love Christmas music, even though my husband refuses to listen to it until two weeks before Christmas.