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A holiday tradition

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com
photos by Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal
ALL |

Whether you find yourself waking slowly to the sound of quail calling outside your window, or abruptly by children eager to tear into their packages, Christmas morning is traditionally a time steeped in memories.

Kathleen and Mac McAdoo of Minden remember how, when their children were small, they would wake their parents before sunrise on Christmas. These days, the McAdoos are able to enjoy a little extra sleep.

“With adult children, even our 12-year-old grandson sleeps in, and we’re waiting out for them,” said Kathleen.

Mac said what’s most important is spending time with family, since theirs is spread out among Los Angeles, Phoenix and the Bay Area.

“Just being together is what it’s about,” he said. “This year, we’ll have our Sacramento daughter and our grandson from Phoenix,” he said.

Kathleen said she looks forward to the cinnamon rolls her husband makes from scratch every Christmas morning, but she also remembers the days when they used to prepare elaborate Christmas Eve dinners with up to 30 family members and friends.

As a child, she said, her family would stay at her grandparents’ house.

“We’d have to wake them up, and everything would be in disarray after opening the presents. The cat and dog would jump into all the wrapping paper, and after breakfast, we’d have the big cleanup,” she said.

For Carson City’s Julie Ruf – co-owner with her husband, David, of Greenhouse Garden Center – it was always an early-morning awakening with the kids.

“They’d run in as early as they could and drag us out in our robes, or they’d sit and wait by the tree, and maybe shake the presents. Then they’d wait until I’d had my tea, and we’d make a nice big ham-and-cheese quiche with German stollen bread,” she said.

Ruf said Christmas has always been meaningful to her because it was the day Jesus was born.

Other traditions include hide the pickle.

“It’s a fun tradition where the first kid that finds it gets a special present,” she said.

This year, Ruf and her husband are going to mark the day by watering their trees and shrubs.

“The lawn is dormant, so you don’t have to worry about that,” she said, “but everyone should think about watering, because it has been so dry this year.”

Carson City’s Janet Snipes’ two sons and three granddaughters live at Tahoe, so she tries to spend Christmas with them each year.

“We have our coffee, then open the gifts, and then have mimosas – we do it up right – and then we start our preparations for the big meal around 4,” she said.

Snipes said Christmas is special to her because of Jesus’ birth and because of all the memories of past Christmases.

“I’m also thankful for my good health and that I’m not homeless,” she said.

Kathleen Plante of Carson City, was doing a little last-minute shopping Saturday with her sister-in-law Faye Esswein and daughters Rachael, 22, and Amanda, 24.

“On Christmas morning, we usually sit down to breakfast with a Christmas stollen using my husband’s mother’s recipe. We have a lot of German food traditions. We had German cookies last night. And we have an amalgam of Christmas Eve dishes like codfish cakes, Thai coleslaw and stuffed eggs coming from several generations, their dad’s apple and pumpkin pies and more German cookies,” Plante said.

After breakfast, depending on the weather, they like to take a brisk walk on Christmas morning.

Judy Wright of Carson City says Christmas mornings usually involve food.

“We make waffles and mimosas and fruit – grapes or strawberries,” she said.

And since she has grown children, the family adopted a new tradition eight or nine years ago: “Our children suggested that rather than buy gifts for each other, we take turns donating to a charity,” Wright said.

“This year was my turn,” she said, “so I donated to Carson City’s Community Pregnancy Center. Doing something like this really gives you the Christmas spirit.”