Rockin’ around the C & G tree: Staffers share their holiday memories

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published December 11, 2017

 Amy Carlisle

Amy Carlisle

 Karen Bozimowski

Karen Bozimowski

 Tiffany Esshaki

Tiffany Esshaki

 Louise Millar

Louise Millar

 Sarah Wojcik

Sarah Wojcik

 David Wallace

David Wallace

By the C & G Staff

METRO DETROIT — We all know the core of any great holiday isn’t the meal on the table, the lights on the tree or the gifts underneath. It’s the memories made and remembered.

As the writers, artists and advertising staff come together to tell the meaningful Christmastime stories from our coverage area, we can’t help but think back on our own magical tales of holidays gone by.

Here, a few C & G employees share tidbits of their favorite yuletide memories. And we’d like to hear yours too: Head to the C & G Newspapers page on Facebook and tell us what holiday traditions meant the most to you growing up. 

 

“When my children were little and as they grew, once the Christmas tree went up, the elves would stop by every night and leave a little gift on the tree until Christmas Eve. I found small boxes that I could hang on the tree, and the elves would bring candy, small toys, jewelry and more so that each day there was a new surprise to open. It was a unique Countdown to Christmas that was memorable, and they really looked forward to it every day! Plus, it was fun for ‘the elves’ to find all of the small items to leave on the tree.”
— Linda Zublick, Marketing Coordinator

 

“Our first Christmas in America was spent on Omira Street in Detroit, 1968. A knock at the door; Mum said it was Father Christmas. We ran down the stairs with our pillowcases. Father Christmas didn’t look like we expected, and ‘Santa’ couldn’t understand our English accents. We all laughed. But the culture mashup is what Christmas is about: peace on Earth and goodwill to all men.”
— Louise Millar, Account Executive

 

“My family used to hike out to a tree farm and cut down a fresh tree each year, and in a family of six, somehow everyone always let me pick the tree. I took this very seriously. I believed I had some mystical power to find a tree that wanted me to find it. Once we got it home and in a stand, it would usually sit for a day or two before we got around to decorating it, and I always preferred it without decorations. I loved the smell of it and just the strangeness of having an actual tree in the living room. I felt like only I really understood the tree, and the tree knew it.”
— Annie Bates, Editor

 

“I got a beautiful cat for Christmas when I was 19 from an old girlfriend from a store named Scooby Doo Pet Store. His name was Fiesta and he lived to 18 years old. Gray/white spotted domestic short fur cat. Best Christmas present I have ever received.”
— Mark Reitenga, Account Executive

 

“Every holiday season I could count on a hopping Christmas Eve party, a visit to Santa Claus to share my wish list and a gorgeous tree with enough lights to hail a plane out of the sky.

“I think decorating the tree was my favorite part, complete with candy canes that usually served as antibiotic chasers to treat whatever winter bug I had caught at school. I have most of those classic ornaments on my tree today in my own home. The only difference is now the trimming process includes a glass of pinot noir instead of candy canes.”
— Tiffany Esshaki, Staff Writer, Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle

 

“Way back in the ’50s as a young boy, I always looked forward every year to my dad’s company Christmas party at the General Motors Proving Grounds.

“We would get to talk to Santa, and he handed us nice age-appropriate presents every year, right up until we turned 12 years old, when we all got watches. I got many nice big toy cars and trucks.  

“Now, most companies have cut back on those kind of family-friendly parties.”  
— Jack Padley, Classified Advertising Manager

 

“It was our Christmas tradition that nobody could go out and look at the tree with all the presents Christmas morning until everyone was up and we all looked at it together. So my brother and I would wake up super early and run and wake up my parents, and then we had to wait (and wait and wait for what seemed like forever when you’re a kid) until they got up and brushed their teeth and went to the bathroom, etc., and then we’d all go out together to be wowed by all the stuff under the tree. 

“I can still remember that magical feeling, so now I do the same thing with my son and I get to experience that feeling again.”
— Amy Carlisle, Advertising Sales

 

“Whenever I hear ‘Pretty Paper’ by Roy Orbison at Christmastime, it sends me right back to the late 1980s and a good chunk of the 1990s when I worked for Harmony House Records and Tapes at Macomb Mall in Roseville. 

“From the day after Thanksgiving up until New Year’s Day, it was time to rock ‘n’ roll. The store felt like a three-ring circus as determined shoppers scurried about and merchandise flew off the shelves. By the end of each night, the store would be trashed as just about everything was out of place. 

“I think one of my favorite holidays was the year we played the very first ‘A Very Special Christmas’ CD inside the store. That compilation had so many great songs: ‘Christmas in Hollis’ by Run-D.M.C., Bob Seger’s ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ Stevie Nicks performing ‘Silent Night’ and the Pretenders wishing all to ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’

“Those slinging-music-during-the-Christmas-rush days were so special and went by so fast; if only I could wrap up the memories in a glittery snow globe.” 
— Maria Allard, Staff Writer, Warren Weekly and Grosse Pointe Times 

 

“This was the year my cousins and I received matching sweatshirts with our names on them for Christmas. Our parents usually snapped a photo of the five of us lined up on the sofa each year. Today, we celebrate Christmas by creating a ‘man cave’ for those interested in smoking cigars and listening to classic rock in the garage, engaging in a spirited White Elephant gift exchange and eating lots of delicious homemade food, including Polish staples like kielbasa with horseradish and sledzie.”
— Sarah Wojcik, Staff Writer, Shelby-Utica News

 

“Exactly 30 years ago, during Christmas of 1987, my parents took this Polaroid of me in the Detroit Lions uniform and helmet they gave me, along with a Nerf football. The Lions would not draft Barry Sanders for another two years, so the No. 20 is for Billy Sims and Lem Barney. I’m still a fan, and I’m still waiting for a championship. “
— David Wallace, Editor

 

“Growing up, our family spent Christmas Day with our maternal grandmother and grandfather, and Christmas evening at our paternal grandfather’s home. That was big fun, with literally 25 cousins. December of 1965, my brother Jeff got the chickenpox two weeks before Christmas but recovered before the big day. Along with my brothers Gregg and Keith, I woke up Christmas morning with a fever, swollen glands and blisters all over. Although it was great getting my first transistor radio from Santa that year, the three of us stayed home Christmas night sick and itchy. Feeling better, my brother Jeff went with my dad to my grandfather’s with all the cousins. I will never forget that Christmas, and swore I would never forgive him.”
— Karen Bozimowski, C & G co-owner