Anne Conroy-Baiter

President, Junior Achievement of the Space Coast

Pictured with daughters Rowan,Trinity and Pallasgrean

Rowan, Trinity, Pallasgrean and I moved here from New York state three years ago, and like many northerners, we struggled to find our tropical holiday footing. In New York, we lived in my family’s 152-year-old homestead—a perfect Christmas house with huge 16-pane windows to watch the snow fall on cozy nights with hot cocoa. It was Hallmark Christmas movie material. In keeping with homestead traditions, a large part of our holiday traditions revolved around dragging in the largest tree that would fit in the house, sending out a holiday card made from one of my paintings, and hand making most of our decorations together. We made paper chains, garlands, snowflakes and stars mostly out of white paper, stringing them from corner to corner, lit up by strings of white lights. Much to our surprise, we found out that those white paper decorations and white lights translate perfectly to beachy interiors and we realized we didn’t need to change our traditions all that much.

This year’s plans include large-scale paper poinsettias and three-dimensional stars. The tree? Well, after one disastrous live tree which took joy in shedding showers of needles whenever I entered the room, we’ve traded our live tree for multiple ‘pretend’ trees in different sizes. And my holiday paintings have converted from scenes of snowy sledding to scenes of Christmas parade boats. We’ve done our best to prove that the north doesn’t corner the market
on cozy.

Robert Jordan Jr.

Chairman, President & CEO Genesis VII, Inc

Pictured with daughter Kristina; wife Karen; daughter-in-law, Olivia and son Robert III

We cherish our son and daughter, our parents, siblings, extended family and friends we have been blessed to have in our lives. Our family holiday gatherings are not much different from most families in that we also do certain traditional things every year during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. 

Until our children became adults, for many years we would pile in the car with our luggage and watering mouths, anticipating the taste of each of our mothers’ holiday meals, and head to Georgia for a few days to enjoy Thanksgiving with family. We now re-create our own Thanksgiving tradition in Titusville, sometimes only including family, and other times, old and new friends alike. The ladies are usually in the kitchen preparing for the festivities, while the guys are outside bantering and watching the smoke rise from both the BBQ grill and the football field as they watch their favorite teams play.

Then comes the spread of turkey, BBQ ribs and chicken, ham, macaroni, baked beans, salads, rolls, green bean casserole, brown rice and collard greens.  Of course, such a meal must be topped off with sweet potato pie, apple pie, chocolate cake and antacid pills…which, hopefully, were taken prior to
the gluttony!   

Our Christmas traditions take on a whole other dimension as we look forward to shopping for gifts for family and friends, and then heading to Georgia for the holiday. We always take time out as a family to reflect on the “real reason for the season,” the birth of Christ, to count our many blessings and to remember that no matter how hurried the season, we are to also be a blessing by giving to others less fortunate than ourselves.

Karen Kicinski

Marketing Director of Lifestyle Homes

Pictured with husband Chris and son Brooks

Because of our busy schedules, in years past Chris and I have let Christmas fly under the radar. We’d usually hang a few decorations and spend Christmas day with our families. But in our household, the holidays came and went without much fuss.

That’s going to change this year, however, now that our son, Brooks, is two. The holidays will take on a whole new light for us. This will be Brooks’ third Christmas, but it’s the first year that he’ll understand what it’s all about, and we can’t wait to share
his excitement.

I just know he’ll be elated to meet Santa. Last year, he was afraid of him and had a meltdown on his lap, and the year prior, at three months old, he fell asleep in Santa’s arms.

So, this year we’re eager to start new holiday traditions. We’re looking forward to picking out a tree together, reading Christmas stories, watching Christmas movies, strolling through holiday lights, listening to holiday music, baking sugar cookies, and doing all the fun things that kids love this time of year. And of course, we can’t wait to see Brooks’ face light up when he wakes up on Christmas morning to all the presents under the tree.

This will be the first of many exciting Christmases to come in our home.

Sam Pak

CEO of Appliance Direct

Pictured with wife, EunBee

We have a large gathering in our house every Christmas for a gift exchange. We’ll probably have 30 people or more. The grandkids always get gifts. This gift exchange is for all of us over 18. We’ve already set a spending limit, because think about it, at Christmas, trying to buy 25 to 30 gifts for everybody is just overwhelming, right? Then when we get together, we make up numbers based on how many people we have, then we each draw a number. Each person can only pick a gift once. Number one picks a gift, and can pick whatever they want, then number two picks, including the gift number one picked. If number two picks number one’s gift, then number one can go pick whatever they want as a second choice. It’s keeps going. The gifts are not opened until everyone has picked. You’re picking but you really don’t know what you’re going to end up with. One year, my nephew bought paper towels and put them in a big box. That was super popular, by the way. In the mix, you have some nice gifts, but then you also have something just to make it more fun. As long as it’s at that agreed amount, no one cares. From paper towels to blankets to books to dishes to wine glasses, it is so much fun.

Then there’s dinner. I always smoke a turkey, and we add some Korean dishes to go along with it. With 30 people, a lot of wine is flowing, and it’s chaos, but a
happy chaos.