As the holiday season unfolds, there’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation at EarthLink. This time of year brings our team together in a special way, as we share and celebrate our diverse holiday traditions.
In November, we gathered for our annual employee potluck meal, sharing diverse dishes and customs with one another. For December, we’ll be celebrating the season with a holiday party.
But before the festivities begin, we’d like to introduce you to some of the people who make EarthLink special and how they’ll be celebrating the holidays this year.
Meet our team members
Brand Marketing and Communications Director
For Ann Tran, brand marketing and communications director, the holidays are a complete family affair. On Christmas Eve, about 50 to 70 members of the Tran clan head over to grandmother’s house.
“Sometimes we exchange gifts,“ she said. “We have a big meal, and we stay up late past midnight singing Christmas carols and having a great time.”
Creative Lead Alex Ruggiero doesn’t know how her mother’s Christmas Eve chili tradition came about, but every year, there’s a pot on the stove for the family to share.
“We eat it with Fritos and then when we wake up the next morning, we’ll open presents,” she said. “My mom usually makes some sort of banana bread or monkey bread.”
After hanging around the fire and sharing stories of gratitude, the family will eat an Italian dinner at the end of the night.
Senior Manager of Sales Operations & Strategy
When he’s not running the sales department at EarthLink, Barry Sikora loves to sit down every holiday season to rewatch his favorite Christmas movie, “Elf.”
“I also have the album,” he said. “So I listen to that as well.”
Executive Relations Specialist
Cynthia Lipscomb spends her time at EarthLink helping customers with their biggest needs down to their smallest.
“My holiday tradition is to have our Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving and to open up presents – at least one – on Christmas Eve,” she said.
Director of Broadband Installations and Tech Support
Dan Carrol is known as a veteran around the EarthLink office. Having worked for the company for 17 years, he knows a thing or two about the internet industry.
Christmastime brings back bittersweet memories for Carrol; His mother, who has since passed, was the bringer of cheer in the family.
“My mom used to have seven Christmas trees,” he said.
Carrol’s mother would keep a traditional, crystal tree in the living room, he recalled – tame compared to the rest of the house.
“It was actually really pretty,” he said. “She would have one in the kitchen that was on top of the kitchen table and the ornaments were all kitchen gadgets like peelers and knives.”
No room was safe from the Christmas spirit. Carroll said his mother even set up a smaller tree on top of the commode in the bathroom, adorned with toiletries.
“She had another one that was all pictures of us when we were little kids,” he said.
Every year when the holidays roll around, Carroll said he misses the joy his mother’s traditions would bring.
“I put up a tree, but I don’t put up seven like my mom did because that’s insane,” he joked. “And it took her so much work to do, putting up, taking down.”
Business Intelligence Analyst
Every year, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, the Rodgers family gathers in droves to celebrate the holidays. Dozens will flock to Garrett Rodgers’ home the night before the main event to drink wine and cook till early in the morning.
“It has caused us to make some errors in our recipes that create really funny laughs the next day,” Rodgers said. “I remember one year we were making pies at like 3:00 in the morning after 2 bottles of wine. And the pies just – they were not pretty at all. The crust was not even. Even the pies weren’t even. I think we put extra sugar in the pecan pie and it was just way too sweet.”
Senior Director of Demand Gen and SEO
For the Ihnen household, there’s a wide range of traditions and customs come holiday season.
“Whether it’s my parents or my husband’s parents or his mom from the Philippines, everyone has a little different way of celebrating,” Madelyn Ihnen said.
No matter what, every year, Ihnen puts up her Christmas tree and all her decorations the day after Thanksgiving while chili simmers on the stove (a loved family recipe). Throughout the season, she enjoys watching holiday movies – “The Santa Clause,” being her favorite.
The Ihnens will also draw inspiration from Noche Buena, a popular Christmas Eve celebration in several parts of the world, with their Filipino side of the family
“While our celebration may differ from the traditional midnight mass and grand feast, we create our own festive atmosphere by staying up, enjoying wine or our beverage of choice, and sharing a delightful midnight Tsokolate — a richer, more indulgent version of hot chocolate — to welcome Christmas Day,” she said.
Throughout the month of December, the Ihnens will have fun celebrating in and out of the home with friends and family.
“I hope my 2-year-old is going to love Christmas as much as I do,” she expressed.
Shelby Crawford spends most of her time organizing and managing the initiatives on the marketing team at EarthLink. But by Christmas Eve, she’s ready to celebrate!
“On Christmas Eve, me and my family have a nice dinner and then we go to midnight mass,” she said. “We sleep in the next day and then have like an easy morning, which is always just really nice. I love doing that with my family.”
Sonia Remoun loves the holiday season. At her home, also known as Casa Remoun, there’s always a get-together with family and friends.
“I have a daughter, granddaughter, and our families and friends come over with their kids,” she said. “We all wear festive pajamas and we bake cookies.”
Some of the holiday activities at Casa Remoun include building gingerbread houses, crafting Christmas wreaths, and exchanging gifts.
“And of course, we have a few holiday spirits,” she said.
Digital Strategy and Automation
For the Long household, making homemade Christmas gifts every year is a beloved tradition, according to Tiffany Long.
“Instead of everybody just trying to just buy different gifts, we do really fun things where the kids get involved as well,” she said. “Everybody gets to be super creative and you can make something that’s really silly.”
Whether it’s a game, a practical item, or a far-out-there idea, it’s a joyous occasion, Long said.
“It’s one of the traditions that we look forward to the most, where everybody just gets to come and show off their gifts and you get to kind of trade and draw,” she said. “It creates a lot of laughs and memories.”
Senior Web Designer
Traditions for Tony Price and family have changed over the years. For more recent holidays, Price said they travel to his wife’s family’s home before visiting his brother and sister.
“We meet up with some cousins in between South Carolina and Georgia,” he said.
Their newest tradition, started last year, is a snowboarding trip with Price, his wife, and his 14-year-old son the week of Christmas break.
“This year we’re going to Utah,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait to be out there.”
Product Marketing Manager
Every year, Tori Camp enjoys the pleasures of her favorite holiday traditions on Christmas morning with her family.
“Ever since I was little, we’ve always made [Christmas morning] a big thing and my mom always made homemade cinnamon rolls for it,” she said. “But now I kind of do a big spread.”
To avoid traveling from house to house during the holiday, all the grandparents are invited to partake in the festivities on Christmas morning at the Camp home.
“We make it really fun and special,” she said. “And stay in pajamas – hopefully for most of the day.”
When the holidays roll around, Valerie Shealey loves to listen to Christmas music. She and her daughter will trim the tree on Christmas day and bake gingerbread cookies.
“My favorite movie, I have to say, is “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” she said. “I love it.”
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!
The EarthLink family cherishes a rich tapestry of holiday traditions. As we celebrate this festive season, we’re grateful for the shared spirit and joy among our team members. Wishing all our readers happy holidays and a joyful New Year. Here’s to more shared experiences and connections in the year ahead!