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IBG Staff Holiday Traditions

By: Anni Jack, IBG Adult Education Coordinator | 11/30/2021

Garden Staff reflected on their favorite holiday traditions, memories, and recipes, read on below! 🎁

(Almost!) every year, my family likes to donate to Heifer International and give the receipt as a present to one another. It’s a fun tradition and it always feels good to give back during this time of year.

❄️ Ariana, IBG Engagement Coordinator


Klaus – A clever Santa origin cartoon movie with beautiful animation that won’t make you want to sell the TV if your kid decides to watch it 20 times. Available on Netflix

*Blackadder’s Christmas Carol – An entertaining, reverse change-of-heart story for all the humbugs out there. Available on Amazon

12 Dates of Christmas – One of my annual guilty pleasures. Groundhog Day meets Hallmark. Yes, it has all the holiday rom-com tropes. Available on Disney+

⛄️ Wendy, IBG Youth Education Manager


Our family loves holiday movies.

Our favorites almost span each decade since the 40’s. It’s a Wonderful Life (40’s), White Christmas (50’s), A Charlie Brown Christmas (60’s), A Christmas Story (80’s), Home Alone (90’s), Elf (00’s), Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (10’s).

The 1970s wasn’t a good time for original holiday movies. Lots of remakes. Prove me wrong. 😊

❄️ Erin, IBG Executive Director


I’ve no idea where my [off the boat] English aunt found this recipe or why something with mango and pineapple would be a cold-weather drink, but it was a Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition even before I was allowed to drink it. And yeah, the second one will warm you up.


12oz can Mango nectar           1 small can lemonade concentrate     1 small can pineapple juice

Mix and serve on ice with a shot (or two) of your favorite rum.

⛄️ Linda, IBG Executive Assistant


Our Southern family holiday tradition is Bourbon Milk Punch! We start making it at Thanksgiving and enjoy drinking it through New Year’s Day (and beyond!).


1 ¼ ounces bourbon               ½ ounce dark rum                 2 ounces milk of choice

¾ tsp vanilla extract              ½ ounce simple syrup                        Dash of grated nutmeg

In a mixing glass three-quarters filled with ice, pour the bourbon, rum, milk, vanilla, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass. Dust with nutmeg.

❄️ Nell, IBG Greenhouse & Nursery Coordinator


Every year on Christmas Eve my family prepares a Scandinavian dish called lutefisk. To prepare it you soak dried cod in lye and water and then steam it. It becomes a gelatinous texture!

⛄️ Hannah, IBG Horticulture Team


You are allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day you may see what you have in your stocking, but the rest of the presents may not be opened until everyone has had breakfast.

❄️ Elizabeth, IBG Education & Visitor Engagement Director


After we eat Thanksgiving dinner, my kids get to open a gift from their Mamaw-she gets them each a Christmas ornament that reflects whatever they are interested in that year. It’s been a tradition since they were babies and they love looking at their ornaments through the years. ❤

⛄️ Courtney, IBG Office & HR Manager


My kids and I make around 600 cookies for friends, family, neighbors… linzers, pizzelles, stained glass, peppermint stars, shortbread.  We tally them to keep count, package them up, make deliveries, and test a few of course.

❄️ Anni, IBG Adult Education Coordinator


I love finding the perfect Christmas Tree in the forest, eggnog, It’s A Wonderful Life, Christmas music, the smell of pine trees, the wintry weather. And of course, the lights!

⛄️ Monika, IBG Team 


Our family would always go to Elf at the Egyptian and then dinner downtown afterward to get in the holiday spirit.

❄️ Kirsten, IBG Visitor Services 


When I was a kid, my aunt had a life-size animatronic Santa that would sing and dance. I was so scared of it I couldn’t even be in the same room. One day I decided I was going to face my fear and came right into the living room and stared Santa down. He didn’t move, and I decided I had won. I loved celebrating Christmas in Canada, and I wasn’t going to let animatronic Santa ruin it for me!

⛄️ Alissa, IBG Content Coordinator 


The holidays are such a cozy time of year. My favorite holiday song is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and my favorite activity, besides Winter Garden aGlow ;), is decorating the tree!

❄️ Jennifer, IBG Development Director


Yearly since my daughter was born, I’ve bought a new holiday ornament for her to one day adorn her own tree. All of the ornaments have special meaning – I have found a black cat ornament with a halo for Frannie our cat, a yellow labrador retriever ornament to remember our beloved Daisy, and the cheeseburger ornament in her husband’s stocking is a new favorite. So many memories now hung on the tree!

⛄️ Karen, IBG Volunteer Manager


Hot Toddy and Hot Buttered Rum are my favorite holiday drinks.  I love to make hot buttered rum batter with vanilla ice cream!

❄️ Michele, IBG Horticulture Director


My favorite memory of Winter Garden aGlow was the first night I came to the event as a staff member. With everything that goes on behind the curtain starting all the way in September, the oohs, ahhs, laughing, and excitement of the first visitors seeing the lights made the months and months of prep suuuper worth it!

⛄️ Chris, IBG Marketing & Communications Director