Holiday Traditions from Board Members and Central Office Staff

Dec 22, 2022 – Staffers and volunteer leaders discuss what makes the holiday season special for them.

There are seemingly as many unique ways to celebrate the holidays as there are December TV specials. More, probably. For some, the holidays are a raucous celebration with a house teeming with scores of people. For others, it's a quiet gathering that fits on one couch that consists of eggnog and a binge of favorite seasonal movies. That's one great thing about the holidays; there's no right or wrong way to celebrate them. Just your way.

Several members of the Delta Sigma Pi Board and Central Office staff offered their reflections on their favorite ways to enjoy this festive time of year. Predictably, their anecdotes are as diverse as the Deltasig brotherhood. 


Cory Stopka, Grand President

My favorite memory as a child was decorating the house with my dad and mom! We had lights on the house and the whole yard filled with decorations. We would have people come by in busses and limos to look at the house. Inside we had the villages set up and I’d play Hot Wheels throughout our created town. Each year we’d watch Christmas Vacation and laugh harder each year even though we knew the movie word for word. Now, the joy is seeing our son Finn enjoy the season and creating new memories and traditions with him. 


Jessica Cole, Communications Coordinator -- Digital and Social Media

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, because of how much spirit and effort my mom always put into the holiday season. My older brother and I would always wake up early and had to literally pull my dad out of bed while my mom warmed up the quiche and hashbrown casserole. I would open the letter written by Santa from the night before and scope out how many cookies he ate. Then we would all sit around the Christmas tree and unwrap presents. After opening and playing with our presents, my dad would take his annual Christmas mid-morning nap and we would watch A Christmas Story for at least the next 4-5 hours.   


Brennen Feder, 2021 Collegian of the Year (photo at right, in the middle)

Every year we make potato latkes from scratch! We work together in the kitchen mixing potatoes, flour, eggs, salt, and onions by hand before deep frying them in oil. They are delicious and so fun to make!


Christian Loeb, 2022 Collegian of the Year

My family’s holiday celebration is small. It's just me, my mom, dad, and three “wonderful” sisters. We all eat fondue and sit around the table laughing and stealing each other’s food. Next, we open presents and take turns telling our parents stories they didn’t know. It puts everyone is in a good mood and, because the stories are in the past, no one can get mad. The stories vary from broken lamps, sneaking out at night, or rogue parties thrown at the house. 


Jeanine Triplett, Leadership Foundation Executive Vice President

A favorite holiday tradition of mine is baking sugar cookies into all sorts of holiday shapes. I also love decorating Christmas trees. Normally, I have five trees, but I moved this year and "only" put up two (one of which is at the top of the page).


Meghan Hill, Southern PVP

When I was about 14, I decided we needed to share what we were thankful for during the lull between Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. I got out the pouch of Scrabble letters and everyone would draw a letter saying what they were thankful for that started with that letter. I've now done this every year since, regardless of who I am with or where I am. Over the years we've done between two rounds or six or seven rounds (usually depending on how much wine is involved) and had answers as trite as "my mom" and "friends" to creative answers of "sports bra" and "wine" to some pretty deep thankful messages that included naming surgeries and lost jobs that led to better health and exciting career changes. We've had six-year-olds and 90-something-year-olds playing. For just about 30 years, the Scrabble letter pouch has traveled to multiple states to keep the tradition going and been at family Thanksgivings, friendsgivings, and even welcomed strangers with nowhere else to go. 


Tallesha Woodson, Education and Leadership Consultant

My family's favorite holiday tradition is that we all wear the ugliest Christmas sweater and compete to wear the ugliest. We then binge Hallmark movies and drink hot chocolate to end the night!


Erica Kolsrud, Western PVP

My New Year's Day is always spent in Pasadena at the Tournament of Roses Parade. I went to my first Rose parade at age 5 in 1991. I remember this "monster" float that "ate" children on a school bus. I was terrified! The monster didn't really eat the children, they went down a slide inside the float, but I was 5, I didn't know! The parade left a lasting impression on me.

Flash forward to this year, and I am gearing up for my third parade as a member of the Tournament of Roses. I have the honor to volunteer alongside 934 volunteer members to help execute America's New Year Celebration. The parade is traditionally held on New Year's Day (unless it falls on a Sunday), and we meet year-round to prepare. Events begin a few days prior to parade day. You can spot us in the Pasadena area throughout the month of December, putting on the final touches. If you aren't in Pasadena for New Year's, you can watch the parade on TV. You may spot some Deltasigs who are also Tournament of Roses members! 


Tricia Bonfrisco, Past Grand President

A newer tradition for our family is cookie baking. We have always made cookies at Christmas time to enjoy, but due to my sister's budding business, making holiday cookies took on a new spin. For several years now, my mom, sister and I get together over the holiday season to bake hundreds of cookies to share gifts for friends, neighbors, and family. My husband (Steel Valley RVP Patrick Bonfrisco), the newest member of this tradition, has the most important job: quality tester. As a family, it gives us extra time together through the busy season and the enjoyment of sharing something we created together.


Sara Erl, Education and Leadership Consultant

Every year, my family participates in a beloved Polish tradition, called Oplatek, where a flavorless wafer is distributed amongst family members. This is a time to encapsulate the good/the bad/the well wishes of the year and have a ceremonial sharing of well wishes going into the next year. Each participant takes from the other person's wafer while expressing their hopes, memories, and love to symbolize breaking off a piece, eating it, and committing fully to their well wishes. We also watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year. 


Luke Schamer, Director of Education

My favorite holiday activity is ordering a large cheese pizza from Little Caesars and watching Home Alone and Home Alone 2 while I eat it. 


Monica Monroe, Northeastern PVP

My partner Will and I have created our own traditions since in the five years we have been together. We both grew up in heavily religious homes and never really found the joy of Christmas beyond going through the motions. 

We now celebrate in ways that are meaningful to us! Every Christmas morning, we make breakfast. I know this sounds pretty minimal, but for us it consists of a full breakfast spread, specifically with crepes and really good french press coffee! We take the quiet morning to ourselves to just spend time together and reflect on peace. 

Our second tradition is we started observing Advent in our own unique way. We took the parts that are meaningful to us and built them into our holiday season. We have done this mostly to reflect on what the holiday season means to us: giving to others, sharing joy, and truly focusing on peace, patience and love. 


Steve Aust, Associate Director of Communications

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is watching classic movies. My favorite is It's A Wonderful Life. George Bailey reminds me a great deal of my grandfather: tall and slender physically, and gentle and generous of spirit. And, I think the inscription in the book George receives in the final scene is a great principle to remember: "No man is a failure who has friends."


  • Brothers of Delta Sigma Pi