Bubble-bearded Santas Jon (left) and Jordan Perez, posing for a holiday card pic, 1999.


Holidays Past and Present With D CEO Editors

Executives from across the region shared their traditions, gift wish lists, and New Year's resolutions with us. We wanted to get in on the fun, too.

D CEO editors loved talking with North Texas executives about their holiday memories and plans. (Read part one of our series, featuring Charlotte Jones, Ben Lamm, and Bob Pryor, here; and part two, featuring Cynt Marshall, Chad Houser, and Chris Kelly, here.) It sparked some wistful thoughts of our own:

An 18-month-old Christine Perez (left) and her twin sister Caroline, with their mom and dad (aka Santa).
Christine Perez, Editor

Holiday traditions: “I have a beautiful creche set made by my grandfather; my sons always loved to help set it up when they were young. My favorite holiday memory, though, is when they were 5 and 8 years old. I wanted to take their minds off the fact that it was our first Christmas post-divorce. So, I secretly packed the car, and after Christmas Eve service, instead of driving back home, I took them to Great Wolf Lodge. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces when I pulled into the parking lot—they were shocked! The next morning, they were so happy that Santa knew where to deliver their presents. We practically had the whole lodge to ourselves. It was a blast.”

Favorite gift: “A drum set I got when I was about 12. I’m sure my parents came to regret it.”

On this year’s wish list: “I just want to be able to hug people again.”

Down-time tips: “This is the one time of year when our team gets to truly disengage. I’m taking full advantage.”

New Year’s resolutions: “Take up meditation and sleep and exercise more.”

Holiday park time for Katie, Ethan, Will, and Tucker Maddox.
Will Maddox, Managing Editor

Holiday traditions: “My family always eats Thanksgiving dinner in the park, and we have filet mignon instead of turkey, but with all the traditional sides. It is the perfect blend of deliciousness and tradition.”

Favorite gift: “Probably the trampoline that showed up in the back yard one Christmas Day. I wasn’t completely sure if Santa or my parents made it happen, but I was overjoyed.”

On this year’s wish list: “My wife Katie and I gave ourselves some home improvements for Christmas this year.”

Down-time tips: “I think if you can stay focused in advance, you can get through the holidays without stressing about the work you need to be doing. Stay consistent and build in some buffer time so you can completely unplug.”

New Year’s resolution: “My resolution is to read one book a month to make sure I am always learning and growing!”

Four-year-old Bianca Montes (left) and her sister Darshana visit with Santa.
Bianca R. Montes, Online Managing Editor

Holiday traditions: “My family was never big on traditions, but a few I will always remember are going to see the Nutcracker ballet every year with my sister and mom, visiting Santa at the department store, and cooking lavish feasts—big Italian dinner at my uncle’s on Christmas Eve, a breakfast spread in the morning, and cookies and treats leading up to Christmas. With both of my parents gone, my siblings and I have made an effort the past few years to continue that tradition. I also picked up a new tradition; my boyfriend has added an ornament to his tree every year of his life, and this year, he brought me in on the fun. I picked the Triple Dog Dare 2020 Hallmark keepsake from A Christmas Story.”

Favorite gift: “When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I desperately wanted a Barbie Dreamhouse. My mom told me no because it was so expensive—a few hundred dollars back in the ’80s. But on Christmas morning, she and my dad surprised me with a beautiful pink mansion under the Christmas tree. I will never forget the excitement I felt. Sadly, a few months later, my cousin was mad at me and she took a bat to the house. RIP Pink Paradise.”

On this year’s wish list: “I don’t have a wish list because I truly love the idea of being surprised. My Amazon wish list, though, includes a random collection of things Tik Tok has informed me that I need.”

Down-time tips: “Set boundaries.”

New Year’s resolution: “To read more. I spent way too much time in 2020 binge-watching shows and watching Tik Tok videos.”

Christmas morning with a young Kelsey Vanderschoot and her brother Kyle.
Kelsey J. Vanderschoot, Associate Editor

Holiday traditions: “When I was younger, one of my favorite unspoken traditions was waking up to my younger brother, Kyle, coming to get me to scope out presents. He usually got up first and very early. Now, I really enjoy going to the midnight, candlelight service at our church and lighting candles with him and our cousins.”

Favorite gifts: “Kyle and I got new bikes one year, and I felt like we were in one of those movies where the kids run out to a bunch of giant new toys with huge bows on them. A close second is the espresso machine I got for an early Christmas this year; I nearly cried.”

On my wish list this year: “I would really like a tent or a camper shell for my pickup so I could explore the South’s state and national parks more. Also, I ask for running shoes every year as I try to run between two and four miles daily.”

Down-time tips: “This is my first year having a full-time job over the holidays, so I am by no means an expert, but in general, I find mental preparation is key. Think through the plan for the day ahead the night before, whether it be blocked off for work, play, or both, and stick to that plan in the morning.”

New Year’s resolution: “Instead of picking one resolution, I usually try to pick a few things and place them into three categories: Stop, start, and continue. I would like to stop being as liberal with my diet and exercise routines as I have been. I used to be pretty hardcore strict on those fronts, and I’ve eased off a bit. I would like to start practicing my Spanish and Portuguese more often, and I’d like to continue noticing the thought patterns I have that are not helpful and try to understand why they come about, so I can nip them in the bud.”


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