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In our own words: Christmas

Say what you might about Christmas, but it’s a time when I personally feel my best.

Looking beyond the fact that many people feel that the holiday has become commercialized, I like to reflect on what Christmas all together means to me. My favorite memories of Christmas include going to church on Christmas Eve and waiting anxiously to sing “Silent Night” at the end of the service. The lights would be turned off, and the sanctuary would be lit only by candlelight. Even as a kid, I understood the peacefulness of that moment.

But enough from me. I reached to fellow actors, directors, crew members, and QCT staff to find out what Christmas means to them. I received some lovely responses.

JERILYN DUFRESNE:  “This isn’t about Christmas, per se. My mom died the day after Thanksgiving in 1980 and my dad died on New Year’s Day 1986. Each January 1st we go to the cemetery and celebrate their lives. We’ll have a beer, talk about our love for them, and yes, even pour a little beer on their graves. Afterwards we go to our family home where we all grew up and play games and eat all day. New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday.”

SHANDA SMITH: “When I think of Christmas I think of hope. The hope of a child, hope for future Christmases and even the hope we find in Christianity.”

KATHY RODERICK: I always struggle with answering these kind of questions. I love the family gatherings and the children coming home and the fun white elephant gift exchange we do every Christmas Eve . But truly the reason is the birth of Jesus Christ. He was given to us by our Lord as a gift. What a beautiful gift that is!!”

  • ELIZABETH MANNHARDT: “That we would all be as children again… in wonder, joy, and faith… just as God himself came as a child, the fulfillment of all wonder, joy, and faith.”

  • COLLEEN SCHMUCK: “Joy and Song and Kindness!”

  • DON JOHNSON: Whenever I get asked this question I always think of the powerful speech Linus gives in A Charlie Brown Christmas, I also think of everything and every negative word ever told to me, to this day. Sorry, but I can only be me and not what others think I should be. How boring the world would be if we all were the same.”

  • CONNOR SCHMUCK: “A joyful very happy time. Time for laughing and praying and evergreens and love.”

  • MARK SCHNEIDER: Christmas is a time we can celebrate with family and friends the journey of the year past. The holidays have become, for me, a time to remember, a time to appreciate, a time to look forward. Putting up your favorite ornaments and thinking about the story behind each one. Watching my children smile and laugh and play. Thinking about what the next year holds for those that I hold most dear. Joy, wonderment, hope, love, thankfulness, kindness, sharing and understanding. I also like all the food.”
  • JOE OSIER: “Well said, Mark.”

  • VONDA ST CLAIR: “To borrow a quote, “I wish we could celebrate Christmas all year long.” It seems to be a time of love, joy, peace within and forgiveness. I love all the Christmas trees and the lights. It’s a time I give myself permission to be that child again. My childhood wasn’t the best, but its OK to visit that child that still lives within me. I also celebrate the child that the Lord sent to us, oh how lucky we are. I rejoice that I have a loving caring family, my children and grandchildren bless my soul and every inch of my being. During the holidays I love being surrounded by all of those friends who I hold so dear. Still not withstanding all that, the bottom line is, Christ has given us the reason for the season.”


  • KAROL EHMEN:To me, the true meaning of Christmas is found on Christmas Eve at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church’s 10:30 pm candlelight service as I am surrounded by three generations of my family (with my youngest daughter falling asleep on my lap) and listening to our adult choir sing “Silent Night” in German. God, Our Heavenly Father; Family; Tradition…Perfection.”

  • KEVIN JOBE: “No matter what city I’m in, I enjoy driving through major shopping areas and enjoying the stillness. In a world that may otherwise deny the message of the Messiah, they all seem to take note and take pause……….except for those hellbound, godless heathens at the 18th & Broadway Walgreens. LOL Work and save. Life’s not a game. Why stop for Christmas day?”

  • HEIDI SCHLIPMAN: “Karol Ehmen is too modest to mention that her rendition of “O Holy Night” at the Our Redeemer Christmas Eve service is enough to make even my 16 year old son (I am quoting him) “melt like butter.” Christmas is peace, and is felt in abundance at that service.”

TAMY CASSASDY: “I have so many wonderful Christmas memories that it’s hard to pick, but I think of the Christmases when my boys were little…the anticipation and the wonderment in their eyes on Christmas morning. Such a magical time “

PAYTON MILLER: Christmas means to me celebrating Jesus’ birthday and waking up that morning with a special feeling that you are loved.”

DR. H. TODD EVANS: What Christmas means to me – peace on Earth.”

RANDY STOCKER: Christmas means “Family” to me.”

MATTHEW STOCKER: Christmas is a time for thinking about others.  I like to volunteer my time at Christmas ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army.”

DANIELLE HELD: “Christmas means the unintended warming of hearts all over the world. Celebrating something personal and yet so communal. It makes us more generous, more patient, more loving, without us even knowing it.”

DAN CONBOY: Christmas is: Being with family & friends, of course.  But more than anything it is the time to ask myself, “How am I doing? Do my words and actions match my heart?”

BRANDON THOMSEN: “Remembrance: Remembrance of faith and remembrance of family”

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