Young professionals in Traverse City connect, network and develop relationships that support the economy within an extension of the Traverse City Area Chamber, the Traverse City Young Professionals. In addition to hosting many Young Professional events and activities—see those here—the Traverse City Young Professionals also share an online blog, full of stories written by members.

Here’s the latest Traverse City Young Professionals blog post, December 2016.
Find past posts here.

Holiday Traditions … Past, Present, Future

Well, it is the time of year for cold, snow, holidays, end of year reports, presents, travel, family, a ton of eating, and of course the December Blog. It has been a couple crazy weeks, which is the reason there has not been a blog in a while. Let’s just say, my chickens are the warmest in the north and my side porch is now an enclosed, insulated, finished mud room … well almost. With all of that said, it has been a great year writing these few blogs. It is very rewarding to see how many of you fine Young Professionals and other professionals read these words of wisdom. When I volunteered to take over after Mo left, I had no idea what I was going to write or even if I would be good at writing blogs. Either way, it has had a little success, and I hope to write more in the future.

This time of year brings a ton of smiles, laughter, joy, hugs, and traditions. I love holiday traditions and always look forward to them the day before Thanksgiving. We all have traditions and most of us have had those traditions change especially when you get married and the “in-laws” get involved, which is a good thing most of the time. For me, my Christmas festivities have tripled since being married. However, the traditions are still alive and well with my side of the family as well as my wife’s. For this blog, I had the desire to talk about my favorite traditions as well as stories from a few other YPs.

The first thing that would kick off the Christmas season, would be heading to Grandma’s house to bake cookies. The recipes to these cookies have been passed down from generation to generation so you know they are the real deal. The types of cookies included monster cookies, which yields 16 dozen, a ton of sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, springerles, peanut butter blossoms, and peanut butter cookie cups. Each type of cookie has its own specific need whether it needed to be cooled before baking to adding boiling water with baking soda. It was absolutely priceless especially this year to bake with my incredible Grandma, my wife, brother, sister-in-law, dad, and aunt. It was a great time for sure.

I also grew up in a big Catholic Italian family setting on my mom’s side where Christmas time was always a great celebration. Christmas Eve is the best day of the year where my whole family consisting of up to 50 people (that is a lot of Italians) would have a huge pasta party in the basement of a church in Toledo, Ohio. This tradition is priceless because it consists of being with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends, other random Italians, and of course eating some of the best Italian food around. We always played a white elephant gift exchange, but the kicker was if you were the last person to pick a present, you could steal anyone’s gift, which was awesome. Christmas day included a great feast on my dad’s side of the family. Then for dinner, we went back to the Italian side of the family for homemade pizza and desserts. Needless to say, the holidays were filled with a ton of joy, travel, and some of the best food of the year.

My family isn’t the only family that has a cookie tradition. Dan Baker, the boss man of the marketing committee, has fond memories of baking his Grandma Baker’s mincemeat cookies. He also loves the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree while singing and listening to Christmas tunes all while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. All of that sounds absolutely amazing to me.

stephanieStephanie Mathewson, our Facebook guru, has a wonderful Danish tradition. Here is her wonderful Christmas tradition and a great picture. “My Grandfather is of Danish descent, and I always remembered him making traditional Danish Pancake Balls (Abelskievers) for special occasions. He passed this tradition (along with the special cast iron pan needed to make them) down to my mother and now the tradition resides with me. With everyone home, I now need to make a double batch each year! And this year, I was teaching my youngest niece, Agnes, the tricks of the trade as well (pictured) so that we’ll be ready for the next generation. For me, food is one of the best ways to celebrate and share.”  A Danish Pancake sounds wonderful any day of the week!!

I have a small challenge for everyone this holiday season. This challenge is very simple and can be done by everyone. I challenge you to remember your traditions this holiday season and to hold them close to your heart. I love being around family and friends and sharing this joyous time of the year. Family is extremely important, so savor every moment you have because we truly do not know how much time we all have left together. So if you do not have a tradition or even if you do, start a new one that can be passed on for generations. I will always remember being a kid and the amazing times at Christmas. If you used to have a tradition that was halted for some reason, start it up again and add some elements of fun, love, and joy. I wish everyone a safe, amazing, loving, and fun Holiday Season.

**Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the YP Blog and the Marketing Committee**

City of Traverse City News

Stormwater Management & Water Quality Stakeholders Open House – Dec. 13, 4–6:30 p.m.: Local stakeholders are invited to the first in a series of three public meeting to provide input to help shape the future of stormwater management and water quality protection in the City of Traverse City. There will be stations where attendees can learn about the impacts of stormwater, identify problem areas, and express their personal vision for water quality protection in the City. This meeting will be held at the Governmental Center – 2nd Floor Training Room, 400 Boardman Ave., Traverse City. For more information:

Traverse City Fire Department Toy Drive: The Traverse City Fire Department is accepting donations of unused or unopened toys for children up to 12 years old. Donations can be dropped off to Fire Station 1, at 510 W. Front St., or to the Governmental Center Lobby, at 400 Boardman Ave. through December 15. For more information, or to request toys for your family, visit our website at:

Traverse City Community Giving Catalog: For those looking to sponsor a park bench, flowers in a park or maybe donate a gift in someone’s name in time for Christmas, check out the City’s giving catalog!


State Superintendent Whiston Visits Traverse City Area Public Schools
Traverse City Area Public Schools will host State Superintendent, Brian Whiston on Thursday, December 8. During his visit, Superintendent Whiston will tour Central Grade School to see the school’s successful Physical Education/Reading Program for Kindergarteners. He will also visit Traverse City West Senior High School to hear a choral performance and learn more about the school’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Mentoring program and award-winning Model UN program.

Local School Districts Launch Traverse Bay Area Homeschool Partnership
TCAPS and Suttons Bay Public Schools launched a new program called the Traverse Bay Area Homeschool Partnership. The effort is a pilot program developed in collaboration with area homeschool families to provide access to elective, non-core courses. The partnership will offer elective, non-core classes to students in grades K-12. Courses are expected to include art, music, physical education, Spanish, life skills, and more. The partnership is available to all homeschool students residing within the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District service area. Classes are scheduled to begin on February 1, 2017.

chs-2015-can-the-principalCentral High School Holds “Can the Principal” Food Drive
The Traverse City Central High School Student Senate is holding its annual “Can the Principal” food drive. Food and toiletry items donated during the drive will be used to stock the pantry at Traverse City High School and to support the Students in Transition Empowerment Program, or STEP. Any extra items will be donated to the Father Fred Foundation. Along with the goal of filling the principal’s office with donations this holiday season, students will be competing to see which grade level can bring in the largest amount of donations. Last year, the effort collected 7,149 items to support students and families in need. The goal for this year’s drive is 8,000 items. The drive will run from December 5 to December 15. Donations are being accepted at the Central High School main office (1150 Milliken Dr.).

Traverse City West Senior High School Hosts “Band Together” Food Drive
Traverse City West Senior High School is holding drive called “Band Together” to benefit the food pantries at Traverse City West Senior High School and Traverse City High School. The TC West Band and Senior Council are leading the community service project with a goal of filling the band trailer with non-perishable food and personal care items. Donations will be accepted from Tuesday, December 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, December 14 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. outside of the school’s main entrance.

You’re Invited to Spend the Holiday Season With Us!
December is a magical time of year, particularly in northern Michigan. As we move into the holiday season, you are invited to get into the holiday spirit with events and activities featuring the talented students of Traverse City Area Public Schools. Upcoming events include:

WSH Choir Mix and Mingle
Dec. 10, 6 p.m. / Kirkbride Hall (700 Cottageview Dr #200)

EMS/CHS Winter Orchestra Concert
Dec. 15, 7 p.m. / Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.)

WMS/WSH Holiday Concert
Dec. 13, 7 p.m. / Lars Hockstad Auditorium (301 West Seventh St.)

TC West vs. TC Central Hockey
Dec. 15, 7 p.m. / Howe Arena (1125 W Civic Center Dr.)

WSH Vocal Holiday Concert
Dec. 15, 8 p.m. / West Senior High School (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.)

CHS Vocal Holiday Concert
Dec. 20, 7 p.m. / Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.)

For more information about upcoming events, visit: or

Grand Traverse County News

Winter Parking Reminder: Even though it may not look like winter, the Winter Parking Ordinance is in effect. From December 1 to March 31 between midnight and 8 a.m. (and during snow emergencies), parking vehicles on public roads and shoulders is prohibited.

Give the Gift of Warmth: Cold weather accessories—new mittens, hats, and scarves—are being accepted at the Senior Center, located at 801 East Front Street, for the Mitten Tree between now and December 29. Donations will be provided to those in need in the area.

More Traverse City News:

Photo(s) by Angela Brown