Danceability family holiday traditions

Holiday time is such a festive and joyous occasion, and just like our dancers, our dancers’ holiday traditions are as diverse and awesome as they are. Whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah or anything in between, they are always having fun!

Check out some of our dancers’ family traditions with their families!

Patrick helping decorate the tree

Patrick helping decorate the tree

Patrick Zolnowski’s family starts the holiday season off by going to the Festival of Trees downtown at the Hyatt to see all of the decorated trees and wreaths, especially since the festival benefits Women and Children’s Hospital. Patrick and his family also go to the Festival of Lights at the Fairgrounds, and they love to drive through and look at the light displays and activities in the buildings.

Who could forget tree decorating? Patrick’s family decorates their two Christmas trees on Thanksgiving weekend. One of the trees, the family tree, is placed in the living room, and all the family gifts are placed there. The tree in the family room is the Santa tree, where Santa leaves the presents for Patrick and his sister.

Christmas Eve is spent with their family’s extended family, about 40 people (whoa!). The party is loud, chaotic, busy and really fun. The next day though is much quieter on Christmas. The family opens presents all together, and then goes to Grandma and Grandpa’s for brunch and more gifts.

Sounds like Patrick has an amazing Christmas holiday!

Caleb Sendziak also enjoys a great Christmas. Caleb and his family like to choose their tree early in December to ensure they enjoy it all month long. It has to be a Frasier Fir. Caleb helps put the ornaments on the tree, of which the family has so many fond memories with.

They place a light in each window of their home and keep them on all day and all night during Advent. They even put a red ribbon on a very old pair of snowshoes and lean them against their tree

Caleb looking nice and festive in his Santa outfit

Caleb looking nice and festive in his Santa outfit

in the front yard. The grandchildren help set up the crèche as well.

On Christmas Eve Caleb and his family enjoy a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by the fire, and Caleb puts out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

On Christmas morning the family enjoys homemade waffles with their favorite toppings and then head to church. All of their family get togethers seem to end in a dance party. (We at danceability can definitely get down with that!)

The Sendziaks’ New Year is just as exciting and they ring in the New Year with a trip to Canalside to skate and ride the ice bikes.

Sounds like the Sendziak’s are definitely ending 2016 on a very positive note!

Nick Hallgren spends the holidays with his family also. Nick’s parents are both the youngest of four children, so there are six sets of aunts and uncles, and many cousins to spend time with.

On Christmas Eve, the Hallgren’s attend Nick’s Grandfather’s church, where they enjoy watching Grandpa sing in the choir, during a beautiful, candlelit service. After church, the family meets up with the rest of Nick’s father’s family for cookies, eggnog, and to exchange gifts. One tradition that is special for Nick is that he always receives a new pillow pet on Christmas Eve – he sleeps with his pillow pet every night! Nick also enjoys playing with his youngest cousins before they head up to bed to wait for Santa.


Nick with one of his pillow pets

On Christmas morning, the family enjoys their traditional egg strata, homemade sticky buns, and opening presents. Nick’s dogs, Halo and Chester, often help Nick open his presents too. Nick still believes in the wonder and magic of Christmas, and Mom and Dad love to see his face first thing on Christmas morning. He always loves all of his gifts, but especially receiving a new snake, action figures, and all things Disney. After a relaxing afternoon of playing with Nick’s new toys, Nick and family head to dinner with mom’s side of the family.

The Hallgren’s also have a special tradition on New Year’s Eve. For the past three years, they have attended a New Year’s Eve Bowling Party at one of the local alleys. Many family members join them to bowl for a couple of hours, have pizza and snacks, and have an early “countdown to New Year’s” for the younger kids, who might not make it to midnight.

Sounds like a great alternative to us!

Taylor McLanahan’s family celebrate Hanukkah, and has eight days of fun. Taylor’s family kicks off the Hanukkah season with a program ran by their synagogue, Beth Tzedek. It is an outreach program for all Jewish people in the greater Buffalo area with special needs. It starts with a short service and a retelling of the Hanukkah story, and culminates in a festive meal including latkes which are potato pancakes.

Taylor’s oldest brother, along with his wife, and Taylor’s niece will be visiting from NYC to celebrate the holiday with his sister and rest of the family.

The family will have a Hanukkah party on Friday for friends and family, and on Saturday 12/24, the family plans on heading down to Ellicottville for some tubing and after an afternoon nap, they will be going out to dinner to celebrate mom’s birthday on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas morning, Taylor and her family are invited to brunch at the home of close friends, and then we will do what every Jewish family does on Christmas Day…a movie and Chinese food for dinner!

Then, the family follows up the end of the eight days with a Hanukkah party at Temple Beth Zion on 12/30 to culminate their holiday celebrations.

A BIG thank you to our danceability families for sharing their traditions with us. We love hearing about how you spend your time outside of the studio, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. Happy Holidays, danceability family!


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