Tag Archives: Christmas

Giant Turkeys and Lukken’s – Here’s How Franco Does the Holidays

Each family celebrates the holidays in their own, unique (sometimes out-there) way. Here’s how some of our Franco team rings in the yuletide season with their loved ones.

Stephanie Angelyn Casola, Account Manager

Pasta! Is that a tradition? It was if you grew up in the Casola household. The holiday didn’t matter, one thing was certain: there would be pasta. Sure, we had a giant turkey, my mom’s mashed potatoes, cranberries shaped like a can. But even better? My Sicilian born-and-raised father made sure there was also a pot-full of fresh tomato sauce bubbling on the stove to top his cannelloni or spaghetti. If he had time, we started the meal with homemade meatball soup (my sisters and I would battle over who-got-how-many-meatballs). Every holiday morning I dream of waking up to those smells of him cooking in the kitchen.

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Note the caption!

Pat Adanti-Joy, Vice President

There was a local department store in Dearborn by the name of Muirhead’s that had a wonderful, elaborate Christmas exhibit every year. It was a tradition for our family to see Santa there every year.

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If you’re wondering, Pat’s riding shotgun.

Lauren Connor, Assistant Account Executive

When we are sitting around the table after we have finished our meal my dad will put some random item in a box and put it on the table. No one can see inside it and we then go around in a circle asking yes or no questions trying to guess what it is. The items are very random like a pen or a baseball but once someone has figured it out, they get a prize – usually money or a gift card. Last year, it was a gift card to get your car detailed. (I didn’t win and I was super bummed because my car needed it.)

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Mary Parkinson, Assistant Account Executive

A recent tradition my family has started is traveling around the holidays. We have been to New Zealand, Salt Lake City and this year we are heading to Dubai!

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Salt Lake City, 2014

Marie Stawasz, Senior Account Executive

I’m Polish. Polish people love tradition. Pierogi, kielbasa and zupa grzybowa are all part of my family’s Christmas, but another tradition that holds a close place in my heart are my Mimi’s Santa Cookies. These decorated treats are made using Aunt Chick’s cookie cutters, a vintage cutter that my grandma purchased at Hudson’s many years ago. Perfectly decorated with red granulated sugar and fluffy icing, these retro-inspired cookies are always a hit during the holidays – and it’s not hard to see why!

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Notice the fu manchu and unibrow? Mine and my sister’s take on making the cookies more unique. We get our sense of humor from Mimi.

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Joe Ferlito, Account Manager

My uncle raises a turkey each year specifically for Thanksgiving Day. It’s funny because a few years ago, we had a 40 pound bird and it barely fit in the oven… and took forever to cook.

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Sasha Reeves, Assistant Account Executive

The past few Christmases, I’ve prepared some sort of sweet treat, packaged them up in a cute holiday themed tin and delivered them to our police and fire stations for those on duty on Christmas. It’s also nice being able to hand deliver it and thank them for their service that pulls them away from their own families in order to protect our community.

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Alex Fulbright, Digital Marketing Specialist

Each year my parents make me and my siblings wait at the top of our steps as they “see what Santa brought” (We now know that means make coffee, and turn on the 24-7 fireplace channel.) To get a glimpse of the Christmas cheer that exploded in our living room the night before, we would have to ask permission to descend a step. Yes, one step at a time. Sometimes – if we were lucky – we’d get the okay to move down two! Making it to the landing was always an accomplishment, and by then our eagerness usually takes on a new form – frustration. “Can we go down two more stairs, Dad?” we’d yell down. “I don’t know ask your Mom” or the ever-popular “I saw you peeking, move up two stairs” certainly takes its toll on a kid. But it’s all worth it when we get that first glimpse of the tree. Deep gasps all around.

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Note: Yes, even though my sister and I are in our early twenties and my brother is old enough to drive we still have to start at the top step and work our way down. We’ve grown to love it (not to mention almost out-grown the steps between the three of us!) and plan on keeping the tradition alive!

Lori Cook, Office Manager

In my family, every Christmas, we make a Belgian cookie called Lukken.  These cookies look like and taste quite a bit like sugar ice cream cones but are flat discs made one at a time on a metal iron that sits on the stove. It’s a daylong event that begins around 9 a.m. with Grandma Pat, my daughter Michelle, nieces Chris, Sarah, Tracy and Rachel all working together to turn three big bowls of dough into quarter-sized balls that will then be cooked individually.  During the six or so hours it will take we all take turns manning the two irons that have been passed down from my grandparents to my parents. My dad started making these cookies as a boy with his dad.  We take this very seriously and if anyone burns a cookie it comes out of their allotment at the end!

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Sarah Kornacki, Assistant Account Executive

Since my parents always like to buy clothing as Christmas gifts for me and my sisters, every year on Dec. 26, my sisters and I try on and model our new outfits.

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John C. Mozena, Account Director

For us, the holidays involve the kind of organizational planning and negotiations usually associated with a major amphibious invasion. Juggling family, church, school pageants, and work-related events keep my family on their toes. But that makes the time that we do get to spend together (even if it is in the car driving to our next stop) that much more meaningful.

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How does your family celebrate the holidays? Share your traditions in the comments!

The Unseen “Clause” in my Summer Intern Contract

This may shock people that know me, but before I was an ambitious automotive intern with dreams of public relations domination, my original passion was theater. Years of dance lessons, four years of high school theater including ten plays and musicals, community theater, eight years of voice lessons and a brief run at a vocal performance major in college had me looking towards the bright lights of the Metropolitan Opera House and Broadway rather than the headlights of the new Chevy Silverado.

I was told in my interview for Franco to expect the unexpected, that I would have a wide variety of experiences during my time as a summer intern, and inwardly I laughed- after all the crazy parts I’ve played from Mama Morton in Chicago to an institutionalized Lucy of Peanuts fame (she set the Little Red Haired Girl’s hair on fire in a fit of jealousy over Charlie Brown-yes this is a real play) what could they possibly throw at me that was weirder than anything that I’d already done on stage?

Then the phone call came from Dan, “Hey Meg, we’re going to need you to play Santa on live TV today.” Suddenly I found myself watching YouTube clips of professional actors doing their best Ho Ho Ho like Tim Allen’s sassy version from one of my favorite childhood movies (does this count as professional development?).  Add to this an authentic Santa Claus costume from my coworker Marie Stawasz, complete with fake eyebrows and an oddly comforting smell of Polish grandfathers and Stawasz Christmases past. Rosy blush applied from our resident make up expert Elizabeth, newspaper belly stuffing and horn rimmed glasses from Alex and I was ready for my debut.

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I have to admit, even as a “seasoned professional” I was pretty nervous to step into “the beard.” During my character research I had stumbled on Joe’s blog about being Marshall the Molar for Delta Dental; if you’ve never met Joe, let’s just say this guy makes every Disney male hero run for the hills. This guy fishes, hunts, and played a loveable (healthy) tooth, so I knew I was in for a Game of Thrones type battle for Franco Volunteer Mascot domination.

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Public relations, like theater is full of surprises and my road to mascot dominance was anything but simple. Remember the mall Santa from your childhood? That warm and friendly Grandpa-esque figure that seemed so full of Christmas cheer? What you didn’t know at the time was Santa’s cheeks were red not from blush or inner joy but because he was dying of heat exhaustion. Seriously that suit is hot, and not in a Mean Girls “Jingle Bell Rock” way, but a “I feel like I’m in an oven and being cooked from the inside out kind of hot.” Also beards? How do you men do it? Over the course of a few hours I estimate that I accidentally and unwillingly ingested countless stray Santa beard hairs (does this fall under workman’s comp?).

After all of this and the fact that my fellow employees recorded the whole thing and posted it all over social media to live on in Christmas and intern infamy,  I have to admit that I would do it all again in a sweaty Christmas cheer minute. Between the strange looks and reactions from people on the street on the way back to the office to making the news anchors crack up when I gave them a thumbs up as an answer about a potential Tigers win- I wouldn’t trade any of it. Because when you grow up as a theater kid who was better versed in musical soundtracks than current pop hits and you count Yul Brenner and Judy Garland as personal heroes at age seven, the love of performing never truly goes away, even for a PR intern who spends her day researching steel and soft top convertible covers.

There’s a famous quote by William Shakespeare that says something like “All the World’s A Stage,” so taking old Bill’s words to heart, I will continue to seek new and unique “stages” and opportunities during my time here at Franco- who knows maybe next I’ll get to be an Easter bunny in December, after all even Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis had to start somewhere.

Megan Winans is a PR Coordinator for Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5060 or winans@franco.com.

‘Tis the season to be jolly – and healthy

Photo by Nationaal Archief via Flickr.com | Lacing up some old skates and a taking few laps around the pond can help burn extra holiday calories.

The holiday season has kicked off which means plenty of parties where it’s absolutely required to indulge in the abundance of tasty treats. I’m sure you made plans to work it off at the gym over the weekend but after a trip to the local bar with some long lost friends, the work week is back and you just didn’t find the time. Welcome to the holiday health hazard.

Let’s get real, it’s December in Michigan and for the next few months the weather is only going to get worse, the flu and other bugs may invite themselves to parties, and you will be running on empty due to your packed social calendar.

It’s time to add some healthy habits to your holiday to-do list to avoid packing on an extra layer or getting sick this winter.

Here are a few simple suggestions to get you through the season:

Eat healthy

Sure, fast food is quick, convenient and tasty but is it worth sacrificing your health? According to Livestrong.com eating meals loaded with calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt creates nutritional deficiencies, causes weight gain and shortens your life. Take a couple extra minutes each day to pack a healthy lunch. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of burgers and fries. Eating out less will likely ease the burden on your pocketbook, too.

Work it out

Big or small, having a daily exercise routine is key to maintaining a healthy body. This is especially important if you sit at a desk all day like me. As former Franconian Angela Hernandez so eloquently explains in her blog, there are many opportunities to be healthy at work. It’s time to stand up people! Avoid phone calls to coworkers; walk to their desk. Take a stroll during lunch or a periodic lap around the office when you need a break. The opportunities are there, take the initiative and be more active at work.

Wash your hands

According to this Time Magazine article, during the winter people spend more time indoors in close contact with others. This leads to an increased risk of infection from germs and viruses. Wash your hands regularly to help prevent the spread of bacteria and those annoying winter illnesses.

Rest up

Staying healthy might be as simple as getting some rest. The holidays are a hectic time of year filled with late nights at the office, family parties and weekend celebrations. You sacrifice sleep and rely on caffeine to get you through the day. According to hypochondriacs’ favorite website, WebMD, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

So, when you bundle up and head out the door to your next holiday party remember to stay away from the pie, wash your hands, choose celery and make it home in time to watch A Christmas Story while you fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

…and to all a good night!

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com.  Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.

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