Rosie on the House shares family, staff holiday traditions

Dec 22, 2022, 3:00 PM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

This time of year, our thoughts turn to family –gatherings, traditions, and the warm memories that surround our thoughts. We want to share some of our families’ and friends’ holiday traditions with y’all in the hopes that they might bring a smile and some cheer to you. Let’s start with Rosie’s remembrance. 

Rosie Romero — “It was me jumping up on the roof, ringing sleigh bells and yelling “HO! HO! HO!” down the chimney, then stomping on the roof as landing reindeer. Our kids all knew that if Santa landed and they weren’t asleep in their beds, he would skip over us. Our house is laid out as such that I could do that and run to the bedroom side of the house, jump to the ground, walk in the back door and run into all the kids screaming down the hall to get in their beds.” 

Jennifer tells us that Rosie provides fresh LSU gear for all of the kids and grandkids, his little Tigers! 

Rosie on the House & Rosie Right Staff 

Rosie on the House and Rosie Right. Remodel. Design. Build. staff share their favorite holiday memories. 

Jenifer Gura – “My favorite Christmas tradition is helping my Grandma Jean make roshkies (it’s a type of cookie/dessert) and potica (a type of bread/dessert) and ravioli. Whenever she would step away from the kitchen, she would tell me to start whistling so that she knew I wasn’t eating the tasty fillings before they made it into the food.” 

Well, Grandma Jean was a sharp lady, for sure! 

Julia Drake – Rosie and Jennifer’s daughter. “My parents were kind enough to move the Christmas celebrations to Christmas Eve morning to accommodate all of the in-laws. I always so appreciated that. Now that we’re out of town and not home often, we usually open Christmas presents in our PJs and have a family game to play with our hot chocolate on Christmas Eve night while we wait for church service. We also set luminaries out to guide Jesus (and Santa) to our home.” 

You can feel the warmth here, and we are sure y’all didn’t go to church services in your PJs. 

Susan Kregar – My family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. My aunt and uncle hosted the most fun Christmas Eve parties. My aunt made Swedish meatballs, a recipe that went with her and I have never been able to replicate. Every holiday must include Double Stuff Oreos and a big bowl of plain and peanut M&Ms. In addition to the fantastic food and merriment, we would play Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories and other popular board games. No one, except me, wants to play the games anymore, but I always make sure the Oreos and M&Ms are plentiful. Great times and wonderful memories.” 

Ahhh, board games. Now that has got to conjure a memory for some of us. 

“We always make latkes,” Susan said. “The crispier the better. It’s a free-for-all when the platter is set on the table. My dad would eat the whole platter if we weren’t quick enough, and then there’d be a chorus of “Dad!”  

Susan and her husband have what they call a “Hanumas Shrub.” It’s a Christmas tree decorated with Christmas and Hanukkah ornaments. 

Jeanice Cady — In our family, Santa’s gifts are always wrapped in red paper. No bows or frills, just solid red with a name taped to it. 

Wish we thought of that! 

Culturally Diverse Christmas & Hanukkah Celebrations 

Romano Klepec — “I was born in Ohio as a first-generation Slovenian/American. My father was from the small farming town of Bela Krajina, Slovenia and my mother was from Zagreb, Croatia.”

He explained that Catholic Slovenians call this time Sveti večer or (Holy Eve). This is when families light three candles, each representing the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost of the Trinity. These candles go into their wheatgrass and offer a warm glow. These candles will symbolize each persona’s soul, and the Christmas tree will receive its first decoration from each family member. Gifts range from a simple apple rolled in newspaper hidden in the harvest barn to a hat, scarf or sweater knitted and given by the grandmothers or mothers of the family. 

Like most European countries, many families and friends celebrate the 24th with a special meal. Depending on the family, they will have some mulled wine that is heated and served with a cinnamon stick. Several types of meats and pastries will be available. Roast meats and pastries like Jen’s potica (a walnut roll with raisins, brown sugar and rum) or Christmas Bread known as “Božični kruh.” Božični kruh, which comes from Germanic traditions, is common. 

“During this time, families will have several activities, depending on how modern they are,” Romano said. “Growing up, I would play old folk songs on my clarinet with my uncle who played his accordion during relatives’ visits on Christmas Eve. Most Catholic Slovenian families attend Midnight Mass and then watch the Pope’s Holy Mass from Rome late into Christmas Day.” 

You can almost see the family in Romano’s memory. 

Another staff member noted that family would exchange gifts on the first night as they lit the first candle on the Menorah. They would pray to express their gratitude to God and then eat “some of the best latkes ever made.” They would add candles every night and on the eighth night, exchange gifts again.  

“In our home, we celebrated fairly traditionally,” said another staffer who also celebrates The Festival of Lights. “We would add candles every night, exchange gifts, and eat traditional foods such as latkes, kugel and sufganiyot. Prayers each night when we added a candle is the way our family rolled!” 

Houses were full this time of year, with Jewish friends and non-Jewish friends. “Everyone loved my mother’s latkes,” said one who was fortunate enough to get her recipe. At these gatherings, they ate traditional foods fried in oil.  

What great times the ROTH staff enjoyed over the years! 

And there it is folks! We hope some if not all these memories and traditions put a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart.  

From our houses to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! 

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.

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Rosie on the House shares family, staff holiday traditions