Christmas Memories and Holiday Traditions

Familiar Gallatin faces share their most memorable moments and timeless observances

Joshua Crenshaw

Motor Officer, Hendersonville Police Department

My absolute favorite holiday memory was Christmas 2021! That year, I spent it together with my daughter, little sister and mother. On Christmas Eve, we stayed up all night playing board games, telling whimsical stories and just genuinely enjoying being in each other’s presence. Seeing the smiles on their faces on Christmas Day is what drives me to work harder in life and grants me PURPOSE. As I get older and a bit wiser, I have come to truly believe that the holidays are more about “giving rather than receiving.” Being able to give back to my family simply warms my heart and makes the holidays worthwhile. I pray the joy I have around the holidays is something that all families around Gallatin can experience.

Deanne DeWitt

President, Preservation Foundation of Sumner County

We’ve had some great traditions over the years, some that are still with us and some that have faded with the changing seasons of life. For several years, we loaded up with hot chocolate and drove throughout the neighborhood to pick our favorite light display …and then surprised that homeowner with a prize for winning our private contest. Until very recently, our girls paired up with my parents and had an annual gingerbread-making contest. (Since I was the judge, it was always a tie!) We’ve had short stints of wearing matching pajamas, caroling, seeing the Nutcracker and shopping for after-Christmas deals before the sun rises on December 26th. None of those stuck! There is one constant that has been part of Christmas, even since I was little, which is Swedish cardamom coffee cake. As a recipe that made its way here with my great-grandmother, through Ellis Island to the suburbs of Chicago, it’s always been a highlight of Christmas morning. Making cardamom coffee cake requires lots of love and a whole lot of time – two things we cherish most during the time we spend together during this season!

Shawn and Vicki Fennell

Gallatin City Council Member - At Large

Vicki: After my fall in July of 2023, my perspective on life and how fragile it really is has forever changed. I’ve always been grateful for the life I’ve been given, but I now know how truly blessed I am. Christmas for the Fennell Family looks a little different this year! We’ve added two new additions: twin boys (and what fun they are)! I can only imagine all the excitement and joy they will bring to the family in years to come! Our family quickly grew from 10 to 13 in two short years! The house is full of laughter and love when we are all inside. As I’m sure you can only imagine, I truly believe hearing all the sweet voices of my grandbabies helped in my recovery. Every day is a blessing and I fully want to live every day. Christmas cards, phone calls and notes are all a must! I’ve learned that it’s the small things that matter the most! It’s not the gifts that are beautifully wrapped under the tree; it’s who is gathered around the tree that matters. I want to make memories that our children and grandchildren will remember for years to come.

I hope that they always remember the steak dinner that’s prepared on Christmas Day at Mimi and Pop’s house. This was a tradition that was started many years ago by my dad, Dean Bradley, that I’ve carried on in our home. Thank God for another holiday season because without him, nothing would be possible. Merry Christmas!

Heather Finn

Realtor, The Adcock Group

One of our favorite traditions is our camping trip we take right before Thanksgiving. We load the whole family up (Hayverly, 9, Cami, 7, and our two dogs, Mae and Scout) and stay in a TN State Park cabin for a long weekend. We explore the park during the day on hiking trails and the playground. We'll also take time to make our favorite holiday treats like cinnamon rolls, sausage balls and party mix. The girls enjoy helping with cooking and then their favorite part is snacking once everything is done! We also give the girls their Christmas PJs for the year. At night, we'll wear our PJs, make hot chocolate, play lots of UNO and watch Home Alone. We usually end the trip with a giant family nap in the living room and a night of hot dogs and s'mores around the campfire. We love the quality time and memories made on those trips and look forward to it every year!

John Mediana

CEO, Executive Brand Growth

As the holiday season approaches, my wife Britt and our two young sons, Milo and Kai, have a unique set of traditions that make this time of year truly special to us. One of the highlights is the making of Lefsa, a traditional Norwegian flatbread crafted from potatoes. This is always a family affair, with everyone getting involved. It’s a time when flour-covered hands and giggles fill the kitchen, creating unforgettable memories! Another tradition is our annual breakfast pizza with hash browns and breakfast toppings on Christmas. It's a delicious way to bond over a homemade meal to begin Christmas Day with warmth and joy. Finally, we always select a charitable endeavor to undertake as a family in a way to give back. This season, we chose to serve at a local food bank, extending the spirit of giving and gratitude to those in need.

Scott and Nicole Bell

Owners, Gallatin Lifestyle

Nicole: Our favorite holiday memory has to be Christmas Day, 2019. This was the morning Scott proposed to me and Christmas mornings have been even more special to us since then! After doing our normal Christmas routine and spending time with our two pups, we decided to open gifts. I noticed Scott had walked outside in the cold for a few minutes before this and was on the phone, but he wouldn’t tell me why. I later learned he was on the phone with my parents, wishing them a Merry Christmas and telling them he intended to ask me to marry him and wanted to officially ask for their blessing. My parents adore him, but I love that this was done as a first thought! He came back in, we continued to open gifts, and ultimately, the last gift that Scott gave to me contained a ring, with him on one knee, and me in many tears saying YES! We spent the rest of the day enjoying the moment and calling friends and family to share the good news. We left the next day on a post-engagement celebratory trip to NYC for the weekend to celebrate our engagement by taking in the Christmas sights, seeing the Rockettes, eating some amazing food and dancing the nights away!

On a cold Christmas morning, our engagement turned into one of the most memorable chapters in life.

Related Businesses

Related Articles