Holiday Reflections from our Team

This is the time of year where everyone is zipping and zooming about when, in fact, it should be a time to slow down to count your blessings. To start the blessings off, this year brought an announcement of an addition to the family. While my granddaughter will not be here until January 2020, we are getting excited. And, we’re honoring the need to slow down. In fact, my daughter and I agreed upon a ‘no gift’ Christmas this year. Getting prepped for a new baby is a lot of work; we really want it to be joyful and not stressful. We are not scrooges at all. We both love Christmas music, Christmas lights and decorations, and time spent with family. 

A second blessing that I’d like to share with you is my acceptance – and graduation from – the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. It was truly an honor to be accepted. And, it was hard work. I learned so much about many different facets of business and got an opportunity to network with some amazing business owners. This picture is from my growth group and represents businesses from 7 different states. 

Holiday Reflections from our Team
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program

Following, you will also find some updates and thoughts on how the DCA Team likes to spend their holidays. We hope you enjoy the notes from our team!  ~Denise 



Holiday Reflections from our Team

Building Excitement and Making Memories
Samantha Robbins 
I think my favorite aspect about Christmas is the anticipation. My parents never made a big show of Christmas when I was growing up. Over the years the kids and I have accumulated little events to pump us up for Christmas. We make reindeer food out of oats and glitter; spreading it the night before. We also partake in the dreaded Elf on the Shelf! I don’t love him, but the kids adore it. We enjoy writing letters to Santa and making him cookies for Christmas eve.  We make it a point to go to literally any Christmas related event we can find. Whether it’s a parade, a tree lighting ceremony, or fair. We attend it all. In a nutshell, my favorite thing about Christmas is building the anticipation for the kids and giving them experiences that they can look back on every year. 


Holiday Reflections from our Team

Calendar Time Capsules
Andrea Braswell 
The turning of the year holds two calendar traditions for me. One tradition I have started with extended family is creating an annual photo calendar of my two little girls. Most of the recipients may only see them once or twice a year in person. I use images I’ve saved just for the occasion that they haven’t seen before! I love that it shows how much they’ve grown in a year. The other tradition is with the immediate family. We look back at the calendar that sits in the kitchen, where notes, appointments, visits, festivals, and daily outings are written down. We talk about our favorite events, what we remember from the past 12 months, what we hope to do again next year. I save my calendars from every year – some are more mundane than others, some hold notes from once-in-a-lifetime events. The memories that these pages captured are a treat to read and reread.   


Holiday Reflections from our Team

Quality Time
Crystal Batignani 
For me, Christmas is all about spending quality time with family. Being far away from most of my family, it’s typically just our immediate family, which is my husband, daughter and myself; and soon to be four of us! We enjoy the day of munching on snacks, baking cookies, and cooking. If there’s snow, we typically go sledding, and always enjoy driving around town to view Christmas lights while drinking hot cocoa. A pretty typical and laid-back holiday!



Holiday Reflections from our Team

Growing Up, Not Apart
Melissa Pluchos 
For our family, Christmas 2011 included not only a new house but also 8-month old twins.  We were still juggling sleep, feeding schedules, and hoping to avoid too many germs during flu season, so the babies did not visit Santa during their first Christmas that year.  But alas, Christmas 2012 included a cry-filled visit to Santa during a brunch event with my local Mothers of Multiples group.  It was a group that became my source of advice, friendship, and many playdates during the toddler years.  Over the years, these twin mom friendships continued but my children’s friendships evolved into those based on school classmates and activities.  We still enjoy visiting that very same Santa Claus each December and catching up with familiar parents and twins we have known over the years.  We share what is on the list for Santa that year and remark about how big the kids have become.  Each year my family puts a photo ornament of the Santa visit on our Christmas tree, symbolizing our belief in the magic of the holiday and the journey of childhood. 


Holiday Reflections from our Team

Redefining the Holidays
Deanne Duncan 

Throughout the years, Christmas has always been a difficult time for me. I am far more in the Scrooge camp than anything, though having children has changed that for me. See, they have that spark, that magic in their eyes about Christmas that makes the holiday enjoyable. They want to decorate the tree and set out the lights. They automatically make it fun. My children can pull me from the depths of my Scroogeness to really enjoy the holiday again, simply because they have that spark. This is why my favorite way to spend Christmas is with my little family. Sitting around a tree, hearing my oldest exclaim that Santa has come and enjoyed the cookies we baked the last night, delicious chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa in the morning. It’s the little things, the happy memories I create with them that will forever supersede any negative ones I had previously. Through them, I am creating positive, happy memories and I cannot be grateful enough to be afforded that opportunity. 


Holiday Reflections from our Team

The Importance of Christmas Eve
Nicole Kurtz Smith 
Like many families in the United States, I share custody of my sons with their father, my ex-husband, and like many families, Christmas day, December 25th, is an important day for unwrapping gifts, sharing meals, and laughter with family and friends. For my sons and I, the night before, Christmas Eve, has become one of great importance. It is this night, we unwrap presents, eat a delicious meal, play games, and share laughter. I still travel to my ex-husband’s home on the big day, but the night before allows me and my sons time alone, that’s just ours. Alone. My mother, their grandmother, and my new husband, of course, will soon join in this tradition of Christmas Eve celebration. After all, it is of great importance to me.


Holiday Reflections from our Team

Dinner and a Movie
Wendy Casto 
Our family Christmas tradition is that we make appetizer foods for dinner on Christmas Eve and sit down and eat together as a family. Then, we spend our time watching the Polar Express around the cozy fire. This movie is an absolute must, as it always captivates us all, no matter how young or old we are. 


Holiday Reflections from our Team

We Grew by Two Feet
Seda Yoruk 

The years seem to go by faster each time around.  Towards the end of the year I like to look back and reflect on what I have accomplished, and areas that I can improve on for the upcoming year.  This year was one of the best ones yet as our family grew and our son, Selim Batu Yoruk, was born in June. I was also blessed enough to quit my full-time teaching job and start working with DCA as of October 2019.  Now, I will focus on advancing myself and raising my son in the upcoming year.  Happy Holidays!


Holiday Reflections from our Team

A Homemade Holiday
Sarah Fralin 
Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart. My mom always made something out of nothing. We grew up with little, but she always kept an innovative and creative eye by finding ways to make the most of our holidays. From making homemade ornaments and homemade wrapping paper to her legendary sweet treats, her ability to create the magic at Christmas made for many wonderful memories. To this day, I find myself aiming to do the same for my family. I might not be as clever or creative, but I aim to make the same magic for my children. Even if it comes out more nailed it. Christmas has become so much more enriching without focusing on things. Laughing, creating, making a mess; focusing on the moments that will be in our memories forever is a treasure to my soul.