Gophers' Holiday Traditions
Leah Cotton shares her holiday traditions.

Dec. 25, 2012

With the holiday season upon us, we each have our own special traditions that we celebrate with family and friends. Whether it's decorating around the house, baking cookies, watching holiday movies or just spending time with the people you love, the holidays are a special time of the year. A few of the Gopher women's basketball players discussed their holiday traditions and their favorite things to do during the season.

Leah Cotton
"Usually when I'm at home, I wake up and my mother has lights everywhere. She has a fetish with snowmen, like snowman kind of trinkets, so there are like 50 snowmen around the house, even little bitty salt and pepper shakers. She always does the tree. It's always red. It's like red ornaments, red everything with lace going down the tree. So I get up acting like a little kid. I get up, open presents, I don't like to wait, so much for all the family coming over. My presents are already opened and then the rest of the family comes over and then everyone else opens their presents. The best part is the food. It's like a huge, I wouldn't say feast, it's not as big as Thanksgiving, but it's pretty big. Between the food, the gifts, and just the family, the love and the atmosphere, that makes Christmas wonderful. Oh and before we open presents somebody always tells the Jesus story and that's always wonderful."

Shayne Mullaney
"On Christmas Eve I always watch Christmas Vacation with my family and always go to my aunts house with my entire family. Christmas day we always have the same routine. We wake up and we can't go downstairs to see the presents until we all line up on the stairs. Then my dad has to have the video camera and all of me and my siblings, when he says `Go' we can run down to see if Santa came. Then we'll get our stockings and eat breakfast and we'll open presents. In the afternoon on Christmas day, my mom's side of the family will come over and we'll celebrate my sister's birthday too because she was born on Christmas, so that's pretty special. We'll have a little birthday part for her that night. I always make these special cookies with my aunt and uncle that are called "Pennies from Heaven", they're pretty tasty, and they're my favorite. One thing that we always do is my mom, me and my sister and nephews always make ginger bread houses which is a blast! We get pretty into it so it's one of my favorite things we do. I think that's about it."



Do you have a most memorable holiday moment?
"Just being together with my family, that's the best part of Christmas. This year, I have two siblings that live in California that will be coming home. The whole family will be together so that will be a lot of fun. I'm most looking forward to my family being together, the food, just relaxing and having a few days off from basketball, I'll really enjoy that!"

Jackie Johnson
"My Christmas traditions are watching Christmas Vacation with my family every year. We also bake Christmas cookies, I make homemade caramels with my mom, and then I usually go to the Holidazzle parade downtown.

Do you have a most memorable gift?
"I would say one of my most memorable gifts was just being able to spend Christmas with my Grandma every year because she passed away a year and half ago. That was memorable because I got to be with her every Christmas."

"Enjoy the season!"

Mikayla Bailey
"Every Christmas I open presents with just my immediate family, my dad, my mom and my brother. Then we go over to my aunt's house and open more gifts and kind of just hang out there for the rest of the day and eat dinner and just celebrate Jesus' birthday. Usually we make a cake for him, it's fun!"

Greatest present you've received?
"I would have to say, probably when I was younger I got this really cool sled because I loved playing in the snow and all that. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, that was probably my most memorable gift."

What are you most looking forward to during the holidays?
"I'm really excited to see my family. They mean so much to me so it will be nice to see them and spend some time with them."

By Kelly Kleine, Athletic Communications Assistant


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