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Home for the Holidays, With Carlisle
Remember the folk song, “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…?” The original title of this poem was, “The New England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.” We can’t help but wonder if this little guy was traveling in a sleigh through our corporate hometown of Stoddard in 1844!
Nestled in the forest-covered foothills of lower New Hampshire, with a population of about 1,500, Stoddard seems to encapsulate the essence of this American ditty. That’s why we’ve called upon a few of our Carlisle team members to share their favorite and most cherished ways of celebrating the season. Taking part in our conversation is our Logistics Specialist, Leigh Doody; Hand Finishing Technician, Matt Morin; and Client Partner Manager, Amanda Bemis. Originally from New Hampshire/New England area, they each bring different perspectives to the table, yet their heartstrings all exude the same holiday spirit — one of gratitude and giving…
Join us, as we discuss their favorite holiday traditions:
The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home
Inscribed on an old piece of pine, this little plaque has sat on the back of Matt’s mother’s oven for years. “And it’s so true,” he says. “My favorite holiday moments are congregating in the kitchen while we are preparing dinner. Our background ambience is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV and the kids running around in the other room. My dad is a former chef, so we love to hover while he creates his famous chocolate mousse pie and New York style cheesecake.” These kitchen conversations are often accompanied by coffee and the distinctive smoky aroma of the wood stove. Married with two young kids, ages 8 and 4, Matt embraces the comfort of coming home because it makes him feel like a kid again…
Cheers to All
Leigh also takes to the kitchen, as Thanksgiving has become her favorite holiday to celebrate at home. “It’s a great time for my husband and I (who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!), to focus on spending quality time with our family without the pressure of gifts,” she shares. Cooking and baking for two days, Leigh prepares a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that delights everyone! Her turkey is accompanied by her specialty: a pork, beef, and veal stuffing that has us thinking it may steal the show. She also enjoys experimenting with a new cranberry sauce recipe every year, so there’s always a little something new to try. Making a Thanksgiving toast that includes everyone — all 8 grandchildren, ages 5-18 — is her favorite. “I even give the little kids fancy little champagne glasses filled with sparkling grape juice so we can all toast together,” she shares with a smile.
Sleepless in Stoddard…
On the other side of town, Amanda is more excited about her Black Friday tradition, which is only for the young at heart! “I get really excited about this annual shopping trip,” she confides, finding her peace and joy in the act of giving. “So, me and my sister or girlfriends save our money, cut coupons, and plan for the deals. Then we stay up all night, which allows us time to drive the sometimes-90 minutes to get to the mall by the crack of dawn. That’s when we put our planning into action by power shopping from store to store, relying on Starbucks and the thrill of the race to power thru,” she recollects with a hint of pride.
Starting New Traditions
Amanda continues to share what has evolved into a new tradition. After they get a couple hours of sleep, they go to a local tree farm to carefully select and cut a tree, then adorn it with ornaments she’s collected her entire life (since 1986). “We keep it up through most of January, nourishing it with our secret combo of water and Sprite, which somehow keeps it fresh, longer. And my cats! They love the tree and take up residency underneath as soon as it’s skirted!” This Black Friday/Tree Cutting has become Amanda’s way to kick-off the season with the ones she loves.
And at Carlisle
It’s no surprise that Amanda also heads up the annual Carlisle sponsorship of a local family in need through City Hall. This will be her 5th year in charge and there’s no doubt that this is something the company takes great pride in. “I pick up a hand-written list from a family, from which I make gift tags that are available to everyone here in our offices and the mill. Everyone really takes heart in purchasing their requests, wrapping them, and delivering our bag of gifts back to City Hall,” she shares.
They never meet or see the family, but the experience is enlightening every time, “It’s striking. The things these families are asking for are things that we take for granted, like laundry detergent. Or a mom who wants a haircut. And the kids, they are asking for what every other kid, their age, wants, like Paw Patrol or Princess Sofia. Being able to give them some normal really means a lot to us.”
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Creating legendary floors has been our tradition for over 50 years, and it’s the people behind our works of art that really bring it home. We extend a special thank you to Leigh, Matt, and Amanda for sharing their personal stories, and to the rest of our Carlisle family for embracing this season through gratitude and giving!