A Camp Daniel Christmas Tradition


Camp NativityAll of us here at Camp Daniel have our own Christmas traditions and those that we share together. Every year, Papa Tony puts out a nativity set in front of the camp office, illuminated through the night.

Staff Christmas party

For several years now, the Camp Daniel staff have gathered for a Christmas party. This year we had a brunch at the Hartley House and a gift exchange.

Gift Exchange 2015

Each staff member drew a name for the gift exchange.

MJ Gift Exchange

Everybody spoiled MJ!

Voting Line

After the party, Camp Daniel hit the voting poles for a local election. MJ was really sad when he got there and wasn’t getting a “boat” ride since we told him we were going to “vote”, which sounded like boat to him.

We like to share some of our Christmas traditions from each of us!

Piantines 1

A long standing tradition in the Piantine family has been to dress up as the different characters in the Nativity. This tradition started from Grandma Jo’s mother, who supplied a box of costumes for her grandchildren. Here you see Little Tony (standing), his sister Lora, and his brother Daniel (whom camp is named after).

Piantine 2

 Here are Little Tony and Lora’s children, carrying out the tradition!


From the Burys….Every year, Jen put up her Christmas village that used to be her Grandma Gruber. On Christmas Eve, they will wind the music box and watch the figure skaters circle the ice. In the distant Gruber family line come the song, Silent Night, composed by Franz Xaver Gruber, making that a special song for them.

White flocked tree

Marceaux remembers growing up flocking their Christmas tree white and decorating with red ornaments. He remembers blowing the flock out of their vacuum cleaner, creating quite a mess. He will always remember the distinct smell of fresh pine and flock!

Trish Tree

Trish’s tradition is to put up a smaller, 6ft tree in her bedroom filled with ornaments from when she grew up. She calls this tree her “childhood tree” and she loves it! (She also puts up her “adult tree” in the living room.)

WHite Christmas

Intern Amanda recalls watching old Christmas cartoons with her younger sister while eating grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup. Over the years, the old VHS tape wore out so they changed their movie to White Christmas!

ham 2

Chalsee’s favorite part about Christmas is being with family. Her favorite Christmas food is ham. Her best Christmas memory was when a family from her church provided them with a Christmas meal. Her favorite Christmas song is Angels We Have Heard On High. Her favorite Christmas movie is The Grinch. Asked if she could be any character present in the Nativity scene who would she be, she chose Mary. A tradition she enjoys is getting together with the Woods family.

Chocolate pie

Richard’s favorite part about Christmas is the presents! His favorite Christmas food is chocolate pie. His favorite Christmas song is I’ll Be Home For Christmas, by Amy Grant. He enjoys buying gifts for others. His favorite movie is Prancer Returns. If he could be any character in the Nativity scene, he would be a wise-man.

Snowball fight

Nick’s favorite part about Christmas is being with family. His favorite Christmas food is sweet potatoes. His favorite Christmas song is Away In A Manger. His favorite Christmas movie is The Grinch. He would be a Shepherd, if he could be in the Nativity scene. A tradition he enjoys is having snowball fights!

peanuts 2

Brian’s favorite part about Christmas is being with family. His favorite Christmas food is apple pie. His favorite Christmas song is Away In A Manger. His favorite Christmas movie is Snoopy. He would be a wise-man in the Nativity scene. His favorite gift he got were tools.

Little Drummer Boy

Jake’s favorite part about Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus. His favorite Christmas food is the turkey dressing. His favorite Christmas song is The Little Drummer Boy. He loves the rhythm of the song and it has always been special to him. Jake’s favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas, since it is a story of family and friendship during the Christmas season. If he could be present in the Nativity scene, he would like to be a shepherd.

Able & LHC Sign

The Mandich family Christmas has everything to do with with coming together as a family. Christmas eve started with the family dressing up for Christmas eve service. Janice would make a special dinner of the kid’s favorite foods, such as barbecue ribs, cheesey potatoes, crescent rolls and green bean casserole. Because the meal was special, they ate in the formal dinning room under the light of candles. Dinner soon gave way the the rush to get things packed away so they could all get to church on time. The service was always uniquely different, with many times the lights dimmed to draw attention to the special singing or production.

After church, there was always the visiting and the wishing of others to have a Merry Christmas. Then they would pack in the car for a short trip to one of Janice’s family members for a Christmas eve celebration. There was always an abundance of Christmas treats to make one full to the point of bursting. When the kids were younger, Santa would would make a grand entrance, handing out gifts for all the kids. When the evening was done, they headed home for some much needed rest before the kids would wake up very early in the morning to begin the process of guessing what was in those neatly wrapped boxes labeled with their name. They always take turns opening gifts and taking photos of all the newly acquired booty. Then, of course, there’s the mess to clean-up before they enjoy some of Janice’s home made cinnamon rolls. The remainder of Christmas was spent visiting with family or hosting family at the house. By the time Christmas day was done, they were ready to get back into their routines of life until new years eve came a week later. And that would be another chance to enjoy more family traditions.

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