Behind the GAVL: 2023 Holiday Edition!

It’s time for another edition of our Behind the GAVL series! Our amazing team members are the blood and energy of GAVL. In this series, we’ll be asking our team a question and sharing their answers. They’ll share great insights about working for the company, the industry, and life in general.

Ready for a peek behind the GAVL?

Last week we asked our team to share their favorite holiday traditions. Here are the answers they shared:

Ryan Raplee
Co-Founder & CEO

“My wife makes the most amazing chex mix you’ll ever try (if you ask nicely she might make some for me to bring to a conference) and is something I look forward to devouring all year. We will also typically order takeout Chinese food on either Christmas Eve or Christmas day, depending on the timing of other family gatherings. I’m also a big fan of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I can’t get enough of Clark Griswold!”

Lucas Hardgrave
Lead Content Writer

“When I was a young kid, my mom crocheted stockings for my family that we’d hang by the fireplace every Christmas. She loved filling them with treats and small gifts that were personal to every family member. Even our cat, Nosey, got a small stocking that was filled with treats. I’ve continued that tradition every year in loving memory of my mom and use those same stockings. Sebastian, my dog, gets treats and toys in his stocking, and Shelby, my cat, gets treats and toys in his. Christmas is the best time for sharing treats with loved ones.”

Justin Lutz
Social Media Manager

“I like to play Feliz Navidad on acoustic guitar to engage family and friends to sing together and have fun.”

Caitlin Lane
Content Writer

“For me, the holidays mean two things: family time and great food. All my favorite holiday traditions revolve around these two things. When my husband and I decorate the tree with our kids, we simmer a pot of apple cider with lots of spices and orange slices that we drink while we hang ornaments. On Christmas Eve, my husband makes up a batch of brioche cinnamon rolls that we stick in the fridge overnight, and then let rise then bake while we open up gifts as a family. And now that both my kids are older, we’re creating a new tradition where they play “Santa” by planning out and filling stockings for one another. But don’t worry, the original Santa of this household still foots the bill.”

Rhonda Jeffers
Content Writer

“Growing up, one of the most memorable traditions around the holidays was visiting Disney World each year. I appreciated how this was a place where I could go and escape reality, and since it was open 365 days per year, everything was normally operating no matter when I visited. While I “grew up” and started traveling to other places as an adult, I have continued to select places to visit around this time of the year that invoke a sense of wonder and curiosity about our wonderful world during some of the most festive times of the year.”

Anna Kosta-Rodriguez
Content Writer

“Growing up on the day after Thanksgiving, my dad would queue up the Christmas music and my parents, brothers and I would go to the Christmas tree farm, cut down our own tree and take it home to decorate. My parents have a small love bird ornament from their first Christmas together and that is always the first ornament on the tree. Now, with my own small family, my husband and I get our girls involved in the decorating and we have a strange mixture of Nightmare Before Christmas and cute penguins. I love seeing how excited my kids get for Christmas.”

Perry Perkins
Content Writer

“When I was a kid, my mom and I would bus to downtown Portland every December to see the decorated windows (animatronics), at Meyer & Franks, ride the monorail through toy town, and then eat at the Newberry’s lunch counter. It was an epic day, lol.”

Mischief Manager

“Bark BARK bark BARK bark barkbarkbark BARK! Ruff ruff!” (loosely translates to: “I want tasty treats!”)