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Holiday Favorites

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Christina Giunta-Quarino

Head of Marketing and Communications, New York Red Bulls

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: Go to NFL games my dad [Peter Giunta] is coaching around Christmas. It’s been 30 seasons now that I’ve been lucky enough to watch my dad do what he loves at one of the best times of the year.

Favorite Holiday Sports Souvenir: Taking my dad to the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on New Years Day in 2016. My dad loves hockey and is a longtime Bruins fan who grew up in Salem playing hockey. Loved that I got to take him to his first Winter Classic and he got to see some of the Bruins’ legends at the alumni game the day before. An honorable mention would be the New Orleans Saints Christmas Game last year, where our whole family gathered to cheer on my dad, the Saints and [Alvin] Kamara’s six TD performance!

How I spend my vacation: My husband, Mike, and I will be in New Orleans to visit my parents for Christmas. We started new traditions in New Orleans, like charcoal grilled oysters and going to see the lights in City Park! We’ll be wearing our black and gold at the Superdome for the Saints game on Monday night, December 27!

Favorite family tradition: I was fortunate to have parents who introduced special Christmas traditions – driving around the neighborhood watching Christmas lights while listening to music on Christmas Eve and our matching pajamas are one of my all-time favorite traditions. Most importantly, my parents always taught me the importance of giving back over the holidays, so my mom and I will be going shopping for gifts for those who have submitted wish lists through their local nonprofits.

Julie Alexandria

Co-host, La Vida Baseball and the “Locker Room Talk” podcast

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: The bowl of roses.

Favorite memory of holiday sports: I remember going to the Rose Parade once when I was a kid, and then we watched the game; something so magical about this stadium for me.

How I spend my vacation: This year we are planning to vacation home again, but if a swell appears off the Mexican coast we may need to catch a flight!

Favorite family tradition: Celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah as I come from a bicultural background and really appreciate being able to pass the traditions on to my 3 year old son, Kingston.

Katie Lavin

Vice-President of Marketing, National Lacrosse League

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: NFL Christmas Day Game

Favorite Holiday Sports Souvenir: Who can forget Santa Claus at the Veterans stadium? Oh, Philly fans.

How I spend my vacation: With family and friends, enjoy baby’s first Christmas.

Favorite family tradition: Opening a gift on Christmas Eve.

Jené Elzie

Director of Growth, Athletes First Partners

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: NBA Christmas Day games. Basketball for 16 hours …

Favorite Holiday Sports Souvenir: December 21, 2000, Oakland Arena – Stanford Men’s Basketball 15 points, Buzzer victory over Duke at the Pete Newell Classic. I can still feel the rafters shaking.

How I spend my vacation: Enjoying every moment with the family, we don’t see enough during the year.

Favorite family tradition: A pajamas and hot chocolate-fueled observation of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (stop-motion animation at its best).

Carla Varriale Barker

Chairman, Sports, Recreation and Entertainment Group, Segal McCambridge; professor, Columbia university

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: We snuggle up and watch F1!

Favorite Holiday Sports Souvenir: Watching my husband, JW, and brother-in-law scream for hours at NBA games on TV (guys, they can’t hear you!).

How I spend my vacation: In Los Angeles with my husband, maybe a motorbike ride if the weather permits.

Favorite family tradition: We KITCHEN, my husband is an artist and his creativity spills over into the kitchen. Shopping, preparing, presenting the festive meal for the family with him is priceless.

Kevin walker

Global Head of Cultural and Consumer Knowledge, CAA Brand Consulting

Favorite Holiday Sporting Event: The peak of the holidays, for me, is meeting with the Walker side of the family over a meal to watch our beloved Dallas Cowboys play.

Favorite Holiday Sports Souvenir: My fondest sporting memory is going to the Dr Pepper basketball tournament with my father, who is now deceased, and my uncles to see the best DFW high school teams play. (DFW HS basketball is supreme!)

How I spend my vacation: During this holiday season, I plan to take some time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. But what I’m really looking forward to is my brother and sister-in-law’s annual vacation dinner, where they take the bill for dinner and drinks for everyone involved! MDR!

Favorite family tradition: In recent years, the holidays have taken on a whole new meaning. As a single person with no children, my nephews are the center of my life. My girlfriend also has two children and seven grandchildren, whom I all adore. I love my family and extended family, and for me, it’s a time to connect and be happy and grateful.