HighCraft Holiday Traditions

Family is important to us at HighCraft. So when it comes to family holiday traditions and stories, you can imagine we have oodles to share. From cookie baking to nutcrackers and everything in between, here are a few family favorites … from our homes to yours.

Kira Koldeway, Design Manager


“It’s really hard to be gluten free at Christmas! Every year my mom makes green Christmas tree spritz cookies in mass. They will always be a holiday staple.”

>> buttery spritz cookie recipe


Shann Kettle, Project Planner


“One of my favorite family holiday traditions:  we always open one gift on Christmas Eve and it is always new PJs. One year after my kids were grown, I thought that it wasn’t necessary anymore and didn’t do it. I was in big trouble with them because no one had brought PJs – the tradition was so ingrained! Needless to say, the tradition is alive and well today. The only difference is now my grown children have kids of their own, so each young family takes care of their own PJs.”


Elisa Soth (wife of Bryan Soth, Owner)

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“Bryan and I moved to Colorado in 1998. Chiara was a baby and we had no extended family here. We met a group of other ‘transplant’ families who had children about the same age as Chiara. Younger siblings were all born around the same time as Lili, so she also developed her own little group of friends. We forged friendships with a lot of these families that continue to this day.

Without family nearby, we realized that we would need to create our own traditions to make our holidays feel special. So we started getting together with these friends for birthdays and other special occasions, including Christmas Eve.

In 2001, we began hosting a Christmas Eve open house for anyone who was available. Each year, guests vary, but a core group of neighbors join us every year. When the kids were little the event was over by 9pm so everyone could go home and get ready for Santa. Our kids are older now, some even have graduated from college and live far away. Still, on Christmas Eve, everyone joins us for a dinner buffet, festive beverages and maybe even a little dancing!

This year is poignant for me because it’s Chiara’s last year of high school. She and all of her play-group friends will go off to college in the fall. I’m really looking forward to this Christmas Eve because a huge number of these ‘original’ friends are going to be celebrating with us on Wednesday. It will be so fun to see where these young adults are planning to go to school and to hear their hopes and dreams.

Each year I give the kids an ornament. There are some who have all 13 to add to their own trees as they go out into the world and start their own traditions.”


Ute Vandenberghe, Interior Designer


“We cherish our Nutcracker collection. It started with a couple of traditional nutcrackers, but when my daughters danced ballet and were part of the Longmont Dance Theatre’s yearly Nutcracker production, I gave them a nutcracker representing their part in this Christmas ballet.

Our collection includes a Mouse King, party girl and boy, Chinese dancers, gingerbread cookies, a Merliton and even Clara. I took some of the nutcrackers apart – painted them, sewed jackets, glued  accessories and added wigs. When my daughters got more involved in high school sports, I added cross country runners and volleyball players to the collection.

Each year we add a few new ones with special meaning. Last year, we found a French nutcracker with a beret holding a baguette and a glass of red wine, and a German with his beer, pretzel and sausages. This year we came along a cool cowboy nutcracker – after all we have been living in Colorado for 18 years now.”


Becky Jensen, Marketing Coordinator

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“This is a fairly new tradition I started with a friend of mine in 2013, but I’m planning to do it again this year with my boyfriend. On Christmas Eve, we head downtown with a sharpie marker, rubber bands, some paper and handful of $5 bills. As we sit and enjoy a pint together, we write notes like:

Roses are red,
Christmas is near.
Here’s five bucks
to spread a little cheer.

Roses are red,
beer is yummy.
Here’s five bucks
to put a pint in your tummy.

Then we roll a five-dollar bill inside each note, and walk around rubber-banding the notes to bike handles all over downtown Fort Collins. It’s fun and reminds us that even small gestures can lift spirits.”


Katie Read, Office Administrator

HighCraft-02-21-14-Katie-0017-R-Webelf shelf

“Our family does the Elf on the Shelf every year. Little Jingles shows up on December 1st to watch over Dean and Bella and makes sure they are being good! Every night he goes back to Santa and gives him a full report. When he gets back he’s feeling a little frisky from his travels and does some pretty weird and mischievous things. Then, on Christmas Eve he goes back to the North Pole until it’s time for him to spy on our family the following year.”


Alex Inman, Assistant Project Manager

milk cookies santa
“As a kid we lived about a nine-hour drive away from our extended family whom we would visit every Christmas. Because of the distance, we always left the morning of Christmas Eve and never had Christmas morning at home to open all of Santa’s presents. But Santa knew our travel plans and would deliver our presents a few days early – which thrilled us and made us feel extra special – and it helped him out too because it meant fewer deliveries the night of Christmas Eve!”