This time of year is always special at Lenz. There’s something different in the air. You can feel it when you walk through our doors. Laughs are heartier, eyes are open wider, steps are lighter, and our trains of thought are admittedly a bit spacier, all because of one thing – the holidays. Get to know the softer side of our team this season as they share their favorite traditions and precious moments.


“At my house, we would always:

  1. Look at holiday lights on Christmas Eve or sing Christmas carols at home or in the neighborhood.
  2. Eat oyster stew on Christmas Eve.
  3. Get to open one present on Christmas Eve.
  4. Set out a note, milk, cookies, and carrot for Santa and reindeer.
  5. Take turns opening one gift at a time in the morning. You had to guess what you thought it was, turning the gift giving into a game.
  6. Wonder why Santa’s gifts didn’t come wrapped. Apparently the guy’s too busy!  In fact, he’s so busy, he would only eat parts of the cookies, and drink only some of milk, and the reindeer would eat only part of the carrot.”

-Richard Lenz, President


“Back when I was 8 my brother Richard gave a gift to my sister Suzan. It was a large box that was fairly heavy. Little did my sister know know that she was the initial recipient of an original Claxton Fruit Cake. It was a great gag gift because that fruit cake was as hard as brick. So of course my sister kept the fruit cake for the next year’s celebration, boxed it in a trick box and gave it to another member of the family. This unopened Claxton Fruit Cake is still hard as a rock and continues to make the rounds through the Lenz family today.”

-John Lenz, Vice President


“My favorite holiday tradition is interacting with my mom during the Christmas season. I’m well into my 30s and she maintains the idea that there’s a Santa Clause. Once, we shopped together for my Christmas gift and I thanked her on the way to the car for my new jacket. She hurriedly stuck the jacket in her trunk, turned to me, and said, “Oh, you want a jacket? Well, we see if Santa thinks you’ve been good.” Without saying another word, she got in her car and drove off. Sure enough, on Christmas morning, the jacket came wrapped, “To Michael, From Santa Claus.””

-Michael Killeen, Vice President of Marketing


“When I was a child, my mother would decorate our tree from the inside out. She would position toys, treats, and decorations on the limbs right next to the trunk, working her way up to the top. Then, when she was done, my sister and I could lie down on the floor, and look up through the tree from the bottom. It was magical sight for a little kid. I’ll never forget that, or all the other little ways Mom made our holidays so special.”

-Cameron Spivey, Creative Director


“The Cushing family tradition around the holiday season is pretty simple: spend Christmas Eve together! Whether that’s congregating with extended family at my parent’s house in Poncey-Highland, or taking a trip down to Fairhope Alabama to visit grandparents, we always make the time to be together.”

-Rachel Cushing, Media Manager


“Because of my family’s Italian heritage, Christmas Eve – with the Feast of the Seven Fishes – has always been a favorite night. While the menu has evolved over the years, it has variously meant appetizers of shrimp cocktail, fried smelts, fried calamari and mozzarella in carozza – an egg-dipped, Italian-style fried cheese sandwich – followed by pasta in a red sauce of mussels, clams, shrimp, stuffed calamari and maybe a lobster claw or two. The final course is one for which my son, a fourth-generation Italian-American, pines: baked stuffed lobster with a crabmeat stuffing. As you can see, food has always been very important in my family, especially around the holidays.”

-John Manasso, Media Relations Manager


“Every year since my three cousins and I were born, my Nana bought us each an ornament to hang on the family tree.This year, she is giving all of our ornaments to us to have for our own trees. I’m sure it will be interesting to see the progression of myself through my grandmother’s eyes and the fortunate feeling of being able to continue to make memories with her.”

-Chelsea Hoag, Media Coordinator


After I came back from my first semester of college, my parents decided they were too tired to make the usual Christmas feast. Little did we know that out of that fatigue would come a new Whitted family tradition. Now, instead of the traditional holiday smorgasbord, we cook finger foods! Every year I look forward to the fruit trays, chicken tenders, fancy cheeses, meatballs, and empanadas.”

-Ivan Whitted II, Account Coordinator