TEA News

26 February 2021

TEA Digital Presents: TEA Western Division Hosts - Home for the Holidays

’Twas nine days before Christmas, on the seventh night of Hanukkah…

Every TEA creature was stirring, from Cincinnati to Santa Monica…

Ugly sweaters were worn, hearty beverages were poured…

Thankful to see other humans, everyone’s sick of being bored…

The members were nestled all snug with their friends…

Letting Zoom squares fill in until this damn pandemic ends.



On Wednesday, Dec 16, The TEA Western Division celebrated in true 2020 style with Home for the Holidays, hosted by incoming Western Division Board President Jeff Crocker. Even though this year’s holiday party went virtual, there was no shortage of the typical joyful networking and holiday cheer. As you can see by the graphic above, created by D’Angelo Reyes, this Zoom house was chock full of entertainment. A warm and cozy variety of activities, each with their own breakout room where members could bounce in and out at will.


In Virtual Nog Tasting, hosted by Brett Jackson, all things eggnog dominated the room. Whether giving numerical ratings to store bought eggnogs, or following Robin Skibo-Birney’s recipe for making your own brew, this was a place where the egg held sway. Featuring additional guest discussions by Lacy K Campbell (Artisanal Micro-Nogs of the Pacific Northwest), Erica Schwehr (I like Eggnog a LATTE!), and Jeff Crocker (Nog Reservations: Stories of Holiday Cocktails Past), it’s apparent that eggnog holds a special place in many hearts. The discussion of additions — whether best to add bourbon, or rum, or both, or nothing — will seemingly live on forever.


In Holiday Lights: Tips & Tricks, hosted by Steven Young and Nick Diaz, every question you’ve ever had about your holiday lighting displays were answered. There were discussions about light shape, light intensity, vintage bubble lights, programmable mapped displays, and solar lawn snowflakes. There was even video of some of their programmable lighting work. You name it, this lighting duo talked about it. *Pro tip: the C6 and the C7 light has the same LED inside, but the C6 is smaller, so it will appear much brighter.


Both the Endless Holiday Consumption room, hosted by Lisa J. Schanley and Glen Morris, and the Traditions room, hosted by Tracy Balsz and Tiffany Wolf, focused on lively discussions about everyones different holiday customs. This is where the uniqueness of our different members really shined. While many holiday foods, drinks, and traditions were similar across the board, there were definitely some interesting variations. This ranged from Italian mommas making rigatoni for Christmas Eve to one member admitting her mother made anatomically-correct Gingerbread Men (*writing note: not sure if you want me to include her name, but it was Sarah-Jane, ha).


In both the Gingerbread Houses room, hosted by Sam Lieberstein and Kourtney Day, and the Ugly Mask Party room, hosted by Casie Coddington and Jamie Bartkowicz, the building and crafting side of the holidays were the focus. In this time of Covid, we’re all wearing masks anyway, so why not make them fabulous? There were masks being made with ribbons, bows, and bells, not to mention a few other interesting masks that made appearances, from horses to Inca gods. And as far as the gingerbread houses are concerned, the effort from Sam and Kourtney was incredible, and I think even they were pleased with how they turned out, after some trickiness up front.


Last but not least, in a Cozy Conversation with President Jeff Crocker, members got a chance to chat with the incoming president on numerous topics. The highlights definitely included the many guest appearances by his adorable daughter, and of course his thorough discussion on his holiday vinyl collection. That Six Million Dollar Man Christmas album he shared might just be the most sought-after holiday gift of 2020.


To end, a congrats to Sam Lieberstein for winning the impromptu Ugly Sweater contest with his Mickey Mouse number (with an assist by Kourtney Day, who provided him with the winning sweater.) Overall, it was a good time had by all. 2020 may have kept TEA members away from each other physically, but nothing can keep them apart completely. Hopefully we can all be together again in 2021. Happy holidays everyone. Be safe out there.


Reported By Jeff Dixon

Posted by Sarah Barges



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