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Festive & Fierce: 2023 Fierce Winners Share Their Holiday Favorites

Festive & Fierce: 2023 Fierce Winners Share Their Holiday Favorites


2023 Fierce Winners Share Their Holiday Favorites


Christina Ramos

Christina Ramos, Executive Director and administrator at Touching Hearts at Home, says she has OCD- Obsessive Christmas Disorder. “Each holiday season, I always look forward to attending the Ronald McDonald Gingerbread House event and the Touching Hearts at Home Christmas Cookie Competition. It’s also always fun to enjoy the festivities at the annual Miracle location.” (Locations — MIRACLE).

“Christmas also wouldn’t be Christmas without matching holiday pajamas and watching the movie “ELF,” a Christmas classic!” Ramos said. “I also make a signature caviar candy cane and cannoli Ciambella – Italian cake – that are fan favorites at Christmastime.

“And, of course, Jesus is the reason for the season, so attending Christmas Eve mass with family is always very special to me.”


Erin Porter

Erin Porter, PR manager at Gainesville Regional Airport, recalls her favorite holiday memories. “There were so many,” she said. “Winning a play tea set for singing “Jingle Bells” the loudest at age five, getting an EZ Bake Oven that same Christmas, and making homemade lemon ice cream with my dad.

“One particular Christmas,” Porter said, “was a ‘Vagabond Christmas’ in Aspen for ‘people who have a place to go, but know better’ with mandatory caroling, skiing, Secret Santa, tipsiness by noon and moonlight cross-country skiing with headlamps.

“Magical Christmases in Verbier, Switzerland with my mom and in Vail with my sister. Everyone was so merry when I was a flight attendant, working Christmas Day Vail flights! And I can’t forget decorating the gorgeous Dance Alive GNV Tree with Linda Rocha! Too many great times to recall!”


Ronna Jackson

Ronna Jackson, chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 16, shares her time-honored tradition with her daughter. “My favorite holiday time is celebrated by Black Friday shopping with my daughter, a magical night of fun together preparing for our family Christmas celebration.

“We start with our traditional Thanksgiving meal with the family to enjoy. Then we begin our mother/daughter evening out – we go to the stores mapped out by the shopping ads, prioritizing the stores that open first and the best deals. We move onto the mall for those ‘one-day only sales,’ then leave with an overloaded car. We then visit our Secret Santa’s storage place, where we unload and return for more shopping, all while laughing so hard our stomachs hurt.

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“The most cherished memory from this is me, as a mom, pushing the shopping cart in Target with my grown adult daughter in the buggy as everyone in the store enjoyed the laughter. Cherish your memories since, one day that will be all we have left to enjoy.”


Tatila Paul

Program director for the Education Foundation of Alachua County, Tatila Paul shares holiday traditions many can relate to. “One of my favorite holidays is Christmas. Having some time off and spending it with loved ones is so wonderful. We enjoy driving around to see the beautiful Christmas lights and sipping delicious eggnog.

“We love watching classic Christmas movies and getting into the festive spirit while listening to carols on Christmas Day. My husband and I make a point to see all the lights in our area. It’s even more special now that we have two daughters and can share the experience with them.

“For years, I’ve made it a tradition to watch “The Grinch” and “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Day.

“We also enjoy baking and decorating various types of holiday cookies. One unique tradition is eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve and seafood on Christmas Day.”

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