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On the Job: How Does Your Company Celebrate the Season?

Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

It’s time to enjoy festive frolics during the holidays. We recently asked area business leaders what their organizations are doing to celebrate.


“We’re going to have a Christmas party at the Bistro 197 in Oswego. This is the first time we’ve had it there.”

— Bridget Baldwin, Bookkeeper, R.J. Caruso Tax & Accounting, Oswego


“We have a Christmas dinner for residents and family members as well as the residents and staff working that day. We’re open 365 days a year, 24/7. We have a party for our staff. People can come and go instead of trying to go to a restaurant and so many can attend. We want to celebrate the holiday, no matter the religion. It’s for everyone.”

— Mary Anne Hankins, Executive director Francis House, Syracuse


“There’s two of us. We order in, so that’s our celebration. We’ll spend some time together and take a break, but nothing major. If we had more people we’d have a big party.”

— Greg Mills, Owner, Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports, Oswego


“We will probably do a luncheon. Traditionally, we try to go out somewhere, like The Coppertop, a restaurant two doors down.”

— Bill Newman, Owner Northeast Decorating, Syracuse


“We’re going to be going out to dinner together. We’ve done it every six or seven years. The staff and employees get together to enjoy a nice evening together.”

— Edward Elsner, Librarian at Oswego Public Library


“We do a dinner out. This year it’s GS Steamers Bar and Grill. They’re in our area and they have a hotel in case there’s anyone from out of town.

— Tammy Eastman, Administrator of human resources and finance, Oswego Valley Insurance Agencies, Fulton


“There’s only three of us here, so every day is a kind of celebration, but usually, we do a nice dinner.”

— Jill Flack, Manager, Riverview Wellness Center, Oswego


“We do a Christmas party with just the staff. We play games and have lunch. We do also exchange gifts.”

— Jackie McLaughlin, Office manager, Robert Berkley Physical Therapy, PC, Oswego


“I don’t have employees, but I do have students and with my students, I do a big Christmas party. I have a whole bunch of games, prizes and because it’s a quilt shop, we do a ‘Sew and Tell’ so they can tell about their quilting projects. We have parties within the groups, too.”

— Robin Hall, Owner of The Robin’s Nest, Fulton


“We haven’t thought about it much yet. Generally, we have an informal gathering in the office. We have eight employees, so we get together right here.”

— Elizabeth Clark, Secretary-treasurer of Sanford & Burtis Fire Equipment, Inc., Fulton


“We will go out to dinner as a group, celebrate our accomplishments, appreciate how many lives we have positively impacted, laugh at funny incidents and think about the upcoming year.”

— David Mirabito, Senior financial services executive, Mirabito Financial Group, Fulton


“We usually take all the employees here out to dinner, along with their spouses to a nice restaurant to treat them. We celebrate the holidays that way. We also do a Christmas meal here at work. The pressure is tough this time of year. We are getting ready for the shutdown season. We have more time off with the crew then.”

— Ray Dubois, Terminal manager, WT Terminal, LLC, Oswego


“We’re doing a Christmas event at Home Team Pub in Liverpool. We want to let our employees know how thankful we are for them and spend time when we’re not talking about business. It’s important.”

— Corey Lawson, Associate broker and office manager, Realty USA


“Our office is having a ‘Christmas Shop’ for our clients. The clients are given special ‘Mentor Dollars’ that they can use to purchase toys for their infants or toddlers and then we will have another room set up that will be household goods, clothing, et cetera. Then they can also purchase some items for their mom, dad, grandma, aunt, significant other, et cetera. We are also having a Christmas party in a couple of weeks at Bridie Manor that will include staff, volunteers and board members as well as their spouses. We will each bring a dish to pass and a white elephant gift to be given through a fun game.”

— Theresa Wilkins, Executive director, The Family Resource Center, Oswego


“We actually just booked today our combined holiday party at Bistro 197 in January so all our employees and tenants can go. It’s a more relaxed time just past the hustle-bustle.”

— Tony Pauldine, Owner of Anthony M. Pauldine General Contractor, Inc. and other businesses, Oswego


“We’re having a little Christmas dinner here at the shop. It keeps ‘em happy. They want wings—a whole bunch of wings.”

— Justin Taber, Owner Torbitt’s Service Center, Oswego


“Here at Felix Schoeller our most important asset is our employees. During the holidays, we like to take a moment to reflect upon the hard work and the people that are on our team. This year we are taking time to celebrate a dedicated workforce, growing customer base, new product line, as well as continued success for almost 60 years. Holiday celebrations can do more than just improve morale in the workplace. By having annual holiday traditions here, we can increase employee motivation and shape a positive culture. In addition, it is an opportunity for us to slow down and show how much we truly appreciate our employees and all that they contribute to the success of our organization!”

— Jessica Kolenda, Human resource manager, Felix Schoeller North America, Inc., Pulaski


“We hold a Christmas lunch right here. It’s catered locally. The caterer varies year by year. We like to spread it around. We want to show our employees our appreciation.”

— Ashley Bevacqua, Office manager, Universal Metal Works, Fulton


“We have a party planned. It’s important to have something like this to show our appreciation. We want to have everyone together outside the work environment.”

— Frank Donaldson, Parts clerk, Vashaw’s Collision Service, Oswego


“We usually do a luncheon and then we normally get a Christmas bonus. We’re here every day with each other. It’s like being a family. We work hard all year so it’s nice to be recognized for that.”

— Lynn Kistner, Travel agent, Canalview Travel Service, Inc, Fulton


“I usually give a huge bonus, and the day off, of course. Depending on when the day falls, I give the day before and after off, too — with pay. I’ve done that for the last 44 years. Before COVID, we did a get-together. But since then, it seems like they don’t want to do it. We’re also a small office and we have one employee who works in South Carolina remotely.”

— Rick Tesoriero, Owner Tesoriero Chiropractic, PC, Oswego