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What Are You Planning to Do to Celebrate the Holidays?

Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

With less than a few weeks until the holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving, many are considering now what they plan to do to celebrate with customers and employees and to promote their organizations. To an extent, the pandemic has affected plans for some.

“We are having a virtual year-end event that will connect the entire C&S team to celebrate project excellence recognition and awards we received throughout the year and honor significant employee achievements and career milestones. We will also be making our annual holiday Food Bank donations to our communities where we have offices across the country. This is consistent with what we have done in previous years with the exception of eliminating year-end event office gatherings due to COVID-19.”

John D. Trimble
President & CEO, C&S Companies, Syracuse

“We plan a holiday party just after the new year to not interfere with the busy lives we all lead. It gives time to relax and enjoy the time. We are not changing plans so far and hope the next few months find us back to a more normal situation.”

Tony Pauldine
Owner, Anthony M. Pauldine General Contractors Inc., Oswego

“We haven’t decided yet. We normally have a little cocktail hour for employees and clients. At this point, I doubt we’ll do it. We’ll probably do Christmas cards.”

Brenda Weissenberg
Owner, Affordable Business Solutions, Central Square

“I don’t have anything planned and I’m a little leery as I don’t know what the holiday will be like. A lot of people can’t go anywhere, so if it’s like in May for Mother’s Day — they might order flowers for delivery as a gift. This last Mother’s Day was my best ever. I’ve been in business since 2009.”

Gail Jones,
Owner Devine Designs by Gail, Fulton

“We usually do a luncheon for our staff. They prefer something during the day, so that’s our Christmas party. We do a secret Santa every year. For clients, we send out a holiday card. It won’t be anything more than we normally do.”

Lesley Wilcox
A La Carte Business Service and Arete HCM Solutions, Syracuse

“At this point, I don’t see any changes other than the Fort Brewerton Greater Oneida Lake Chamber of Commerce might not have their normal Christmas function. I’m a board member. For the dental office, we’ll probably do something for Christmas here. We’re all tested and checked and at this point, we’re healthy. We also have to abide by the guidelines.”

Daniel Walsh
Dentist, Central Square Family Chiropractic, Central Square

“In normal times, we do a mailing in early January to let customers know what’s available. We’ve also developed email lists that we email to. This year, I have it penciled in for January. We’ll see how it pans out. We really don’t know this time what we’ll be doing. It’s difficult to say.”

Richard ONeil
Owner, Travel Choice, Syracuse

“We do gift card sales for every $25, get $5 free. We launch that on Black Friday and just before Christmas. We have a pretty crazy holiday rush for haircuts.”

Anthony Nappa
Owner, Saving Face Barbershop, Syracuse, Manlius and Saratoga Springs

“I’m not doing a lot of promotion as I’ve got more work than I can handle. I’m blessed that I have a lot of business. Anyone in the construction industry is doing well.

Bob Flemming
Owner, Bob Flemming Windows and Doors, Brewerton

“As we are a promotional products supplier, we sell and use many items, like pens, pads, pizza cutters, USB readers, and mugs throughout the year. We cut back but now are doing the same as normal.”

John M. Henry
Owner, Speedway Press, Mitchell Printing & Mailing Inc. and The Phoenix Press, Oswego

“We know some customers are still concerned about getting out and about so we want to make this holiday season as easy as possible to shop for the special kids in your life. We will be adding this option to our website to create a custom Santa Sack that can be customized for any child at any price point, that can be delivered to their doorstep or available for pick up in the shop.  Orders for custom Santa Sacks — purchased toys packaged in a holiday gift bag — can be made on our website or by calling the shop. We have been working hard to get all of our toys added online and also have expanded our online gift registry to include all toys, games and activities.”

Lisa Emmons
Owner, Mother Earth Baby and Curious Kidz, Oswego

“Eastern Shore Associates will be having an employee luncheon this year in lieu of the Christmas dinner as years past just to change events up a bit. We had our annual event with guests this past summer. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to attend due to the COVID-19 situation; however, for those who were able to attend it was enjoyable. We are ramping up now different events to raise money for charities for the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. We usually provide Thanksgiving dinner to a family and also the same at Christmas time. We have charity baskets for sale at the ESA offices. The raffle will be held November 17. Tickets are available to the public and may be purchased through an ESA employee.”

Regina Lunkenheimer
Chief operations officer, Eastern Shore Associates, Fulton

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented Oswego County Opportunities with many unprecedented challenges. One of the most difficult of these has been the high costs associated with coronavirus, tapping our resources at the very time when we cannot hold our major fundraising events. And yet, never has it been more important to provide our wide array of human services to help the most vulnerable and needy among us bridge the gaps and overcome the barriers they face on the path to self-sufficiency.

“The upcoming Giving Thanks event is being held on Friday, Nov. 6, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. streamed live on Facebook at There are many exciting activities happening during the event, including an art auction, entertainment, and food and beverage pairings.”

Bridget Dolbear
Development coordinator, Oswego County Opportunities, Oswego

“I have in the past taken party trays from Price Chopper to my customers and I imagine I’ll do the same. I usually do that the week before Christmas to let them know I appreciate their business. I sell heating and plumbing equipment, which serves an essential service. My business has not diminished. COVID hasn’t changed my approach to the holidays at all.”

John Zanewych,
owner Big John Sales, Oswego  

“There’s only four of us here. We work a half-day just before Christmas and have lunch for everyone. We’ve done it for 30 years. It would be different if we had something like 50 employees. We’re trying some direct mailing and things like that to promote sales. We usually do school sports, so that’s been not happening for the year.”

Tom Brady,
owner Fulton Screen Printing, Fulton