Like all of us, the Shaklee Pure Performance Team members relish the holidays and look forward to great holiday traditions, family time, and lasting memories. But it’s often difficult to carve out time for a “traditional” holiday when you’re working toward lofty goals at all times of the year. Their hard work and dedication are worth it, and they often find creative ways to enjoy precious time with family, teammates, or even competitors…from home and abroad. Here are a few of the Shaklee athletes who have shared their holiday traditions with others.
- Kami Craig, Water Polo, 2008 silver medal; 2012, 2016 gold medals
As an elite athlete, time is limited and my family is such an important support system. After the 2012 Games in London, I gifted each family member a handwritten letter that shared what they meant to me. As I sat in our living room Christmas morning, I watched each of my family members cry as my words of gratitude impacted them deeply. From that Christmas on, I have organized an “experience” or “activity” for my family to do together and form memories around! We have enjoyed a cooking class, ice skating, bowling, boat rides, horseback riding…and this year, although they don’t know it, we will be enjoying a special surprise that I won’t be revealing yet, just in case any of them read this! Time, moments, and memories with your family are priceless and the greatest gift of all. Happy Holidays!
- Dani Cameranesi, Hockey, 2018 gold medal
As a hockey player—ever since I was a kid—the holidays have meant holiday tournaments or games. Since my siblings and I graduated from college, we’ve had the luxury of actually seeing each other over breaks. So, the holidays have turned into quite a special time for me and my family, when we can actually all spend time together in the same room (or at the very least, one family member might have to FaceTime in).
- Faye Gulini, Snowboard Cross, 2010, 2014, 2018
Having four siblings, it is not often that we can come together during the year. However, Christmas is the one exception. Since before I was born, my dad has been the Santa Claus at my home resort, Snowbird, Utah. They strap a sleigh to the top of the tram and he rides it down from the top of the mountain while simultaneously launching off fireworks. He then repels out of the bottom of the tram and lands on the tram deck bridge. Kids run over from the tram deck as he “ho, ho, ho’s” while giving all the kids candy canes and humoring their Santa Claus expectations. My nieces and nephew were quick to catch on that Grandpa is Santa Claus. It is, and will always be, the best day of the year.
- Megan Bozek, Hockey, 2014 silver medal
I always bake with my mom. With the busy hockey schedule, she is flying into Toronto to visit so we can keep our tradition going. We bake snickerdoodle cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels, and something different every year. We eat some, bring some to holiday festivities, and give others away to family members and friends who have a sweet tooth!
- Julian Yee, Figure Skating, 2018
My family and I are very much into winter sports, despite coming from a tropical country [Julian is from Malaysia]. So, every Christmas vacation, we love to travel to countries with snow (e.g., Japan, China) for a good ol’ family ski trip. It’s always a great time to bond with my family members—we often celebrate with my cousins as well! No better way to spend Christmas than under snowy skies!
- Aaron Tran, Speed Skating, 2018
My family and I gather for a big meal, just as we do at Thanksgiving, but with different foods of course.
We also have our gift exchange and gift unwrapping after lunch together. We usually let the small children open one present the night before because they usually get a lot of gifts the next day, and they are super eager to open their presents! The gift unwrapping is great fun with a lot of family and our closest friends!
- Ashley Nee, Canoe/Kayak, 2016
A training camp with the National Team usually takes me away from home during Thanksgiving, so I make it a point to be home for Christmas. My family enjoys spending time together and exchanging gifts. Then we start the year off with a New Year’s Day paddle on the Potomac River…no matter how cold the temperature is!
- Lanny Barnes, Biathlon (2006, 2010, 2014) and , Biathlon (2006)
For our entire young adult life, Thanksgiving and Christmas were always on the road, in a hotel or airport, and often in a foreign country. Most of the countries we traveled to didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but oftentimes the hotels tried to replicate it. It was sometimes pretty comical to see what sorts of dishes they would come up with. We spent a lot of Christmases with the Japanese team because they also didn’t have the time or resources to fly all the way home. So, we’d do a gift exchange with them. They didn’t speak much English and our Japanese was pretty bad, so there were generally very few words spoken, but they were so nice and so generous. Everyone from their team (including the coaches and ski wax technicians) would take turns knocking on the door to our room and presenting us with a gift. It was usually something their families had sent them from Japan, like soup packets, teas, candies, etc. Sometimes we’d get a bottle of Coke, or some other random gift. They’d hand it to us and bow and continue bowing while backing up down the hallway. In their culture it’s rude to turn your back, so they’d bow until they got around the corner in the (very long) hallway. Everyone on the team would do this. It was super-surprising and also very sweet of them. We became good friends with the Japanese team over the years.