Sharing a family
tradition with friends
The holiday season for many is abundant with food, family and tradition. The Rogers family is no different. Their love for the holidays and their community has prompted them to continue a family tradition of spreading cheer through an annual Christmas Eve open house.
Grant and SuZanne Rogers moved to Omaha from Wisconsin in 1987 and along with their luggage, they brought their joyful memories with them. “Grant and I both grew up in Wisconsin,” said SuZanne. “My parents started a tradition of decorating the house from head to toe for Christmas and having everyone over on Christmas Eve. We moved here and continued the tradition in Omaha.”
The Rogers’ Christmas Eve open house continues to grow, and this year they will welcome more than 200 people into their Indian Creek home for food, laughter, games, and a very special visit from Santa. “It’s been a long standing family tradition,” said SuZanne. “It’s pretty special. He (Santa) just really makes the whole thing come together. Each child, and now teenager, talks with Santa; he reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” All the kids get a little gift too. We make everything ourselves, including the food — except we order in sushi; and everyone leaves the party with a holiday ornament. It’s fun to have everyone in the same place.”
With Grant and SuZanne being the owners of GiGi’s Cupcakes in Village Pointe, a delicious variety of holiday cupcakes makes their appearance at the party too.
The family spends weeks decorating their home, inside and out, and their goal is to get it all done by the weekend before Thanksgiving. Their teenage sons, Jack and Sam, help out before their annual hunting trip. “We try to make it fun and not overly rushed,” said SuZanne. “The boys go deer hunting in Wisconsin and I have my mom, sister and girlfriends come from Wisconsin and Colorado. For four days we do shopping, bake and just do fun girl stuff.”
The Rogers don’t just deck the halls; they deck walls, staircases and the exterior of their home, as well. The holiday decor wouldn’t be complete without their several Christmas trees, all having a different theme. “We have one tree with all the boys’ decorations from school, a patriotic tree, a tinsel tree…there are 10 to 12 trees,” said SuZanne. “One tree is really special; I used to travel a lot for work, I got home late one night and Grant and the boys had put up a giant snowman Christmas tree in our bedroom. It’s a green tree with the snow on it and every ornament is a different kind of snowman. It’s super special. We still put it up every year.”
SuZanne decorates with several items that add a nostalgic, sentimental feel. “We have my dad’s, who has since passed, skates. He was a hockey coach and we have his original hockey skates and my mom’s skates on holiday display.”
With a sweet touch, the Rogers adorn the outside of their home with red and white lights. “The outside of the home is a candy cane theme; our house, the awnings and eves have candy cane lighting,” said SuZanne. “There are candy cane lights down the sidewalk. We do all the decorations ourselves.”
The Rogers family keeps the holiday festivities going all the way through the New Year with an annual ski trip to Avon, CO to visit SuZanne’s sister. Even the family dogs get in on spreading the holiday cheer. “We have therapy dogs, Gracie Girl and Bo Jolly. We visit nursing homes and read with kids, things like that. We normally do that the week before Christmas Eve.”
The holidays are a wonderful time for the Rogers family, and they hope their longtime traditions continue through the years. “We’re big tradition people,” she said. “It’s all something my kids look forward to, and I think they’ll do it with their families someday.”