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How Nonotuck Celebrates the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, we asked our community to share their favorite holiday traditions! From movies to pajamas to tasty remembrances of family members, Nonotuck has a rich list of holiday traditions. Read on for more information; if you want to submit yours, email Joshua Murray.


Thom Carey, Care Manager, Harvard

“My Christmas traditions have evolved over the years particularly with a growing family. Each year my wife and I try to squeeze in as many Christmas movies as we can prior to the big day. We get our tree the day after Thanksgiving and put up the lights on the house shortly after. We enjoy playing Christmas music throughout the month of December and on Christmas Eve leave out cookies, milk, and of course carrots for the reindeer. We even leave a thank you note to Santa. On Christmas day we open the gifts and travel locally to my wife's grandparents for a Christmas ham and enjoy family time.”

Ashley LaBossiere, Care Manager, Harvard

“Christmas has become bittersweet for me since my mom passed last year. We come from a big (very loud) Italian family and it was my mom’s job on Christmas to bring the eggplant parmesan and one of three sets of Italian anise cookies. Her sisters made the other two sets and every year they would argue about the nonpareils on top – whether the cookies should be sprinkled or dunked (the sisters were on team dunk, and my mom insisted on sprinkling). I never liked those cookies anyway so it didn’t matter to me. Now, I take pride in making that eggplant and bringing it to my aunt’s house. And even though I never liked those anise cookies, with a grimace on my face, I make them. And you’d better believe I sprinkle.”

Deborah Lawton, Accounts Payable Clerk, Northampton

“We have a tradition of watching every movie adaption of A Christmas Carol that we can find, dating from 1901 to the present. Although I really enjoy all of them, I would have to say my favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol.” 

Joshua Murray, Marketing Coordinator

“Every year, my wife and I have a specific list of Christmas movies we have to watch during the season. We carefully curate the list, adding and cutting as our tastes change over time. I look forward to watching these movies during the only season-appropriate time once a year. Home Alone, Elf, Die Hard (which is a Christmas movie, by the way!) and more.” 

Julia Pitre, Program Director and RN, Auburn 

“In my family Christmas Tree ornaments hold special meaning. They all mostly are something that symbolizes a milestone, special event or memory. And because we are an animal loving family, every pet has given us their love has their own ornament as well. When my husband and I are decorating we quiz each other on each ornament as we put them on the tree to help remember all the fun and special times in our lives during this festive season. We also give a small ornament with some meaning each year to our niece and nephews so they will start off into adulthood with a small collection to start with once they are off on their own. 

Jannelle Robinson, Wellness Coordinator

“There are so many holiday traditions that I love. Since having kids it has been especially fun to share old traditions and create new ones together. I love making peanut butter balls, a delicious family recipe passed down from my Grammy. The taste reminds me of the holidays when I was a child. My favorite new family tradition is wearing matching family pjs on Christmas Eve!”

Patti Ruch, Assistant Program Director, Harvard

“My holiday tradition is driving around the neighborhood looking at Holiday Lights. This is something we did as a family growing up and I am starting the tradition this year with my kids, 2 years and 4 months old.”

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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