City Council Members Share Favorite Holiday Memories

The holiday season brings out a bit of the kid in all of us. As we approach Christmas and the new year, some members of Wheeling City Council reflect on and share some of their favorite holiday memories from their youth.

Mayor Glenn Elliott

“My grandmother was simply obsessed with the Festival of Lights and would compel my grandfather to join me and her on an annual driving tour across what seemed like every acre of Oglebay.  I will always treasure those moments sitting in the back seat of her Chevy Caprice wiping the fog off the windows to see those magical light displays while my grandfather complained about the traffic.”

Vice Mayor Chad Thalman

“One of my fondest and earliest memories was when I wanted a horse for Christmas. Not a real horse, but the kind that was attached to a frame with springs. I was pretty young, but I told my parents I wanted the biggest horse I could have. I can still see it sitting in the basement - it was a brown horse on a blue frame. As I got older, my memories are more general, coming down the steps Christmas morning and seeing the Christmas tree surrounded by gifts and spending time with my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.”

Councilor Ben Seidler

“My favorite Christmas tradition is bundling up with some good hot chocolate and taking the family trip to Duplaga’s in Fulton to pick out the perfect Christmas tree and then spending the following evening decorating it.  Even as an adult with my own kids now, this is still my very favorite weekend of the year.” 

Councilor Jerry Sklavounakis

“Like many small children, I went through phases of obsession or infatuation such as wanting to be an ‘army man’ like G.I. Joe or when I first saw Star Wars, all I wanted to do was grow up to be Luke Skywalker. One of my first Christmas memories was wanting anything and everything to do with being a cowboy. I nagged my poor parents about getting a horse, boots and gun. I was blessed enough that my parents came through with a beautiful rocking horse. They also got me a lasso, a toy cap gun, cowboy hat along with my favorite gift - red cowboy boots. According to my family, I didn’t take those boots off for a year. And yes, there are plenty of pictures! After my first child was born one of the very first Christmas gifts my father gave him was a beautiful wooden rocking horse very similar to the one he got me all those years before.”

Councilor Ty Thorngate

“I’ve been truly blessed with countless Christmas memories over the years. Watching A Christmas Story with family, ripping open gifts looking for ‘the one’, eating my weight in shrimp cocktail or trying Cave Club eggnog for the first time. There have been so many Christmases and so many special memories. Now that I am a parent, I am seeing Christmas from the other side and the memories I’m making are a little more like magic. I will never forget the look of wonder and the excitement in my son’s eyes as he walks down the steps to see Santa’s footprints in the living room, gifts under the tree and a plate of cookie crumbs next to the fireplace.”

Councilor Dave Palmer

“Some of my fondest Christmas memories revolve around the Sears Christmas catalog. My father, like many other Wheeling Firefighters, worked part time at Sears on 11th Street in Downtown Wheeling. As soon as the catalog came out, he would bring one home for me and my two brothers to battle over! We would circle our wish list, my parents would send it to Santa and we would wait anxiously until Christmas morning. Two memories really stand out. One was when dad brought home a wrapped gift right after Thanksgiving and put it in my room. He told me I had a month to think about what might be in the box. I never figured it out, but it was a BAJA racetrack equipped with dune buggies. As I reached my early teens, dad brought home a Craftsman toolbox and tool set that he said was for my cousin Rusty. He said he was storing it until Christmas. I never gave it another thought and was shocked when I opened that box! I do believe I still have and use some of those tools today. I am very grateful to have grown in Wheeling with loving parents and two older brothers. I will always cherish the memories of piling into the car and going to Cooey-Bentz to sit on Santa's lap.”

Happy Holidays!

More: City News