Here at Azamara, we know the holidays look a little different this year for many of you. And while the gatherings may be smaller, our holiday memories play a bigger role than ever before. That’s why we were so happy when our Guest Relations Manager, Rob Doerfler, reached out to ask if he could share one of his most treasured holiday stories with our guests. For Rob, Christmas is his favorite time of year, and this story always puts a smile on his face. We think it’s going to put a smile on your face as well. Here’s Rob to tell you all about it in his own words.
A Month of Christmas
Since I was a child, Christmas has been an important holiday for the family and myself. But it was never just a single day. For us, Christmas was a month’s worth of activities! It always kicked off with decorating every corner of the house the weekend after Thanksgiving. Then, we looked forward to St. Nicolas Day (December 6th). This was the day that St. Nicholas himself would fill our stockings with small gifts. Next would be a day spent baking Christmas cookies with Mom and my Sister — dad would stay out of the kitchen! (Azamara Note: want to do some Christmas baking of your own? Try this Azamazing cookie recipe from Hotel Director Elisabeth Vogel)
The Big Day Approaches
As we counted down the days and Christmas drew closer, the anticipation grew as we wondered what Santa would bring. On Christmas Eve, we would always attend a Catholic church service. Then, when we returned home, we were greeted by gifts under the tree — Santa had come! The gifts were opened while enjoying snacks, including cookies and hot chocolate for the kids (and, of course, some adult beverages for Mom, Dad, and Grandma).
For my family, Christmas day was when we would invite extended family and special friends to a formal dinner. Best of all, these memories were always soundtracked by the best Christmas music. It certainly helps to have a radio DJ for a father!
Keeping Traditions Alive
To this day, most of my family traditions still continue. Although my sister and I have homes of our own, we’ve inherited this special Christmas spirit. And, as you can see from the photos of my house, I still go all out with decorating!
Since I’ve begun working onboard Azamara, these family traditions have changed slightly, but we still maintain most of them. When I’m not onboard our ships at Christmas, you’ll find me at home in Wisconsin. And when I’m at sea, they all join me to share this very important family holiday. While working in the shoreside office before coming to Azamara as Guest Relations Manager, I introduced them to Christmas cruises, and they were hooked! Onboard we created new traditions while still maintaining many of the long-standing ones that started when I was a child. In fact, in 50 years together as a family, we’ve only been apart for Christmas once.
Spreading Holiday Cheer
My holiday celebrations also include my Azamara family! I always enjoy sharing the Christmas spirit with my team and deck the halls of the Guest Relations Desk and the back office. We also have a special holiday party with the team, complete with a secret Santa gift exchange. There’s also Christmas music always playing in the back office. I even have a Christmas tree in my cabin and go all out with decorations!
This year, due to the unusual circumstances, my family has decorated a bit earlier and put extra time and effort into decking the halls for some much-needed joy of the season. We plan on keeping the traditions alive this year and being together for Christmas. However, it will only be our immediate family to keep everyone healthy.
We are especially thankful for our blessings this holiday season and that we can be together once again, all healthy sharing in our much-beloved holiday tradition.
Wishing You All a Happy Holiday Season
We want to thank Rob for sharing his holiday memories with us. Do you have a favorite holiday memory you want to share? We’d love to hear them over on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Thanks for following along with us during an interesting year (to say the least!). We want to wish everyone — from our guests to our crew — a happy and healthy holiday season. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back onboard our ships in 2021!