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Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

Posted by Thompson Von Tungeln | Nov 22, 2022 | 0 Comments

We asked around the office for members of the Thompson Von Tungeln team to share some of their favorite holiday traditions this time of year.  Below are a few of the team members' favorite traditions and recipes.

Kevin Von Tungeln, Managing Partner

One of my favorite holiday traditions is that my family goes skiing on New Year's Day. It's one of the best times to go skiing, because most people have been up late the night before and might be hungover on January 1st, so the slopes are empty and it makes for the perfect time to go skiing!  You can catch me and my family on the slopes up in Mammoth!


Sonia Lee, Partner

I really miss Christmas in Hong Kong.  And it is not only because December 24, 25 and 26 are all public holidays. December 26 is Boxing Day. Traditionally, Boxing Day was a holiday to give gifts to the less fortunate, but now people go shopping – my family uses it as an extra rest day. In Hong Kong, they put up beautiful Christmas lights on the skyscrapers lighting up the nightscape of Victoria Harbor and shopping malls are beautifully decorated as well.  We would go to Christmas Eve candlelight service and Christmas service at our church to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.


Sheri DeSantis, Sr. Trust Administration Paralegal

Every year, I plan a special Christmas breakfast.  Last year, it was cappuccino and a traditional Italian breakfast pastry, called Sfogiliatelle (pronounced, “Sfolyatelleh”) which are light crispy pastries made with phyllo dough with a sweet baked ricotta and candied citrus peel filling.  It is traditionally shaped like a wedge or a clam shell. The Italian-American version is called a lobster claw and is filled a choux pastry filling, which is sweet, thick cream filling.  The filling swells up and makes the delicate, crispy outer shell look just like a lobster tail!  The prior year, I made homemade giant cinnamon rolls with soft, fluffy scrambled eggs and Black Forest bacon. 😊


I love to bring this appetizer to a Christmas party!  It looks so pretty with its delicate crust and creamy filling with a spicy kick.  The red, white and green colors of this appetizer make it perfect for the holiday season.  Enjoy!


  • 1 lb. hoop cheese (or ricotta, strained)
  • 1 2.5 oz can of sliced ripe olives
  • 1 4 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 1 lb. chorizo
  • 12 sheets of Phyllo Dough
  • ½ c. of unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ pint sour cream
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced


  • Mix the hoop cheese or ricotta, olives and chiles and set aside.
  • Fry the chorizo and drain it.
  • Brush one sheet of Phyllo Dough with butter, top with another sheet and repeat until you have assembled 6 sheets.  
  • Divide the cheese mixture fourths and the chorizo in half and place thin a strip over the long edge of the phyllo dough sheets.  
  • Place one half of the chorizo over the cheese mixture, then cover the chorizo with another fourth of the cheese mixture.  
  • Roll it jelly-roll style, buttering the ends and flaps.
  • Fold the ends under to make them stick.  
  • Repeat to make a second roll.  
  • Place the rolls seam-side down on a baking sheet, butter the tops, and slash in ¾” intervals, but don't cut the filling.  
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • To serve, add a dollop of sour cream on each slice and a slice of avocado.


Jennifer Cathcart, Probate Paralegal

We have a few Christmas traditions we have at our house. We all pick out a "pressie" (what presents are called in Ireland) to open on Christmas Eve and eat crab legs. We open Christmas crackers (another Irish tradition) at both Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinners and wear our hats, read our jokes, and share our toys for our crackers.

MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY RECIPE: Mimi Café's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce (online) and Homemade Irish Cream


  • 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream or half & half
  • 1 can (14 oz.-395 ml) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1⅔ cup (400 ml) Irish whiskey (Preferably Jameson if you want to keep it truly Irish!)


  • Place the cream, sweetened condensed milk, instant coffee granules, chocolate syrup, vanilla, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
  • Then add the whiskey with the blender going, at a very slow speed, and give it a whirl for a few more seconds.
  • Transfer the Baileys Irish cream into sterilized glass bottles with tight-fitting lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
  • Shake well before use and enjoy!


  • Curdle - High speed will whip/curdle the mixture. We're aiming at just combining the ingredients – use the blender at low speed. If it curdles, strain the liquid through a sieve, then scrape any excess off the top with a spoon.
  • Nutrition Facts: 1 serving = 1 glass / 37 ml.


Bryan Guzman, Paralegal

A huge tradition for me is always buying a physical calendar and setting up the next 4-6 months (including December) up on a wall to look into the future!


Ashley Flores, Legal Assistant

One of my favorite holiday traditions with my family is cooking Mexican comfort food (tamales, posole, and champurrado) and watching movies together!


Alexis Sanchez, Paralegal

My favorite holiday tradition is going on our annual trip to Mammoth Mountain with my family and spending the weekend snowmobiling, snowboarding (done very poorly by me!), sight-seeing and drinking tons of hot cocoa.  My must-have holiday foods include tamales, champurrado, and eggnog! 😊


Melanie Acosta, Client Service Coordinator

For the holidays, my family enjoys looking at the Christmas lights while sipping on hot chocolate and making a birthday cake for Jesus.  On Christmas Eve, we all get some new PJ's and get to open up one gift. 

HOLIDAY RECIPE: Christmas Wreath


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 10-ounce pkg mini marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 5 cups cornflakes
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for your hands
  • Small red cinnamon candies for decoration


  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  • In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat; add marshmallows and cook, stirring, until melted. 
  • Add green food coloring and stir until evenly distributed. 
  • Remove from heat, add cornflakes and stir until well coated.
  • Spray hands with nonstick spray as needed to assist in the shaping of the wreaths. 
  • Take 1/3 cup mixture and form an even log.  Join ends of log together to form a wreath. 
  • Place on prepared baking sheets and decorate with small cinnamon candies. 
  • Let sit to firm before serving.  Enjoy!

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