Nutty and Sweet Holiday Memory Contest

Click here to learn more about Milwaukee Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

Congratulations to Rosa Loeffelholz, winner of Milwaukee Ballet's Nutty and Sweet Holiday Memory Contest. She will enjoy a $25 gift certificate to the Ballet Boutique in the Marcus Center atrium during performances of The Nutcracker. Read her story, along with other holiday memories below.

Rosa, Musekgo -- Winner!
Growing up poor meant that we didn't get the toys that other kids our age would get. Instead we got the necessities like a new dress to wear to church or a new pair of shoes. I remember one year that we didn't have enough money for a christmas tree, so my dad used his imagination and made our tree out of wire coat hangers. He shaped the wire into a tree and we trimmed it with garland and some old ornaments. It was best looking tree ever. I always tell that story to my daughter when we decorate our tree at home and remind her how fortunate she is to be able to have a real tree.

Doris, Milwaukee
I had moved to Milwaukee from NJ in 1971 and desperately missed my old neighborhood and house. A position appeared in the classifieds which included training in my old city. I spent 3 glorious evenings with my old friends after training each day. And then the job began: running the photo-with-Santa operation at Mayfair Mall. From drunk Santas to theft from the till, from wrong photos per parent to "elves" who didn't fit into the costumes - I suffered through the holiday season. My advice: be careful what you wish for!!

Susan, Milwaukee
My favorite Christmas memory was of my grandmother disappearing on Christmas morning,and going to the basement to make homemade chocolates to bring to our Christmas dinner. She owned a candy shop on 27th & North Avenue during the depression, and she owned all of the copper molds to make homemade chocolates. She would make this candy, chocolate covered nuts, dates, and coconut, then pack it in a large cardboard Gimbels box and bring it to our house. We would eat chocolate all the way through January, often taking a handful after school.

Liza, Waukesha

One of my fondest memories of the holidays is my husband proposing on Dec 23rd. It was not an elaborate event. In fact I am not sure he even planned it. We had only been dating for 2 months and as I was leaving his house he asked me how a May wedding sounded. The next night he gave me two kisses saying the first was because he loved me and the second because he was serious last night. We would not tell anyone for a few days so for our first Christmas together we had a very special secret.

Jennifer Marten, Elkhart Lake
One of my fondest memories is making Christmas cookies with my grandmother. She waited until we arrived on Christmas Eve so that we could help make dozens of cut-out cookies. I remember picking the best ones to leave out for Santa. My grandmother died in 2001, and when my mom asked if there was anything of hers that I really wanted, I asked for her cookie cutters. I now have two children of my own, and each Christmas Eve, we make cookies for Santa using my grandmother's cookie cutters. It almost feels as if she is still her with me.


Paula Herrmann, Racine
My husband and I have 4 kids, so needless to say, odds work in the favor of at least one child being sick with something during the holidays. There are two Christmas's in a row, that I had a child throw up on me during family gift opening. One year, my #2 daughter, right in my just opened present (pajamas). The next year on Christmas Day, during a gift opening, my son, #4, all over my new cashmere sweater, a gift I had opened the night before on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, blahhhhh!


Elizabeth, Waukesha
On Christmas day, I went over to my boyfriend’s house; my boyfriend Barry said he had a gift. I opened the gift. It was a black and white nature calendar. Barry had written on the front, “Places we could get married.” On each month, Barry had drawn us getting married. I was critiquing Barry's drawings and telling him which scenes would work and which wouldn't (my favorite: us getting married in the desert, dressed as cacti). I continued to page through the calendar until I got to December, where Barry wrote, "Will you marry me?" I, of course, said yes!