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Share what you’re grateful for this holiday season


Submit your favorite traditions, recipes, or sentiments here or use the #MACPAgrateful hashtag to be featured.


New Year’s Day Tradition

Submitted by Jackie Brown, CEO MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for traditions that bring joy and hope. I grew up in the South – my mom was from Louisiana and my dad from Mississippi. New Year’s Day was a favorite for me because we enjoyed foods with a purpose. It was a nice way to end the holidays and to think about the year ahead with hope for prosperity.

The traditional foods we ate were pork roast, cabbage and/or collard greens, cornbread and black eyed peas . . . they are my favorite!

There’s evidence that people ate black-eyed peas for luck as early as 500 A.D. as a part of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. But the tradition of eating black-eyed peas with rice is African in origin. I find the rice is necessary because the saltiness of the seasonings and bacon can be too much for some. Southerners are known for a heavy hand with salt!

Good news is, they are super easy to make.

Here’s my recipe: Black-Eyed Peas 

Traditions That Bring Us Together

Submitted by Amy Puente, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for having family nearby to be with each year around the holidays. Life is so busy that even though we all live close to one another, it’s the holiday season and our traditions that bring us together this time of year.

Thanksgiving is my favorite time to gather with family and friends, watch football, enjoy all the delicious food and truly recognize how grateful we are for so many blessings.

Speaking of food, it’s only at Thanksgiving that I indulge in having sweet potato pie (with brown sugar and pecans) and a few slices of apple pie over the holiday. Everyone brings their signature or favorite dish. I make sure to make the sweet potato and apple pie because I’ll definitely be enjoying them!

Here’s my sweet potato recipe

Love While You Can, And Be Grateful

Submitted by Bill Sheridan, MACPA

I’m grateful for family this year. I lost a sister in June, a sibling my age who died of COVID. The pain of that loss is indescribable. And yet … I have four other siblings who bring me joy, and peace, and laughter, and love, every day. It’s our first without her, but the memories remain, and I’m grateful for them … and for the rest of my family who are still here with me. I’m eternally grateful for the time I’ve had with my lost sister, and for the time I have to come with my remaining siblings. Don’t EVER take time for granted.

Love while you can, and be grateful for that time. Enjoy each day, friends, because each day is a gift worthy of our gratitude.

"I'm Thankful for... Mommy"

Submitted by Lauren McDonough, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for my family and all the smiles we get to share together. This time of year is so fun! Yesterday, my son came home with a Thanksgiving placemat that he made during Pre-K, at the top, it said, “I’m Thankful for… Mommy”.

My favorite family tradition is baking and decorating cookies with my kids on Christmas Eve, I have a 1, 4, and 6 year old. We leave them out for Santa and give them to family members on Christmas day. We make sugar cookies and cream cheese frosting from scratch. It’s the one day of the year we completely destroy the kitchen, I’m talking eggs dropped on the floor by tiny hands and cookie dough on the ceiling from the mixers going too fast. There’s flour, sprinkles, and about 20 different colors of frosting everywhere. It’s messy, but so much fun and I look forward to it each Christmas Eve!

Here’s my Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Listening to Greek Music, Cooking, and Baking

Submitted by Lexy Kessler

The day before Thanksgiving is a favorite for me!

I love to bake but rarely take time to do it. During the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, I make the time because my family enjoys what I prepare and I have a blast doing it.

So my favorite tradition is spending the day before turkey day listening to Greek music, cooking and baking. It really puts me in the holiday mood!

Enjoy the day and happy holidays all!

Health, Family, Friends, and Time Together

Submitted by Cora Edward, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for the health of my family and all of the wonderful chances to laugh and have fun.

My son’s family moved back to Maryland after many years out of state just last year. We take every moment we can to get together and have family time!

I have so much to be grateful for it’s hard to pick just one thing! Health, Family, friends and time together are just the best!

Every year my sister and I cross stitch little Christmas ornaments for each of the kids, grandkids and grandnieces! Just a little love to share the miles and smiles!

Grateful for Being Grateful

Submitted by Val Venus

I am grateful for being grateful. It’s the Monday after thanksgiving and I m still thankful. I’m thankful for a place of work where I don’t have to dread Mondays, thankful for health where I can get up and do the things that make me happy, thankful for family that lives close by that I can see regularly.

Two Thanksgiving Celebrations

Submitted by Laura Swann, MACPA

Thanksgiving Tradition: When I think of holiday traditions, I am grateful to be the youngest of 7 children. Our family was big to start with and being the youngest, some of my siblings were already married and having children of their own while I was still a teenager living at home. We wanted to share Thanksgiving together but as more and more in-laws were being added, it was hard to get everyone together at the same time and on the same day; there were more and more “other-side” of the families and schedules to work with.

At some point, it became a tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving on the Saturday after, instead of on the day of. This gave us all a chance to be together without having to leave early and without questioning when and where we would be. Two Thanksgiving celebrations with all the trimmings are always better than one, right?!

I inherited a love for pie from my mom and dad, and especially our homemade pie crust, often made at the eleventh hour (literally 11:00 pm). So many varieties of fruit pies, from the traditional apple and pumpkin, to black & blue (blackberry & blueberry), sweet potato, and cheese pie but my favorite has always been chocolate pie.

Chocolate Pie Recipe

Family and Traditions

Submitted by Kelly Brown, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for family and traditions. Every year I bake Chocolate Snowflake cookies during the holidays, which reminds me of my childhood. My love of baking started when I was very young, my grandmother “Granny” was an incredible baker and had a heart of gold. My Granny would spend hours teaching me and my sister how to bake, along with sharing stories of her childhood.

These are a family favorite at my home.

Chocolate Snowflake Cookies

Love This Time of Year!

Submitted by Natalie Antonakas, MACPA

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year! It is all about food and family for us! The kids and I bake the night before and spend Thanksgiving morning cooking while watching the parade. We wait for our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to join us. It is always a fun time! Once everyone leaves that evening we pick out a holiday movie to watch. Love this time of year!!

Family, Friends, Clients, Colleagues

Submitted by Stacey Milbourne, MACPA

Over the past 7+ years, it’s been a long haul for me. I’ve lost most of the close relatives of my family, including my mother and father. I was also the caretaker for both Mom and Dad, and it’s a thankless job in one sense, being that you know the final outcome will not be a good one. The satisfaction comes from giving them as much time here as possible, and making the final journey as easy and comfortable as you can.

What I am grateful for is for friends that understand your situation, help as much as possible, and are always there for moral support. I’m grateful for the other caretakers who assisted me during this time. I’ve often wondered how I would have made it without them. Caretaking is a thankless job sometimes, but it is one of the most noble things one can do – help another person get through life until their final departure.

I’m grateful for my clients. While some can be difficult, the vast majority have been understanding and, in many cases, helpful as well. (Some have even asked if I would do the same things for them! I’ve told them I will “advise and consent” but not take full charge – twice in one lifetime is enough!)

Finally, I’m grateful for my colleagues and the people at MACPA. They have been totally understanding of my situation and willing to provide help and support when needed or asked for. We can’t ask for better people in our organization. Even though we lost Tom Hood this year (actually, we didn’t lose him – just like George Jefferson, he “moved on up to that big, deluxe apartment in the sky” called the AICPA!), the staff kept right on “keeping on” and are still doing a fantastic job! So, I’d urge everyone to give a big “shout out” to the staff at MACPA, and let’s get back to “life as normal” in 2022.

More Compassionate, Human Centered and Better People

Submitted by Samantha Bowling

It has been a really tough two years for everyone and I am grateful for the love and support of my husband, friends, family, and my Garbelman Winslow CPAs team. We have lost loved ones during this time and overcome so many challenges together. It is times like these that make you appreciate the people that surround you.

We were grateful to have a new CPA this year. Marietou Yao completed her master’s degree and the CPA exam all during COVID-19. This is something that does not happen very often in a small firm. We were honored to celebrate her and all new CPAs at the MACPA Swearing-in Ceremony.

The important thing to take away from the past two years is that we all have become a little bit more compassionate, human centered and better people. I hope we all remain this way.

Supporting Part of Other People's Lives

Submitted by Karl Ahlrichs

Being human, with all of the rights and responsibilities that brings. And learning that the best thing of all is having the chance to be a supporting part of other people’s lives, just as your parents and grandparents and family did that for you. #MACPAgrateful.

People Were Warm and Inviting

Submitted by Kimberly Mustard

Six years ago, when preparing for Christmas and going about our normal holiday traditions, I did not anticipate losing my Mom. In an effort to try to brighten our holidays, my husband searched for “something” to cheer me up. He ended up finding this random live nativity along the roadside, about an hour from our home. The people were warm and inviting. It was just what I needed. We re-visit every year and love having this as part of our holiday traditions.

Remembering Past Traditions and Making New Ones

Submitted by Dee Sullivan, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for… family, remembering past traditions and making new ones.

Growing up in the military we always traveled to visit family during Thanksgiving and around Christmas. Traveling to visit family pretty much was our wonderful family tradition. As the family has spread even further away and the matriarchs and patriarchs have passed on, those have become treasured memories.

Now I am grateful for my wonderful husband of 10 years. He loves Christmas – Christmas movies, Christmas music… Over the years we’ve started a few traditions of our own, including baking. He is a great cook and baker and I know the holidays are here when he pulls out the Joy of Cooking book (to make his yummy gingerbread men) and his Grandma Hall’s banana bread recipe. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but I love this little square with the original recipe she typed for him…it’s a lovely memory of a past tradition we carry on.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and all the best in health and happiness in the new year!

Banana Bread by Grandma Hall recipe

Special Memories

Submitted by Rebekah Brown, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for…passing down traditions and starting new ones.

My grandmother would take my sister and me each year to pick out a new ornament. When my niece was born, that tradition was passed down and my grandmother took my niece, her great-granddaughter. When my grandmother passed on to glory this year, I decided to carry on the tradition.

I am so very grateful for the special memories I have from my time with my grandmother and am blessed to have such a close relationship with my niece to make special memories with her. Seeing Christmas through her eyes has brought a whole new joy to this time of year.

#AuntLife is the best life.

Grateful For The Life I Have

Submitted by Jessica McClain

I am #MACPAgrateful for life. I am grateful for the life that I have. I am grateful for the life I brought into the world this year. These four letters mean so much as you only get to live them one time, and we must all make the best of it. So if you are reading this post, be thankful for the life you have as many did not make it to live and experience today!

Family, Friends, and Faith

Submitted by Margaret DeRoose, MACPA

I am #MACPAgrateful for family, friends and faith. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful family and good friends. Together we celebrate the good times and help each other through the tough times.

I have recently been promoted to ‘Gram’ and there are no words to describe that joy! My heart is full! One Christmas tradition we enjoy is going to a tree farm and cutting down our Christmas tree. We started doing this 27 years ago (for my daughter’s first Christmas).

Our family has grown over the years and now we get together and cut down 3 Christmas trees. Another tradition that is important to my family is taking time to count our blessings and give back during the holidays by volunteering/serving others.

Christmas Memories Last a Lifetime

Submitted by Chris Dougherty, MACPA

“Christmas Presents Come and Go, Christmas Memories Last a Lifetime”

Christmas is the time of year when I think back and remember those we have loved and lost and all the memories they have made with us. Then I turn around, and make new memories with my children and grandchildren.

This may sound silly, but I also look for signs that our loved ones are still with us. A song, a movie, a cardinal….they can all bring a smile to my face as they trigger a special memory! Savor every moment, you are creating a memory for tomorrow!

Submit what you’re #MACPAgrateful for here:

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