Holiday Memories w/ Laura of Visit Kenosha

Holiday Memories w/ Laura of Visit Kenosha

The holidays are always very important to small businesses and to show our support we decided to find out what is going on this holiday season at Visit Kenosha as we sit down with Marketing Director Laura Gregorski for this exclusive holiday Q&A.

How is Visit Kenosha preparing for the holiday season?
We have been preparing for the holidays for months. Our team works like Santa’s elves to have the inside scoop on holiday happenings to share with everyone in our community and visitors to the area. From holiday and beautifully decorated storefronts to ice skating and skiing, we are totally ready to explore and share all things Merry and Bright!

Is Visit Kenosha doing anything special for the holidays this year?
We are hosting Bundle Up Kenosha – a winter-wear drive for hats, gloves, coats and more. These items will all be taken to the ELCA Outreach Center to help keep people in Kenosha County warm this holiday. New and gently used items can be donated at a variety of collection points. You can find details at VisitKenosha.comWhat is your overall favorite holiday memory?
My favorite holiday memory is from when I was a little girl. My grandparents lived in Chicago – we would head to the city for a few days before Christmas to bake cookies, visit the light displays at the zoo, and prepare tons of delicious Polish foods. It is fun to help others make memories like that in Kenosha now through events we work with and promote here.

What is your fondest holiday memory growing up in Kenosha?
I was born and raised in Kenosha. I can remember tree lightings, breakfasts with Santa, and getting a fresh Christmas tree from a local family. I think my most favorite Kenosha Christmas memory though, are the years of beautiful decorations at Durkee Mansion. My mom worked at Kemper Center when I was younger, and our neighbor was instrumental in helping with the décor. I always felt like I had the inside scoop on holidays at Kemper. I also loved attending the Madrigal Feasts – my aunt used to teach the fencers. In recent years a friend and I attended and had such a wonderful time eating, caroling, and celebrating the holidays.

Where would your family shop for the holidays when you were a kid?
Andrea’s and Tenuta’s were always staples growing up. I specifically remember Saturday mornings during the holidays seeing beautiful decorations at Andrea’s after ballet class uptown. We would have breakfast at the counter and get amazing treats for our stocking stuffers like Chocolate Santas, ornaments, and small gifts.

What is the best holiday gift you ever received?
When I was graduating college, my aunt gifted me a set of Christmas dishes that belonged to my babci (Polish for grandma). They are so beautiful – with a holly pattern on them. For years, I kept them tucked away safely in my basement storage room to keep them perfect. Last Christmas I got them out and hosted Christmas dinner. To my surprise there were dings and chips on many of them. I was overjoyed thinking of the fabulous gatherings of friends and family that the dishes had seen years before to earn those battle wounds. I became less afraid of using them, and felt more connected to my babci.

What is the worst holiday gift you ever received?
In retrospect, it wasn’t the worst, but as a kid I hated it… gifts of clothes and underwear used to come labeled ‘From Santa’. The good stuff came from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. As an adult, I can appreciate this more knowing the time, resources, and love that go into gift giving, as well as making sure we didn’t brag to friends about how much Santa spoiled us.

Do you think you’re on Santa’s nice list or naughty list this year?
I hope Santa thinks I have been nice! I sure have tried, but I am a redhead, so I can only be so good. 😊When all else fails, I’ll tell Santa that my sister made me do it!

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Q&A by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman
Photos supplied by Laura Gregorski
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