December 21, 2023

What's Your Favorite? City Employees Share Holiday Favorites in Movies, Music, Treats

The City's Parks and Recreation Office in Halley Park is adorned in Christmas holiday decorations. The City's Parks and Recreation Office in Halley Park is adorned in Christmas holiday decorations. (City Photo/Shoemaker)



RAPID CITY, SD--When it comes to their favorite Christmas and holiday traditions in movies, music and treats, City employees are very diverse and varied in their selections.

            Last week, City employees were surveyed on their holiday favorites.  It is the fifth time in seven years employees are providing a glimpse into their family favorites, traditions and preferences.

            As with all families, there is quite a diversity when it comes to holiday traditions and favorites.  The City is pleased to share these survey results along with several sentiments from members of our collective family to yours.  Enjoy!


            As a group, City staff mentioned more than 20 holiday-themed movies from black-and-white classics to modern comedies.  More than one in five (21.4%) favor ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ as their most favorite movie to watch at Christmas time.  ‘Home Alone’ was a solid second at nearly 14.3% and ‘Elf’ at 12.9%.  ‘Die Hard’ picked up honorable mention recognition from 7.1% of the respondents.  Filling out the top 10 in Christmas holiday movies to watch, in order: ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘A Christmas Story’, a tie for seventh between ‘The Santa Clause’ and ‘Grinch’ movies, with two black-and-white and one modern classics filling out the top 10 with ‘White Christmas’ and then a tie between ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Polar Express.’

           Michaelia Hagemann of the City Attorney’s Office selected a unique movie favorite, “Ernest Saves Christmas.”  “It’s such a stupid movie, but as a kid, I wanted to BE the Harmony character. She was disgruntled, didn’t believe in Santa, and had (what I thought at the time) to be a killer sense of style,” says Michaelia.

           Rapid City Regional Airport Director Patrick Dame is a fan of ‘Christmas Vacation’, as is Community Development Director Vicki Fisher.

          “It brings back so many happy memories,” Fisher says of the National Lampoon movie classic.  “I can still hear my dad laughing uncontrollably when Clark Griswold rides a round saucer down the hill after putting his company’s lubricant on the bottom of the saucer.  Dad hasn’t been with us for a few years, but we all chime in that dad’s favorite part is coming up.  I think we all laugh a little louder over these silly antics knowing how happy they made dad.”

          Police Chief Don Hedrick, “Die Hard, of course!”.


            Survey respondents have a definite favorite when it comes to their most cherished animated holiday character.  More than a third (35.9%) selected The Grinch as their favorite animated character, followed by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (11.4%) in second.  The Grinch’s dog Max comes in a very respectable third (8.6%) and Santa Claus in fourth (7.1%).  A pair of Rudolph’s pals – Yukon Cornelius and Bumbles the Abominable Snowman – joined Frosty the Snowman with 5% each of the votes.


            As to favorite Christmas movie character, City employees were split on their opinions among numerous characters.  Leading the way was Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold (‘Christmas Vacation’) with 21.4% of the votes, followed closely by Tim Allen’s Santa ‘The Santa Clause’ with 17.1% and Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf in ‘Elf’ with 12.9%.  McCauley Caulkin as Kevin McCallister in ‘Home Alone’ picked up a solid 10.7%.  Rounding out the group: Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie in ‘Christmas Vacation’ with 6.4%, Scrooge actors at 5.7% and actors as ‘The Grinch’ with 5%.


            Ever wonder why there are so many Christmas holiday songs playing on the radio or available for streaming? Maybe it’s because there are so many favorites, it’s hard to choose a single song.  In the survey, a total of 41 different songs were referenced as ‘favorite holiday song’, everything from the very traditional songs like ‘Silent Night’, ‘The First Noel’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ to more contemporary songs.  Leading the crowded field of great holiday songs this year was ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ which was favored by 10% of the respondents.  In second with 7.1% was ‘Carol of the Bells’, with ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ tied with 5% each.  ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘Silent Night’ rounded out the group with considerable attention from voters.

            When it comes to holiday songs, Lorrie Knight of the City’s Public Works Department prefers ‘all the classics. Bing Crosby’. Crosby’s holiday classics were referenced by many respondents.


            Egg Nog, or not? A total of 44.3% of survey respondents like egg nog with 35.7% turning away from the traditional holiday beverage. Another 17% indicate they would drink Egg Nog only if combined with alcohol. 

            “Yes, with and without spirits,” says Melissa Petersen of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

          As to whether they put up stockings as part of in-home holiday decorations, 90% do put up stockings to help observe the holiday with 10 percent indicating they do not.


            When it comes to natural or artificial trees at the Christmas holiday time, a majority (67.1%) display an artificial tree with 25.7% percent putting up a natural tree from the forest.  The remaining 7.3% get their tree from a commercial or non-profit vendor or don’t put up a tree at holiday time.

            As to decorating outside the home for the holidays, a solid 70% indicate they put up outside holiday decorations with 30 percent indicating they do not.


            When it comes to taking down the tree and decorations, 47.1% of survey respondents indicate everything comes down within 1-2 weeks after the holiday.  Another 31.4% have the items down within a week and the remainder leave the tree and decorations up longer than two weeks.

            For Melanie Boken, the decorations come down right after the holidays, with one major exception.

        “All decorations come down the day after Christmas other than the Christmas tree! The tree stays until New Year's day, if you take it down beforehand, bad, bad juju!  Trust me, I have tested it. Tree stays,” says Boken.


            As in previous surveys, City staff provided a virtual smorgasbord of treats, as rich in calories as they are in family tradition. With nearly 40 different treats referenced by respondents, there were a few that stood out. 

        More than one in four (25.7%) picked decorated or homemade sugar cookies.  Another 12.1% selected other kinds of homemade cookies of various varieties as favorite treats.  Homemade treats, candies and treats were referenced by 10%.   Chocolate peanut butter balls were noted by 5%. Lefsa, peanut brittle, fudge, Baklava, prime rib, hot chocolate and Egg Nog each garnered multiple votes.

        For Elaine Leland of the City’s Human Resources Department, a favorite holiday tradition is enjoying hot chocolate while viewing the Christmas holiday lights.

        Rapid City Public Library Director Terri Davis is looking forward to personal holiday favorites of oyster stew and wreath cookies, using her mom’s recipe.

        Rodney Swendener of the City’s Public Works Department shared an iconic scene from a famous Christmas show to emphasize his favorite holiday treat: “A Christmas feat of Roast Beat and a can of Who-hash.  Along with some Who-Pudding, but only just a dash. But the best is the roast beast! Oh my we will feast, feast, feast!!!”….translated – prime rib with all the trimmings.

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