Grindr Employees Share Their Favorite Holiday Traditions
In the spirit of the season, we wanted to share some of the holiday traditions that help us get through the most wonderful—and sometimes most stressful—time of the year. Check out our favorite festive guilty pleasures, family recipes, self-care secrets, Yuletide tunes and more below. Happy holidays from all of us at Grindr!
TRAVIS BRACE, CUSTOMER SUPPORT PROGRAM MANAGER
I absolutely adore the holidays. I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive, enthusiastic family, and insane enough to insist on hosting them year after year for Christmas. As it’s the only holiday my family gathers to celebrate, providing the Christmas House™ is a… stressful undertaking. I do enjoy being the planner of the family (I’ve been “lovingly” nicknamed Drill Sergeant Trav, after my affinity for traditions and agendas), but my favorite tradition doesn’t involve anyone but myself—and Eartha Kitt.
Every Christmas Eve, when not a creature is stirring, I pour a glass (read: bottle) of Lambrusco, slip on a Santa hat, and run a hot bath. While “Santa Baby” plays on repeat, I sit in the tub and do absolutely nothing. And that’s it. That’s the tea, y’all. Even Santa needs some Me Time.
So, this holiday season, remember to give yourself the gift of self-care. No matter your traditions, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is doing whatever you need to be happy and healthy.
ALEX BLACK, HEAD OF MARKETING
My love for Christmas trees goes deep, and the amount of time and thought I put into my bush each year borders on irrational. Two years ago was a tiki-themed tree, with hula grass for the skirt (naturally) and cocktail umbrellas galore. Last year it was a Dolly Parton-themed tree, replete with luscious locks of platinum blond hair, mini-45” records, and little pink guitars.
This year’s theme is She-Devil, and the over-the-top stylings of Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep’s 1989 camp classic will be on full display with romance novel covers, lace doilies, flames, devil horns, and cascading strands of ‘80s power pearls. The only video that makes me feel seen in my tree obsession during the holidays, and one that I cue up each year to get in the spirit (much to my partner’s chagrin), is this hilarious masterpiece by John Roberts.
Written by and starring John Roberts. Directed by Clay Weiner. Edited by Jesse Reisner. DP Drew Denicola. A mom and her christmas tree
ALICE HUNSBERGER, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Piparkökur (Icelandic Black Pepper Gingerbread - vegan)
(recipe adapted from the post punk kitchen vegan gingerbread)
My mother's side of the family is Icelandic and we always enjoy our gingerbread cookies extra-spicy with lots of black pepper. It's not the holiday season without these in our house! You can eat these plain, or ice them and decorate them. I usually use snowflake cookie cutters for these, but if you want to make cute gingerbread people, go all out!
What you’ll need:
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain milk (soy, almond, oat, cow, all work here)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and milk and stir some more.
Add dry ingredients and mix until a stiff dough is formed. Most recipes say to chill the dough, but I never bother and the cookies always end up fine. They're a bit more fiddly to cut out so you need to be careful, but it also means you don't need to wait 2 more hours to eat your cookies!
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your shapes and plonk on your baking sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool - the longer you keep them on the baking sheet while cooling, the more crispy they will get.
MONTY SUWANNUKUL, LEAD PRODUCT DESIGNER
My parents both emigrated from Thailand when they were teenagers, so our holidays were very much a mashup of things they remembered from the homeland and traditions they learned from host families, college friends and next door neighbors. Like the other families in our Northern California suburb, we would have large meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas, often with our own stragglers: a visiting cousin, an old college pal, or, in my adult years, my friends from the city whose families lived too far away.
Every one of these meals has started with what is known as the Crabbatizer, a massive platter of broken-down crab, pounded piece by piece by my dad and organized by limb type. This admittedly macabre scene is served alongside a punishingly delicious spicy sauce made from garlic, chili, lime juice, pepper and fish sauce. Dad says the secret ingredient is a dash of warm water, which is just crazy enough to be true. In past years, these holidays have coincided with the influx of local (and huge) California Dungeness Crab, but this year the crabbing season was pushed back to protect some migrating humpback whales. And so in 2020, we had smaller crabs for our smaller holiday.
STACY BACA, ACCOUNT MANAGER
The Christmas season in our house was always filled with music. Dad would begin dusting off those old records in the first week after Thanksgiving. I have so many good memories of wrapping presents, trimming the tree, making Christmas cookies with Mom and my big bro to these family favorites! Happy Holidays!!!!
ALINA LEBRON, SALESFORCE ADMINISTRATOR
Holidays don't feel right without these 3 things: Christmas trees, proper decor, and saving the best for last...COQUITO! Coquito is the Puerto Rican version of eggnog. It doesn't have eggs, but it sure has lots of rum! Every year, I usually make batches of this delicious drink, put them in decorated mason jars, and hand them out to my closest friends of the year in a Santa hat. No one can resist!
Discover & share this Rum GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.
SHANE WILEY, CHIEF PRIVACY OFFICER
I’ve always loved this time of year because it’s centered on giving to others. Even as a youngster I found myself drawn to what I could give over what presents I received. One of my fondest traditions was established when my nieces and nephews asked for the option to bundle their b-day with Christmas, essentially allowing them to "double up" their budget and go big on Christmas. This put even more pressure on me to make a big impact with their gifts, but I enjoyed the challenge.
Last year the youngest crossed into adulthood, and most of them now have kids of their own, so I focus more on spoiling my mom these days (new iPad this year). I do enjoy a bit of a holiday comfort in eating one of my favorite "bad foods" on this planet: a Kringle!!! Kringles are hand-rolled from Danish pastry dough (wienerbrød dough) that has been rested overnight before shaping, filling, and baking. Many sheets of the flaky dough are layered, then shaped into an oval. After filling with fruit, nut, or other flavor combinations, the pastry is baked and iced. Give yourself and your family a treat this year!
BILL SHAFTON, VP BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS
My holiday heart strings usually resonate on core matters—so connecting with friends and family and other purposeful activities. Hanukkah, known as the Festival of Lights, inevitably inspires me to create new music with the intent of harmonizing with that Light. That, some tennis, and Krispy Kreme donuts will round out what I hope will be a peaceful time for all of us.
The official GIPHY channel for Saturday Night Live. Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c! #SNL
WADDIE GRANT, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
My favorite activity to do during the holiday season, besides attending open buffet and bar events, is going to holiday photo pop-ups in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I find so much creative inspiration when I participate at these pop-ups, in front of or behind the camera phone.
MUNIR ESTEVANE, PRINCIPAL SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Something that I look for during holidays is spending them with close friends—our chosen family.
Recently it has not been so easy to meet in person (we’re pretty spread out geographically), but something that really has helped make pandemic-affected holidays less lonely is Discord, an app that makes it easier to talk, video chat, and hang out with friends.
We get together two or three times a week on Discord for movie watching, game playing, or simply to share photos and chat it up with drinks!
ZAYED KADDOURA, DIRECTOR FP & A
This time of year, for most, is about family and traditions. Growing up in the Middle East, I didn’t celebrate Christmas, and I now live more than eight thousand miles away from home.
The Christmas traditions I celebrate today are ones I’ve formed with what I lovingly refer to as my American family: my college roommate’s parents, who practically adopted me as their own. Allow me to paint a picture: Arab teenager moves to Pennsylvania, knows nobody, joins a fraternity, and ends up with a stocking on the wall and gifts under the Christmas tree of a suburban household.
From my years of celebrating with them, I’ve adopted some of their traditions, like spending the entire day in a onesie, free-flowing mimosas starting at 8:00am, an A+ charcuterie board, gift exchanges, and movie marathons. To help get me through this years’ quarantined Christmas, I fully intend on having my 8:00am mimosa, in a onesie, while I binge watch Desperate Housewives.
JAY SOJKA, ASSOCIATE HR GENERALIST
The Holidays are such a special time to revisit some of my favorite traditions. Despite this year being a much smaller crowd, COVID won’t crush my Christmas spirit. My partner and I still have a large appetite for some mulled wine, Freeform’s 25 days of Christmas movies, and dressing up our pets in cheesy holiday pajamas.