Council Christmas Favorites



Holiday films certainly have a place in our culture. When I went to Facebook to ask for your favorite Christmas movie quotes, I got more responses than I knew what to do with! I’ll say that Christmas Vacation, Elf, the Grinch, and Home Alone were certainly the most popular. It’s funny how lines from these holiday movies jump into our heads, whether or not it’s the Christmas season. A few months ago when I put my four-month- old daughter in her pink fuzzy bear suit, we couldn’t help but laugh at how cute and bulky she looked. Her appetite for her fists was as strong as ever, even though she no longer had access to her hands. It reminded us of Ralphie’s brother from A Christmas Story after he was all bundled up to go outside. “I can’t put my arms down!” Other times when I am trying on clothes, I find myself reenacting Jim Carey’s Grinch. “Ooh…. Ahh… Hmmm….That’s it, I’m not going.” Our mayor and city council members have shared a little about themselves and divulged their favorite Christmas movies, holiday treats, movie snacks, and a few family traditions. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to try something new this year!

Do you see one of your favorite Christmas movies? Read on to see which favorite movie our city council selected.

Neal Berube

Neal Berube makes his home-made warm sticky buns specially for the wives of his three sons.

At Mayor Neal Berube’s home, everyone in his family gets a unique t-shirt with some sort of sarcastic saying. It is usually some sort of humorous jab at their profession and they all wear them on Christmas Eve. When they are all together, he makes sausage sandwiches, but he makes his home-made warm sticky buns specially for the wives of his three sons. He has made it a sort of get-away for the moms after they’ve made it through the craziness of Christmas. “The boys get the leftovers, but they’re not warm,” he said with a smile. Mayor Berube enjoys the humor of Will Ferrell in Elf and his go-to snack as he watches it is popcorn with a lot of butter!

Ryan Barker

Ryan Barker’s favorite part about the holiday season is spending time with his family. He doesn’t have a favorite Christmas movie, but he enjoys the movies they watch together as a family like Elf, Polar Express, and Christmas Vacation with his older kids. He enjoys ALL the holiday treats, but if he had to pick a favorite, it would be Chex Muddy buddies. “Whether making [treats] to deliver to neighbors or enjoying what is brought to us, it’s just a fun time of year.”

Charlotte Ekstrom

Charlotte Ekstrom’s favorite holiday movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. “I love the message of the story that an individual can make an immense impact by choosing to do what’s right in seemingly insignificant instances.” The story is about the value of personal sacrifice and the consequences that are not immediately apparent, but are deep and long lasting. “I also love A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Movies are a favorite Ekstrom family activity, so they usually watch a lot of them through the holidays. “We are a family who communicates through movie quotes, song lyrics, and memes. No season is complete without quotes from Elf and A Christmas Story particularly.”

“We also love holiday food!” They snack on her brother Eldon’s homemade candy, Mrs. Cavanaugh’s chocolates, caramel popcorn, candy canes, homemade pies, hot chocolate, and egg nog. Of course, every occasion includes Pizza Man pizza! “We lived in San Antonio for eight years, so we brought some traditions back to Utah. One is a Mexican food dinner for Christmas Eve, which we order from Bella’s and eat with my brother Clark’s family.”

Another holiday tradition is reading the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible, along with other Christmas Stories like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “No holiday is complete without lots of music! Our family members play piano, guitar, violin, and flute, and we also love to sing.” Every Christmas season includes Handel’s Messiah and traditional Christmas carols. “We also try to see lots of light displays!”

This time of year they reflect on their many blessings—faith, country, family, and community.

Phillip Swanson

Phillip Swanson’s favorite movie-watching treats are Milk Duds, Red Vines, Chocolate Covered Raisins, Star Bursts, ice water, and occasionally popcorn. His two favorite movies during the Christmas season are It’s a Wonderful Life, and Elf. “I love the over-the-top Buddy the Elf and his love of the season. It’s fun and silly and doesn’t take itself seriously.” Both movies remind him of the importance of relationships and keeping the child-like spirit of joy. “They remind me of the our individual worth in the world, that we all go through tough times, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel… Sappy, I know, but that’s what I think of.”

Blake Cevering

Blake Cevering enjoys eating Pizzaria Pizza with a Cherry Coke and watching Tim Allen’s Santa Clause trilogy. “Tim Allen all dressed up IS Santa Claus,” said Blake. He loves the moment when he looks like Santa and even his son acknowledges it.

When Blake’s children were little, he and his wife took them to the Layton’s Surf n’ Swim on Christmas Eve. It was a neighborhood affair too, they’d take their children’s friends with them and they would all have a lot of fun. After, they would get dinner at Crown Burger. He and his wife did this intentionally to wipe their kids out so they were too tired to stay up late anticipating Santa’s arrival. It worked out really well.

Cheryl Stoker

Speaking of sappy, the sappy Christmas movies on tv that are oh so predictable are the ones Cheryl Stoker loves best. Her distaste for cooking and her affinity for healthy food makes her favorite movie snack a clear choice. Carrots. She admitted, “I have a saying on my kitchen wall in vinyl that says: The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house.” However, every Christmas morning her family witnesses a Christmas miracle, she cooks her sausage soufflé for breakfast!

She has 5 children, 26 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. Add in the spouses and you can imagine it’s quite the get-together. Some come on Christmas Eve to play games, and others come on Christmas morning, but they usually all come at some point.

When the holidays roll around, the first decoration to emerge is her 3 1/2 ft wood cutout of Santa Claus she painted. The names of her children are painted on his list he is checking twice. Her Christmas clock also brings her joy… but at her children’s expense. It plays a Christmas carol every hour on the hour… even at 3 a.m. “It’s torture-ville for them,” she said as she snickered.

Working together for your community!

One thing is certain, the North Ogden City Council cares about the community they serve and they care about each other. It was fun to see them interact when we took the cover photo for this magazine. If you have a concern, reach out, and participate in their meetings. A couple years back I watched every city council meeting and wrote a synopsis of the discussions and decisions. Trust me, it’s how I knew Councilman Swanson owned that Santa jacket! It’s revealing to see the amount of thought they put into the decisions they make. It has taught me that it’s my civic duty to be aware of what’s happening in the city where I live and to let my voice be heard. If you have a comment, if you see something happening in the city that is going well, or if you see something that needs some attention, let them know. You can watch the meetings live on YouTube, or you can watch them later and turn the speed up to x2 to make them sound like chipmunks. Each of these council members care about you and the city as a whole. I firmly believe that it is at our local government level where we can really make the biggest impact, and personally, I think North Ogden is in good hands.

Merry Christmas!

Click the links below for Council Christmas Favorite Recipes!

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