Collin Davis – SVP/Digital Operations
At Christmas one year (this was the late ‘80s/early ‘90s) my dad had this honking big video camera with an external bulb for lighting. The bulb would get hotter than the sun. My brother and I were under strict instructions never to touch the video camera, but of course we couldn't resist. While playing with it we set it on the carpet and it burned a gigantic black hole in the carpet. We tried every scheme we could come up with to hide the scorched carpet area from our dad, but he eventually found out. It wasn't fun when he did, but the shenanigans and lengths we went to to avoid discovery and punishment is something we laugh about today.
Kevin Barrett – Senior Art Director of Animation
Me and my siblings had an unspoken rule to wake up each other in the middle of the night to see Santa's present. It was always too dark to see, so we had to feel around. It would always wake up mom.
Tuck Oden – Associate Creative Director
Every other year or so my dad's side would gather in Altus, OK. The family would be divided into teams (Elves, Reindeer, Angels, etc.) and those teams would have assignments: prepare dinner, clean up after lunch, etc. Brilliant system for division of labor. Then we would head out into the mountains and forests to explore, bringing home turtle shells, bovine pelvic bones and the occasional collection of cactus needles in an unlucky rear end.
Abygail Thompson – Digital Producer
My cousins and I would always put on reenactment of the nativity scene for our parents. Being the baby of the family, I got to play baby Jesus... for 5 years in a row...
Ryan Winkler Herr – Managing Editor of Special Projects
Every year we played Dirty Santa with my Dad’s side of the family; it got brutal every year. Backdoor alliances, betrayals, tests of loyalty, fallen kingdoms and epic pranks. One year my brother had everyone trading what appeared to be a giant, and I mean GIANT bag of popcorn. After the trading ended, he revealed the $50 gift card inside.
But, as with every family, there were some guests who brought subpar presents every year. They would walk in with their bargain bin gifts, well below the set spending, and walk out with the good stuff. So, after several years of them getting the better of us, we formed a plan.
Now I won’t sell out our ringleader, but you can probably guess who it was. We all had one, unifying mission that year: stick the poor gift givers with their own crap. Through a wily game of math, strategy and cunning, we managed to ensure that entire group walked out with each other’s stuff. And to this day, they could never be sure enough to call us on it. Good thing they don’t read AM Insights.
Bill Winkler – CFO
Sitting around the bar with my mom and dad on Christmas Eve after my children had gone home in anticipation of Santa.
Jesse Davison – Associate Creative Director
This is going to seem odd. But one of my most memorable Christmas Eves was when my dad and my stepdad set their differences aside and got blackout drunk together. They told stories and laughed hysterically together while the rest of us laughed hysterically at them. The next morning, my dad was miserable and my uncle took my younger brother and I to a travel stop Taco Bell where I ate a Mexican pizza for Christmas breakfast.
What makes this special for me is that what would have been an otherwise uncomfortable time between two people I loved instead became a story that would be told with tears of laughter for decades to come.
Amy Hearn – VP/Executive Producer
I don't have a single favorite holiday memory with my family because most of them are special in their own way. But Christmas mornings with my mom and brother. Even though he has his own family now, we still go to my mom's every Christmas morning for breakfast and stockings.
Tyler Petersen – Director of Episodic Programming
I can remember when I started going to college and then coming home for any holiday, it was then when time together really started to make sense. I guess that's not really a fond memory but one that I've held on to.