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The night before Christmas yields warm family memories for winner of New York Tenors tickets at Saint Mark’s High School

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The New York Tenors, from left, Daniel Rodriguez, Andy Cooney and Christopher Macchio sing during their "Magic of Christmas" show at Salesianum School, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. Dialog photo/Don Blake

Kelli Donovan remembers having to wait for her grandmother to get herself ready before she and her younger brother were allowed to see if Santa made it to their family home as they were growing up.

She also remembers her parents erecting the tree in her family’s home on Christmas Eve and the kids seeing it all decorated for the first time when they awoke Christmas morning. Her parents, Linda and Richard (and presumably some of Santa’s elves), had decorated the tree after the kids were in bed the night before Christmas.

Donovan’s favorite Christmas memory shared with The Dialog earned her two tickets to the “Sights and sounds of Christmas” show with the New York Tenors benefiting Catholic Charities on Dec. 10 at Saint Mark’s High School.

“My favorite Christmas memory as a child was that we were always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve,” Donovan wrote. “Obviously, it was new pajamas so that we looked good for the pictures the next day. Lol! Santa would always make a stop by our house and the rest of the neighborhood houses on Christmas Eve. So awesome! And my parents would put up the tree that night undecorated and when we woke up the next morning, Santa had come and decorated the tree and left us presents. It was a magical time.”

Kelli Donovan

Magic indeed, all through the house.

Donovan, 61, created her own memories raising her four kids in Burlington County, N.J., but not with the Christmas Eve decorating of the tree. She carried on another tradition from her mother, the baking of multiple batches of Christmas cookies for friends and family. Her four children are Catholic school products and Donovan is a former employee of the Catholic Diocese of Camden. Like so many of us, she cherishes her childhood Christmas memories.

“My mom was quite the baker and passed that tradition on to me,” she said.

She said she is happy to have shared that tradition with her kids and five grandkids.

Tickets can be purchased at wilmingtondiocese.simpletix.com. For more information, call (302) 573-3120, ext 645, or email skelton@cdow.org.