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Mitnick recalls warm traditions

Editor’s note: The Suffolk News-Herald is sharing Christmas memories of local people throughout the holiday season to promote the Cheer Fund, which collects donations to purchase toys for local children on Christmas.

School Board member David Mitnick recalls warm Christmas traditions marked by the togetherness of family and friends.

His favorite memory of his younger days is when he came home from college for Christmas one year, and his brother was home from the service, as well.

“I think one of my greatest memories is I was in college, and I came home and my brother had just returned from three tours of duty in Vietnam,” Mitnick said.

His brother had taken a photo of the four siblings when they were younger children, blown it up to poster size and hung it over the fireplace, complete with decorations.

“I came home from Christmas and went through the front door, and there it was right there,” Mitnick said.

Mitnick also recalled begging his grandmother for her nut bread recipe, which she eventually passed on. Mitnick’s mother was a nurse and always worked Christmas Eve, so he would wait until she left for work and then make the nut bread.

“Everybody would enjoy it on Christmas Day,” he said. “It was Christmas as a family time.”

Since Mitnick and his wife have been married, they have enjoyed having time for just the two of them on Christmas. They never had any biological children, but since his career was in education and she was a social worker at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, they have always felt surrounded by children.

“Christmas Day is a time for the two of us,” Mitnick said. “We get up and we make the full turkey dinner for the two of us. We open our gifts and spend the day watching Hallmark movies. Usually we go to a friend’s house later in the afternoon, and if we’re not going to friends’, we go to a movie on Christmas Day.”

The couple also keeps up the tradition of sending Christmas cards every year.

Mitnick sent Christmas and New Year’s greetings to readers and said he hopes everyone who is able donates to the Cheer Fund.

“I hope they’ll donate to the Cheer Fund to make some little boy or girl’s Christmas as happy as mine have been,” he said.

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439, or bring it to our office, 130 S. Saratoga St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit the Suffolk Cheer Fund on Facebook to find an online giving link.

We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your photo as you hand it to one of our staff.

For more information on the Cheer Fund, call 934-9609.