Holiday Traditions from Our Dairy Ambassadors

Our Dairy Ambassadors have been working like elves all year to promote Indiana dairy farming and foods. How will they and their families celebrate their hard work this holiday season? All five of our Ambassadors will be returning home from Purdue University to celebrate Christmas with their families and here are some of their traditions.

Rachel Haynes of Auburn, Indiana


Growing up on a dairy farm, the cows get milked every single day… holidays are no days off. Christmas was the hardest holiday as a kid because we could see all the goodies under the tree, but chores had to be done first! Its tradition every year my dad wakes up early to get a start on chores, and my brother and I wait, very impatiently, for my mom to wake so we can open our stockings. Once Mom wakes we open just our stockings, trying to negotiate to open anything else before chores are done has never worked. After our stockings are done my brother goes on the farm to start helping with chores and if he is lucky I’ll go with him, but I typically stay inside and help Mom start brunch. Just about time chores are done, brunch is ready, and we sit down and enjoy a nice meal before opening presents.

rachel calf picture

Ashley Binder of Carmel, Indiana


Every year on Christmas morning, we open our stockings and then sit down for breakfast, which we all look forward to. We always have a delicious cheesy egg casserole as well as my personal favorite, coffee cake. This is the one time each year we get this coffee cake, which is super moist from using sour cream in the recipe and a cinnamon butter crumble topping. The coffee cake goes down absolutely perfect when followed by some cold milk because the flavors go so well together. It really is a perfect way to start each Christmas with our family all together.

ashley binder

Erin Will of Poseyville, Indiana


I wouldn’t say I was addicted to Christmas movies when I was little, but I came awfully close. However, I was always confused by one aspect of my favorite childhood movies—why did the kids always run downstairs first thing in the morning to open gifts? Didn’t they know that you have to wait until dad finishes the morning milking before they can start unwrapping? I couldn’t believe it! I later learned that not everyone has 100 head of dairy cattle to take care, even on Christmas morning. As I got older, I was given the task of feeding grain to the calves. So actually now the very first thing I do before gifts — every calf gets an extra scoop of grain on Christmas morning. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without our cows!

Kylei Klein of Connersville, Indiana


After a glorious dinner on December 24th, my parents are never fully ready to whip up another meal the next night. This being said, one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions is ordering Papa John’s Pizza and watching a family movie. There is something about that warm gooey cheese that makes your mouth water. After that, you cannot forget my mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies washed down with an ice cold glass of pure dairy milk.

Morgan Lambrecht of Bedford, Indiana


My dad’s family tradition growing up was that Santa would come in the evening when the boys were helping with milking and the chores. They opened presents when they got back to the house on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning, Grandma cooked while the boys, their dad and their grandpa milked and did the chores. Then, the entire extended family would come over for lunch to celebrate Christmas and their grandfather’s birthday.