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Happy Holidaze

By Amanda Ferron

It’s the Holiday season, and I’m not even gonna front… I LOVE the Holidays. I personally celebrate Christmas, but whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or another Holiday, this time of year is special. Filled with magic, tradition, love, and giving. And while a lot of blogs are focused on listing the perfect Canna-gift ideas, I thought I would take my Holiday blog in a slightly different direction… 

We are older now, and I think most of us are at the point where we realize a lot of the magic and wonder of this season we experienced as kids, happened because we were lucky enough to have parents or family members who made it so magical. Those traditions have been passed down, and it’s OUR turn to create that magic with our kids, or our chosen family. In this spirit, Aubrey and I thought it would be fun to ask some of our favorite Cannabis industry folks about their most treasured Holiday traditions. 

My baby in 2018

As wonderful as this time of year can be, it can also be an emotionally tough time. As adults, a lot of us have moved away from our parents and loved ones, or they have passed on… Some have a rough Holiday season for other reasons… Basically, everything that feels sad throughout the year, can feel extra sad around the Holidays. When I start feeling that way, sometimes it helps to carry on those traditions that made me so happy as a child. Putting on an old movie you watched as a kid, or making an old family Christmas cookie recipe… Things like that can lift your spirit, and make you feel close to the people you love, no matter how far away they may be. 

So sit back and relax… Spark up a joint and drink a cup of hot chocolate…

Lets get in the Holiday spirit with some amazing Cannabis industry pros, and their favorite traditions. 

(Also, I DID ask what Canna-gift they would want to find in their stocking as well… Like if Santa was footing the bill, what would you ask for? Because, why not?)

Aubrey with her babies… And those mischievous elves!

Aubrey Amatelli, PayRio Founder/CEO

Let me start this section by saying that on top of being a wonderful person and boss, Aubrey is one AMAZING Mama. It’s one of the things I respect the most about her. She does everything she can to make sure her babies are not only taken care of, but happy and thriving. So I was not surprised by her answer to my “favorite tradition” question.

What is your favorite Holiday tradition? “I think I have to say Elf on the Shelf. Because it brings my kids smiles every morning… And all of the waking up in the middle of the night frantic because I forgot to move the Elves fades away and turns into a big smile on my face too!” Aubrey has 3 amazing kiddos, and of course, that means she has 3 mischievous Elves running around her house every evening. Figuring out what trouble they are going to get into every night is a lot of work… Especially for a business-owning mama who is usually in meetings ALL DAY. That is the Christmas wonder and magic created by Mamas I was talking about earlier!

Canna-gift Aubrey would ask Santa for? “It’s not much, but I am obsessed with Dr. Norms Elderberry Sleep Gummies at the moment… If I woke up to a stocking full of those, I would be SO HAPPY!”

Tim Blake and Bryan Bussey

Bryan Bussey, CEO of WaxNax

I connected with Bryan through his friendship with my boss, the aforementioned super-mama Aubrey Amatelli. Though I am SURE we met before, since he is really close with the Guild Extracts family, who I worked with for years. We had to have met on one of Guild’s legendary cruise nights, but it’s easy to forget names at those parties. Regardless, we’ve reconnected, and Bryan is a sweet man, who is incredibly supportive of Women in the Cannabis space. So naturally, the PayRio team loves him!

What is your favorite Holiday tradition? “Traditions have been a bit in flux since I moved away from my family three years ago. Spending Christmas alone really helps you build and find love for yourself… But one tradition that will never be broken is watching “A Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.” Classic! That movie resonates with me as well… It always makes me feel closer to my Mama, who made us watch that movie the day after Thanksgiving every year growing up. 

Canna-gift Bryan would ask Santa for? “This is hard.. I want so many things that our innovative industry is creating. But I would have to say a new Blazer Big Shot Gt8000 torch! I love dabs!”

Stephanie Shepard and Amanda Ferron at the Golden Paddle Pickleball Tournament, MJBizCon 2023

Stephanie Shepard, Director of Advocacy at Last Prisoner Project

When Aubrey launched PayRio, she did so with the thought of eventually being able to help support Non-profit organizations in the space. When she put me in charge of leading that front, one of the first organizations that came to mind was the Last Prisoner Project. I will be writing a piece highlighting Stephanie and the work she does with LPP very soon, so keep an eye out for that piece! She is an incredible woman, with an important message to share, and you are definitely going to want to read all about her!

What is your favorite Holiday Tradition? “My favorite holiday traditions used to be having brunch with my family on Christmas morning, but since returning home after serving a ten year sentence for cannabis, it’s definitely writing letters with my family to those separated from their loved ones because of cannabis criminalization.” After getting to know her a little, I was not surprised at all by her answer. Her dedication to to her cause it so heartwarming… And the support she offers to those affected by the “War on Drugs” is simply phenomenal.

Canna-gift Stephanie would ask Santa for? “If I could get any Canna-Gift in my stocking this year it would be an Elevate Jane Mimi Clear Glass Water Pipe. She’s sleek and contemporary… just a beautiful piece.”

Pacifica Hot Rodz Classic Car Christmas Parade 2020

As for Me…

My Favorite Holiday Tradition? My favorite tradition is actually a newer one that my Husband started in 2020. We all know, 2020 was crazy. By December, we were all (as in everyone on Earth) feeling pretty rough. My Husband collects Classic American muscle cars, and we belong to a car club called Pacifica Hot Rodz. That December, he went to the group and said “Why don’t we cover our hot rods in Christmas lights, and have a little lighted car parade through town?” The Pacifica Hot Rodz Christmas Cruise is now in its 4th year. We even have a trophy for the best decorated car! Plus, we hold a toy drive for Toys for Tots, which is always wonderful. People from around the Bay Area come and join in… Cars lit up with beautiful, twinkling lights, stereos playing Christmas music… The town of Pacifica, CA sits in their driveways with big smiles on their faces, waving and laughing as we cruise by… It’s truly magical.

Santa is footing the bill, what am I asking for?? This was an easy one for me… I would ask for a Storz and Bicklel Volcano Hybrid. I’ve wanted one of these Volcano vaporizers since I was in High School. Vaping flower out of a Volcano is absolutely delicious. It’s definitely at the top of my wish list!