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Holiday Spotlight: Mark Lipps

This Manhattan Beach dad is a caterer's widow from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day, when his wife finally takes a break. Her return into his life on Christmas Day is his favorite present.

Name: Mark Lipps
Occupation:  VP/Fox Broadcasting Company

What do you like about the holiday season? Forced family fun. Mostly because our kids' friends are forced to stay home with their families. It’s the one time of year where the family really has no other recourse than to spend some quality time together…of course, that is always much better when a ski slope is involved. 

What don't you like about it? Mixed blessing. My wife owns a catering business, The Ripe Choice. This is her busiest time of year. I am a caterer's widow over the holidays. We lose her right after Thanksgiving and then she pops back into our life on Christmas Day. For me, it’s the best present of all.  

What's your holiday wish for others? Live, love, laugh, give back, for your own safety, stay off the roads when I’m driving. 

If you could give someone in your life whatever gift you wanted to, what would the gift be and who would you give it to? My wife. Anything she wants to be incredibly happy and fully rested 24 hours a day. Objectively speaking, she is the most unconditionally loving person that I know and deserves the best out of life. 

What are your plans for this New Year's Eve? Spend it with the neighbors. We do a progressive house-to-house celebration with a group of families, including any kids who may still want to hang around with us. As we get older, we are considering celebrating midnight on Central Time. So if you hear a lot of celebration, banging of stuff at 10 p.m. on 35th Street that will be us ringing in the New Year.

What will you do on (New Year's Day) Jan. 1 and 2? Every year a group of us on the block jump in the ocean early morning, Jan. 1. That always kicks off the new year with a HELLO 2012 wake-up call. Then it's relaxation time with my wife. This usually involves an overnight getaway to a neighboring resort for a massage, nice dinner and hopefully some respect in the morning. It’s also our anniversary time. AND, we got a December surprise gift from our middle son…a puppy. Fortunately, it looks like it will only cap out at about 150 pounds full grown. 

What stands out to you about 2011, either personally, professionally or in general? Professionally, technology is radically changing how and when we watch TV. Personally, 2011 marks the beginning of the end of losing my youngest son to the “system”…lead-up to high school, girlfriends, socialization, high school coaches. He is very apologetic about it but doesn’t help me. I have space carved out for one last kid adventure in 2012…a baseball trip to Cuba during spring break.     

What is your New Year's Resolution?  Eat, drink, be merry and exercise all year long. Also, because my kids now have a much longer leash, I need to work on finding a hobby. Maybe fine tuning my Happy Friday into a professional looking blog or beginning to write something. It would be nice to do something I’m passionate about that actually makes me money.   

What's your favorite Christmas tradition? Our Christmas dinner with Christmas poppers after the meal. It’s kind of like a mini fireworks celebration at the table. Sometimes dinner is just our family and sometimes another family will join us. Always fun, lots of conversation, lots of eating, drinking and being merry. Of course, the kids are getting older so we now have to handcuff them to the dinner table to prevent them from bolting to meet girlfriends, buddies. We put Ambien in their food. Cuts down on the interaction but keeps them close by. 

What holiday foods do you like? Anything that will fit into my mouth. I especially like lobster over the holidays. 

Is there anyone near and dear to you who wasn't with you for the holidays? Who, and why? Of course I always miss my parents who have passed away. I miss being with my brothers, sister, uncle Mick, cousins and my wife’s family. We do not have immediately family nearby so we always supplement our real family by barging in on neighbors and their families. Absence does makes the heart grow fonder. 

What does Christmas mean to you? For me personally it means we are all together under one roof as a family. Kids home from school or on break from local school. The only time of year it happens. Unlike Thanksgiving, ski week, spring break, summer…even high school coaches don’t have the guts to schedule a game on Christmas.

From Mark: "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and wishing everyone all the best in 2012!

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