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Profiles in Pay: Holiday celebrations

Three of our jolliest Amazon Pay team members get nostalgic about their favorite traditions of the season.

In our latest employee profile series, three Amazonians share some of their favorite holiday traditions and cherished memories of the season. From lights and panettone to Christmas casseroles and the sweet smell of cookies in the oven, they also told us about what they’re looking forward to most this year.

Get to know Amazon Pay team members Jason Pan, Ceryll Duller, and Austin Esry as they give us a taste of their holidays past and present, from childhoods in Arkansas wishing for snow to throwing coins in the Philippines for good luck on New Year’s Day.

They’re all part of the passionate group of people at Amazon Pay working to build a better shopping experience for customers everywhere. To join them, check out the range of roles available across multiple disciplines around the world on our jobs site.

From our amazing team to yours, we wish you the very best this holiday season — and all the pecan pie and snow your heart desires.

Austin Esry

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Title: Brand Designer

About yourself: I grew up with a small but tight-knit family in Bryant, Arkansas, a small suburb south of Little Rock, the state capital. I have one older brother who is a dentist (yes, he’s the golden child), and he still lives in Arkansas. My love for design stems from a really young age. I remember watching my brother playing around in Photoshop CS2, making composites of his favorite cars, and I was fascinated by the program.

As I made my way into high school, I jumped at every chance to take any design or art courses I could and quickly developed an affinity for page layout. This blossomed into becoming the editor for the yearbook and carried me into a digital design and photography degree from the University of Arkansas. I worked several jobs in the print industry before making my way into marketing and boutique branding agencies before arriving here at Amazon. Besides design, I thrive doing outdoor climbing, snowboarding, camping, and anything in between. Creating music and playing my guitar are also deep passions.

What do you enjoy the most this time of year?

Christmastime is one of my favorite times of the year. I am a huge momma’s boy, and she always loved it so I guess it just rubbed off on me. My favorite part about this time of year is the lights and snow. Growing up in Arkansas, we rarely got any snow, and, when we did have precipitation, it was in the form of slippery, dangerous ice — not that cool. Because of this, I think I always craved being able to play in and enjoy fluffy, powdery snow. Seeing Christmas lights sparkle up the neighborhoods, Christmas trees in windows, and a burning firepit brings me nostalgic joy. I love to be cozy and warm while it’s really cold outside.

What holiday traditions do you most fondly recall from your childhood?

Our holiday tradition was to gather with my mom’s side of the family and share dinners full of food-coma-inducing casseroles and delicious cakes. My mom, aunt, and grandma would prepare the feast, and I would always want to help. I can never get enough deviled eggs and pecan pie. Then, we would travel to see my dad’s side about 45 minutes north in a town called Jacksonville. His mom is full-blooded Japanese, and she would make us sushi and the best fried rice. I always remember the wooden beads she had hanging in the doorway that we played in and her prized Geisha and Sumo figurines kept very safe and secure in glass cases.

After Christmas, my mom began a tradition in 2005 of taking us to Colorado to snowboard and celebrate the New Year. I quickly fell in love with snowboarding. It is still one of my all-time favorite activities to do today, and is one of the big selling points of relocating to Seattle in July of 2021.

Can you share a special holiday memory?

Another nostalgic holiday tradition I had was duck hunting with my best friend and his dad. Arkansas is a worldwide destination for duck hunting because of the rice fields and flooded timber. We would drive down to the duck camp in Stuttgart, Arkansas, wake up early (around 4 a.m.), have the hunt, clean the birds, and then fix a duck-centric holiday meal with his family. We always ate everything we harvested, and I always looked forward to escaping to the countryside.

Ceryll Duller

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Title: Mass Account Manager

About yourself: I joined Amazon early this year. I’ve been in the ecommerce and affiliate publishing industry for four years, managing brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters, Bluemercury, O’Neill, and Billabong. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my cousins, working out, listening to audiobooks, and practicing my creativity. I also collect magnets from places I travel to.

What do you enjoy the most this time of the year?

I enjoy spending quality time with my large family. My mom is one of 11 children, half of whom live in the U.S. As a group, we decide where to spend Christmas together. It’s a great time seeing and catching up annually. On Christmas Day, I look forward to playing the holiday games and winning prizes. When we do spend the holidays in the Philippines, I appreciate the three-day family reunion with 200 family members; it feels like a big wedding party.

What holiday traditions do you most fondly recall from your childhood?

I spent my early years in the Philippines, where the Christmas season lasts for over four months. Over the holiday season, we would visit my godparents and distant relatives. I would be given gifts, money, and words of wisdom on this trip.

What traditions did you have around New Year’s Day?

New Year’s Day is very special to my family. Some of my favorite traditions for welcoming the new year are wearing clothing with dots on it, embellishing the centerpiece with money, eating round foods, and throwing coins as confetti to bring luck. I enjoy seeing the food because some of the dishes are typically not served in a circular shape but are artistically prepared this way for this special holiday.

Jason Pan

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Title: Marketing Website Manager

About yourself: I grew up in the Midwest spending most of my years in the suburbs of Chicago. I currently help manage the Amazon Pay website and have a background in ecommerce and web production. When I’m not working, I enjoy going on bike rides, trying new foods, and visiting art museums.

What do you enjoy the most this time of the year?

I love panettone. This is the only time of the year they are available in abundance, and I like to stock up on them while I can. Something about the soft, candied-fruit-filled bread speaks to me in a way that fruit cake doesn’t. Also, they’re always wrapped in those eye-catching decorative boxes, and I just can’t help myself. I will devour an entire loaf in one day, and then a few days later, I’ll find myself doing the same thing.

What holiday traditions do you most fondly recall from your childhood?

I have an older cousin who, when I was a child, would bake hundreds of delicious cookies during the week leading up to Christmas to gift to family, friends, and neighbors. Every year she had more people to give cookies to and more cookies to bake. It became a tradition for my sister and me to go over to her house and help her during this time. We would take turns measuring ingredients, rolling dough, and decorating cookies late into the night while Christmas movies played in the background. The kitchen always felt cozy with the warmth from the oven and the sweet aromas wafting from the cookies.

Can you share a special holiday memory?

There was a day when I was a child when my mother, sister, and aunt went to see a holiday concert while I stayed home with a few of my cousins. They were supposed to return in the evening, but an unexpected snowstorm hit, causing them to be stranded at the concert overnight. As if things weren’t bad enough, the power also went out, ruining my plans for watching movies and playing video games. Despite the circumstances, my cousins and I found ways to entertain ourselves. We took advantage of the darkness to tell ghost stories, play hide and seek in the dark, and have a sleepover. It turned out to be one of the most fun holidays I had.

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