The weather is cold; the fire is warm and spirits are high. It’s that time of year again—digging into our favorite holiday traditions with family and friends. A time for celebration (and maybe a little recharge). Check out each of our favorite traditions, from across the celebratory days.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we go to the West Side Market in Cleveland for meats, desserts and other goodies to serve during the holidays. The market hasn’t changed much since 1912, and it feels like a step back in time. Here are Dad and Grandma jazzed about fresh Hungarian sausage!
My favorite tradition is bowling the day after Thanksgiving. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember. The bowling alleys have changed (as they go out of business), but the tradition remains alive. My grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins and cousins’ kiddos—we all get together at 11 AM to bowl. We’re usually the first bunch of people at the place. You can count on around 25 people, and almost everybody bowls. My grandpa was a big bowler back in the day. Now that he’s gone, my dad and uncle wear his vintage bowling shirts. We make up ridiculous names to put on the score screen, drink cheap beer and trash each other’s hook. I love traditions and am lucky to have a family that keeps them alive!
It isn’t Christmas time for me unless I’ve made a bunch of Christmas cookies (then eat them while re-watching Elf for the millionth time and wrapping presents).
Watch the movie Gremlins!
Every few years at Christmas time, my family makes homemade tamales. Why every few years, you ask? Because it’s a monster task that involves an assembly line and lots of cooking (we make hundreds of them and then freeze them for later. They freeze incredibly well—I may or may not still be working on some from 2016). It sounds like a lot of work, but I get to spend some quality time with my favorite people, and the prize justifies the work. Also—homemade pozole. The best soup on the planet, and we makes lots of it. See the photo above to understand how to properly transport from one house to another.
Christmas was the start of summer vacation in Australia, so we always packed up the family and the dog and headed down to the coast. Because it was hot, Christmas Eve always meant seafood—specifically oysters shucked that afternoon and fresh prawns ready to peel. And in the late afternoons and early evenings, we’d all get together—with some nibbles and drinks—and catch up. And happy hour was always more than one, or you weren’t doing it right. Then on Christmas day, after lunch and prezzies (presents), we usually ended up down at the beach for a swim or surf. Hard to beat that.
These days my favorite non-kid seasonal tradition is the annual Kiss-Off show we do at The B-Side. My band rehearses here, and this has become our little celebration of a year of hard work and hearty laughs. We play songs old and new in a casual and fun format. The toddies are hot and the cheer is good. I’m thankful for my bandmates and those who support us. This year, our fourth, we’re stoked to be playing with elle/Remnant, in their B-Side debut. December 28th, 2018, The B-Side at One Lucky Guitar. Get your tickets before they sell out.
Photo from 2016 Kiss-Off, with Rosalind & The Way
Since me and my wife have been together, I’ve been participating in my in-law’s “week of Christmas.” Their huge-ass family from all over the midwest gathers in Fort Wayne to trade stories and bring merriment to all. “Seven days of in-laws?! Are you insane?!” you may be thinking right now. BUT! My in-laws are a pretty fun bunch. They have this tradition of Rumplemintz and Wild Turkey mixed in an old paint bucket (it tastes like a peppermint patty and tradition), and that’s not even the tradition I’m stoked about sharing… Once everyone has had their ceremonious beverage, we head over to Lakeside Golf Course’s clubhouse for dinner. “Wait 7 days of in-laws ANDDDDD you get dinner at a golf course?! Is all that paint bucket booze getting to your brain?!” you may be thinking right now.. BUT! I swear this place has some of the best wings in Fort Wayne. Perfectly crispy. Delightfully Saucy. Meat so tender it falls off the bone. Served on a hot sauce soaked piece of white bread, and steamy to the eyes.
This is a special time to share this Christmas tradition, because well, Lakeside Golf Course is closing. This fall was the end of their road. A place that my grandparents first took me golfing when I was a young lad, a place that I became friends with my in-laws, and some of the BEST GATDAYUM wings in Fort Wayne (maybe the world who knows), has come to an end. Rest easy Lakeside Golf Course, may I forever remember your legacy.
My step-dad would read us The Night Before Christmas just before bed every Christmas Eve. We carried on this tradition into our teens, and it’s a fond family moment. Nothing flashy or fancy about it—pure family time. I’m proud to say we now do this with our own kids!
We have a lot of houses to visit during the holidays, so my dad started the tradition of making homemade personal pizzas for lunch every Thanksgiving. It’s an activity and a meal. Plus, we can forego the cranberry for at least one family meal.
Whatever you celebrate, we’re wishing you a happy one from OLG!