Traditions Change

I grew up in a dual-ethnic household. My maternal grandparents emigrated from Italy while my paternal grandparents came from Austria. At Christmas, we spent half of the time celebrating the Italian traditions, and the other half of the time, we celebrated the Eastern European traditions. Christmas Eve started with a dinner with my father’s small […]

Celebrating Chanukah Quietly at Home

It’s a strange feeling. I can’t remember the last holiday season our family spent at home in Toronto.  For well over a decade, we’ve used this ideal time of year when colleges and work are closed to travel to off-the-beaten-path exotic destinations around the world.   We have celebrated the holidays on small-ship cruises along the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, the mighty Mekong River […]

What’s Most Important for the Holidays?

My family’s ghosts of Christmases past would fill a barnyard. I suspect that hovering around the homestead still are the spirits of many, many animals that became dinner over the years. We’ve dined on standing rib roast and brisket, numerous turkeys, Lake Erie walleye – caught in the waters off my hometown in Ohio – and during one ambitious […]

The Joys of Christmas on California’s Central Coast, from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos

After experiencing 2020, a year I never imagined and will never forget, I am happily reflecting on my pleasant and vivid memories of my last Christmas on California’s Central Coast. I spent the Christmas holidays in Santa Barbara, my second home. A staycation in Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, is like traveling without leaving town. It’s an all-seasons resort with a […]


With the notable exception of Santa’s workshop in the North Pole (you DO believe, right?), you’re not likely to find a more Christmassy place on the planet than Branson, Missouri. That’s a bold claim, but one that can be supported with a quick study of the number of Christmas trees and lights found in this festive Ozark […]

Captive by COVID for the Holidays

With coronavirus cases in the US exploding at an astonishing rate, the answer to “how will I spend the holidays” is currently unknown. I live in the D.C. area with my Australian wife, Bell, but no extended family are close by or in our bubble. A few weeks ago, we planned to drive to Buffalo, NY for Thanksgiving. That’s where […]

Hard Candy at Christmastime

There is no season more appropriate for family traditions than during the holidays. My family has quite a few, so we combine them all in one day. Our family tradition is to set aside one Saturday after Thanksgiving where my mom, two sisters, niece, nephew, and I get together to bake cookies, create Gingerbread houses, […]

When Fond Memories of Celebrations Past Bring Home the Holidays

This year, unlike every year for the past decade or so, I will be home for the holidays but not ‘home’ for the holidays. Unlike every year, when I pack my bags and book my tickets for a November departure to south India to spend the holidays with my parents, siblings and extended family, this year I […]

Thanksgiving Memories in Wauchula, Florida

Live Oaks and Spanish moss shaded the Davises’ barn, which was in a small town of about 5,000 people in Central Florida surrounded by dairy farms and citrus groves. In this part of Florida, radio stations turned to noise—the occasional Mexican ballad cut through the static of some AM stations like a ghostly transmission. Nobody would […]

Christmas Cheer in New York

As I sit here in my New York City apartment and write this on November 9th of 2020, I don’t have clear holiday plans this year. Covid-19 has thrown off any set plans and traditions not only for me, but for people around the world. Annually, the routine has been my in-laws for Thanksgiving in Washington D.C, my family […]