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South Florida Locals Share Their Holiday Traditions

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Jennifer McClain, Cabaret performer:

​​I always look forward to singing Christmas songs with Eric Alsford on the piano. At as many parties and venues as will have us! #SugarandBooze

Dale Stine, Photographer, Director of Music Ministry at Unity on the Bay:

We have a beautiful Christmas eve service every year at Unity on the Bay. Many years I have been my own guest artist (LOL), but I generally bring in one of our guest artists. We’ve had Teri DeSario (Grammy winner), we’ve had LeNora Jaye, and we’ve had Helena Redman. Last year and this year, we will have Wendy Pedersen. It’s always a moving service with “Silent Night” as the pinnacle for a candle-lighting (well, a candle turning-on so as to be in accordance with fire codes).

Robert Boo, CEO at The Pride Center:

When I was growing up, we always had the Boo Family Christmas at my paternal grandmother’s farmhouse in Indiana.  Grandma Boo had 8 children with my father being #4.  My father’s parents were both first born generation from Swedish immigrants.  When we all got together there was always a very large gathering with all my cousins and my three older brothers. Several dishes were prepared:  Lutefisk – which is a nasty tasting cod, which has been soaked in lye; and there would be bowls filled with herring in cream sauce and my grandma Boo would make Blood Sausage.  I couldn’t stand any of those dishes.  But we also had Swedish Meatballs and Glug or Gloog.  Glug is a Swedish mulled wine.  You take cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds and ginger that is tied up in cheese cloth and soaked in the port wine overnight.  In the morning you add in dried raisins, apricots, prunes (or any dried fruit that you like), almonds and then add in vodka and brandy.  You heat it up and serve hot.  Be sure to get some of the dried fruit in the cup as it is quite tasty and will knock you on your butt if you eat too much of the fruit.  None of my friends or my mother like Glug so I get it all to myself while I am cooking the rest of the meal!  It also stores nicely in a jar in the back of the refrigerator so that during the year I can heat it up and enjoy throughout the year.  Every year I still make Swedish Meatballs to keep that family tradition going as do several of my brothers.

Howard Elfman, Real Estate Broker for The Agency:

My partner Clem and I plan one of our annual “get out of dodge” trips for the holidays. This usually consists of international travel to Asia or Europe, and we try every year to add another country we have not been to and we’re approaching over 15 countries together to date.

This does not offset the holiday spirit at our home where we spruce it up with holiday decorations, play holiday music and enjoy celebrations with friends and family. As Clem is Filipino, Christmas is an extra special holiday for him, while being Jewish, I enjoy it just as much.

Nancy Goldwin and Carol Moran, owners of Apt9f:

We are kinda nerdy when it comes to the holidays. We always decorate a tree – which usually starts with us finding the “perfect” tree. Ironically, I am the one that loves doing the tree (the nice Jewish girl) and she is the one that makes sure the menorah is set up and has candles (the nice Irish Catholic girl).  We sleep under the tree Christmas eve (which is also Carol’s birthday – get it, Christmas Carol) – even if we have to drag an air mattress out!  We don’t do presents anymore, as we know we have more than we need. But we do stockings and we put a limit on what we can spend.  It makes you get pretty creative.  A lot of what gets in there is goofy stuff and scratch off tickets.  As for recipes – I will never divulge my Latke recipe. You’ll just have to come to Apt 9F when I decide to do them!

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