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Holiday Traditions

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition, memory, recipe, decoration? Do you have a favorite holiday decorating idea? A special New Year's Eve toast? A customary menu for Christmas Eve? Is your table set special for Hanukkah? Do you have a special Kwanza outfit you love to wear? Maybe you read a special story to your children or grandchildren.

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, we want to know what you do that makes it memorable and special for you and your family. Maybe it's something from your ethnic background. Maybe it's from someplace you lived before you moved here. Maybe it's been handed down from one generation to the next. Maybe you've decided to start your own traditions.

Send your traditions via e-mail

The movie "A Christmas Story" has prompted a new tradition in our family.

We were living in Hawaii when we first saw it, and we recognized that it was filmed in Cleveland. I even recognized the neighborhood because my father grew up on West 20th Street and went to Lincoln High School. Besides, all the snow, the Christmas Tree hunt and the Red Ryder BB gun brought back a lot of memories for us.

My daughter and son-in law were born in Cleveland, as were my wife and I, but even the grand-children identified with the movie, and watching it has become a ritual. We are particularly delighted with the sequence in which the dog eats the turkey, and the family ends up in a Chinese Restaurant for Christmas dinner.

So, my son-in-law, David Kleist, has established a family tradition of eating Christas Eve dinner in a Chinese restaurant, and we all sing "Deck The Harrs With Boughs Of Horry". It gets us some funny glances from strangers but we don't care.

It also takes us "home" for an evening and frees the ladies from planning and preparing one more holiday meal.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Jim Doney and Leslie, David, Matthew and Jamie Kleist.

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Here's a recipe for Mom's Potato Latkes (That Always Turn Blue).

Yes... The starch in the potatoes turns the potatoe blue when it hits the air.... Just watch. We used to tease my mother all the time! They still tasted amazing!

Joan Wieder from her daughter, Deb Singer

Mom's Potato Latkes
(That Always Turn Blue)

  • 6 med potatoes
  • 2 T flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 med onion


  • Peel potatoes - keep in water until ready to shred (probably should add some lemon juice, but not in mom's recipe!)
  • Shred potatoes in food processor
  • Push through strainer to drain
  • Squeeze even more liquid out with hands
  • Put in a tea towel (who owns this?) to drain more
  • Put back in food processor to grate
  • Put in bowl
  • Put onion, eggs and seasonings in food processor and grate together.
  • Add flour and baking powder
  • Drop by spoonfuls on to HOT pan with oil and fry
  • Keep mixing each time you take a spoonful as you need all the egg in the liquid.
  • They take a long time to fry - dry on paper towel and keep warm in oven.
  • Serves 3-4 people

There must be a thousand people who could tell me why the latkes always turn blue!

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All the holidays were special as a child. We traveled all over the United States, wherever the government send my Dad (he was Chief Liquidator for the FDIC).

We visited every museum, zoo, historical place, battle ground wherever we were at the time, My Mom and Dad made every holiday special, wherever we were, we never had any family to share with, or memories of a home town. So we marched to McNamara's Band around tables in Vermont, S. Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Penna, you name it.

I realized as a child, it didn't really matter where you were, it was who you were with that counted, no matter what holiday.

Now I am the last of my family but every holiday I hold dear the memories of every holiday made special by parents who created homes everywhere and taught me what really counted was the people and love not the place.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season,
Patt Gronick

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