When I married a Midwesterner, I inherited a different series of Christmas traditions than my Irish ones. While my brother and I were waiting in line before the altar with our hands open to receive Holy Communion, my husband, as the last of seven brothers, would join the end of a line of siblings to receive a shiny ornament carefully polished by his father before hanging it on their Christmas tree. I mean, how cute. One of his favorite holiday films, A Christmas Story, was not one I knew until coming to the States but it was set in a fictional Indiana town on a street just like the one he grew up on.
This required further investigation. So here’s what I know, setting out–knowledge based entirely on childhood Christmas TV, mind you: Clark Griswold lights up his Chicago mansion like an Indian restaurant as part of his search for a “good old-fashioned family Christmas.” All Steve Martin’s character in Planes, Trains and Automobiles wants is to arrive in Chicago in time for the holidays. Interesting. And the mansion in which Kevin McCallister rattles about rigging booby traps for robbers in Home Alone is in Cleveland, Ohio…
That’s evidence enough for me. Clearly the heartland does Christmas best, so that’s where I need to be.
Celebrating industry, simple values, the American Dream…As a native New Yorker I couldn’t help but notice the service was more attentive in the Midwest. And always with a smile–if not a little something more…I drank Buckeye and ate Walleye and arrived at LaGuardia with a clearer idea of what Clark Griswold was misguidedly searching for.
Heres to an old-fashioned Christmas like the ones we grew up with. Wherever we grew up…Don’t forget my fashionable novel is available to fill every old-fashioned Christmas stocking. Just add an orange!