treefloridaAre we drawn to tradition because we love it or as my mother always says, “It’s the thing to do?!”

Personally, religion is all about the tradition and I worship at the altar of a material God…and no, I am not going to engage in a discuss about religion. We all believe what we want to believe…may the force be with you…amen.

Today I immersed myself in an ocean of tradition. For the past 2 decades we have chosen to spend Christmas in Florida. We used to throw stupid money at Caribbean vacations over Christmas and equally expensive skiing trips.

When my daughter was very young and we were living full time in California, we would go to New York because Christmastime in Connecticut and New York City is where it’s at.

Now we are mature and realize that Florida has everything we need, plus my mother. A beautiful, rent free home near the ocean, swimming pool, country club, golf,  tennis, running paths and mediocre food…that’s our reason for driving the 45 minutes each way to South Beach for Joe’s Stone Crabs, steaks at Prime 112 and this year, 1500 Degrees in the new revamped Eden Roc where my parents honeymooned 73 years ago.

Today, after an overtime victory by the New York Giants (it looked like another ugly and humiliating, meaningless, NY Giants defeat), we erected our beloved, artificial 3 foot tree that we bought at Target 20 years ago.

The tree is preserved better than some of the seniors floating around Palm Beach even after full on face lifts.

Courtny is a meticulous decorator. Many of the ornaments have sentimental value such as the NY Giants ornament from their first Super Bowl victory, a framed ornament of Courtny at 4 years-old, a tattered angel from 1985, the year of our Messiah’s birth and this year’s newest addition, a lovable snowman complete with carrot nose.

Giants Ornament
Giants Ornament

We pop open a bottle of French Bordeaux wine and start with the lights, then ornaments, a bit of bells, a sprinkle of garland, tinsel and voila…our non-denominational holiday bush.

We then retreat to our private corners and start wrapping and rappin’ because you cannot do this exhausting exercise in paper and tape without music.

Again, Courtny wins as she packages to perfection, corners like the hospital corners on a Marine’s bed, every package adorned with ribbons. We all proceed with caution on Christmas Day as we hate to contaminate the beauty of the presentation…what’s inside is even better…just like an Oreo cookie.

The packages are laid out with care as not to divulge any hint of the contents.

I LOVE giving. I am like a cavemen…the hunt is almost as delicious as the captured prey. I put much thought into my selections and start in August as the prey is much more abundant in the late summer and early fall.

We leave egg nog and homemade cookies for Santa and retire to a fitful night of eager anticipation. If our posse is not up and positioned by the tree by 7am then we raise the roof.


We stuff stockings to the brim with silly items and new underwear…just in case we have an accident on the way to Christmas night dinner in Miami Beach. We methodically go round and round (Mom, David, Courtny, Toby) until we crescendo with the best gift of this holiday.

Elated, we retire to the kitchen while my mother prepares her traditional matzo meal latkes (delicate, light, melt in your mouth pancakes)…we clean up to the sound of traditional Christmas songs and then hit the beach.

Life is perfect and we adore the tradition.




  1. Hi Toby!

    What a wonderful post, glowing with the true holiday spirit!

    A big ‘Merry Christmas’ + ‘Happy Holidays’ to cover all the bases here. In the midst of our own holiday preparation, finally got the holiday cards out (sent yours + David’s to LA address).

    Our plans to do Boston over the days after X-mas have been scuttled due to my sister + her family becoming stranded up in Blue Hill Maine, they are having this freak ice storm that has lasted 3 days so far hanging out over Penobscot Bay. The power is down everywhere and travel for them is unthinkable for the next week.

    Here, in snow country at 2500′ elevation, we had over 27″ of snow until 4 days ago, when we got a heat wave (54 degrees) that melted everything, now the temperature is plunging and it is starting to freeze. Welcome to the future, climate change is here to stay, and it has only just begun. 🙁

    While reading a bunch of your recent posts over the last couple of days, Jessica remarked that your are writing a ‘true web diary’ in the ‘classic sense’, if anything on the Web can be considered ‘classic’, being barely 20 years old at this point.

    Wishing you, David and Courtny a wonderful Christmas Day. Have a bunch of things to cover when we speak next, Jan 2nd sounds good. Take heart, the great stuff that you are writing and producing on your site is being read, and we have a list of next steps ready to go.


    ~ Kit

    • What a lovely post…just seeing it now. Wishing you and Jessica a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful 2014….I look forward to great success for all of us in the new year.
      Toby and David

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