By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Holiday traditions, are as old as, well the holidays themselves. And, you guessed it: There’s even a website — World Holiday Traditions — that provides insight into how cultures celebrate at Christmastime.
Like many around the world, I have fond memories of our family gathered together in our home on Walton Street in Chicago for the Polish Christmas Eve traditional dinner, called wigilia. It’s a meatless meal of Old World foods, all served family style, and includes passing a wafer called oplatek while offering everyone good wishes for the year.
(Full disclosure: My brothers and I complained about the somewhat bland dishes, and I believe we got pizza added to the menu, bringing an Italian-inspired tradition to our wigilia meal.)
For the past 20-plus years or so, I’ve partaken in another holiday tradition of sorts with my other “family” — namely (in alphabetical order) Bill, Doug, Phil and Roy. Yes, they have last names, but I’ll keep them confidential for now. These guys are my musical compatriots in a rock and roll cover band called Love House.
Our tradition: Securing a gig at whatever bar will have us, inviting family and friends, and spreading the spirit of the season with Christmas songs new and old, along with other selections you’ve probably heard before. View a video to get an idea of what it was like during the 2016 show December 10 at Chalk in Forest Park, IL.
This tradition — and much of the set list — hasn’t changed much over the years, but we really enjoy making music and people still make the trek out during a cold month and help us spread holiday cheer. And, to make the event more communal, we invite a member of the audience to ring sleigh bells during “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Run, Run Rudolph” and other holiday musical chestnuts, although we have none roasting on an open fire.
Yes, we make a small amount of money; I spent mine buying guests a beer. A small token of thanks for letting Love House play a small role in shaping memories of this time of year for those close to us — and anyone who wandered in.
How long will the Love House Christmas Extravaganza (I made up the name, by the way, to improve SEO; we just call it “the Christmas gig”) last?
Ho, ho, ho, I don’t know. Just keep a date open next December, and plan on taking in the show.