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A family outing to get the tree.

Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Holidays 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.

The holidays are all about traditions — some passed down from generation to generation, others of our own making.

Take what I think of as my “holiday trip.” It started several years ago during a Christmas vacation in Europe where we fell in love with Germany’s magical Christkindltmrkts, France’s lavish window displays. Thereafter my holiday wanderlust made regular appearances this time of year.

Now we make it a point to visit a new city each holiday season — if only for a weekend — to learn about and take part in its unique traditions.

Our travels have taken us from Thanksgiving in New York and Chicago, to a Colonial Christmas in Williamsburg, to a (millennium) New Year’s Eve in Sault Ste. Marie. We’ve been dazzled by lights in Lansing and Lexington, Kentucky, Frankenmuth and Toronto.

Yet as different and exciting as these celebrations are, it’s the holidays here at home that we treasure the most.

In this issue of Scene we help you make the most of your holidays, from gift shopping to gift wrapping, rum drinks to party fare. We’ll introduce you to a resort chef known for his elaborate Thanksgiving Day Buffet, then help you shed pounds and shape up after the feast.

Because the holidays are for families, we’ll reveal how several clans celebrate together, suggest books and events designed to get your clan in the spirit, and share a light-hearted essay about families with, perhaps, a bit too much seasonal cheer.

Finally, we’ll take you to Ludington for one of the biggest New Year’s Eve bashes around.

Here’s to making new holiday traditions.

— Marta Hepler Drahos

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