When we lived in Minneapolis my husband’s family did not do Christmas Eve. Nothing – nada – zip. Everything started Christmas day. This was a little strange for me as Christmas started the afternoon of Christmas Even and ran through the next day. So my husband and I created some new traditions of our own. I shared what our family did, and my husband shared what he’d like to do. Our Christmas eve ended very full. Our new personal holiday traditions included visits, dinner, a little cross country skiing and midnight church.
By the time we took the bus home from work, and made our visits, we were quite frankly a little unsure about dinner, mostly because we were itching to get some ski time in before church. We didn’t really want to go home and make dinner, and restaurants were all closed for the holiday. The solution came to us unexpectedly. John’s Grandmother was in a nursing home in a suburb that was predominately Jewish. The local deli’s were open, it was not holiday for them. This resulted in eating at a Jewish deli for dinner Christmas Eve one year and it quickly became a yearly tradition.
It was always a hopping place that night. Full of folks some speaking Yiddish. On the table were fresh pickles in a crock. The breads were wonderful. I would have a Reuben on one of the delicious rye breads with a cup of matzo ball soup. It wasn’t many years before we realized that we should just bring our skis along and we could cross-country ski on a golf course near the deli.
Makiski’s deli is long since gone, but it was a place of many many meals not just Christmas Eve and fond memories.