Sue Salvi:

Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
Pittsburgh, which is where my family (my mom, brothers and their kids) live.

What is one of your favorite and/or funniest holiday memories?
Each year. we would have a gathering of people stop over for Christmas Eve. One year, a family of strangers came, but everyone was being polite and nobody realized they were in the wrong place for about 10 minutes. My mom thought one of the neighbors invited them; they thought they just hadn’t seen the hosts for a while.

What were some of your family’s holiday traditions growing up?
We always had the large party on Christmas Eve, and then opened presents on Christmas morning. I had to clean the toilets for the Christmas Eve party. On Christmas morning we always ate nut roll, or a “bubba,” as it’s called in Pittsburgh.

What are your favorite holiday movies and/or TV shows?
It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, all the Rankin/Bass specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas and, more recently, Elf.


Beth Melewski

Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
Anywhere that’s with my dog and my boyfriend.

What is one of your favorite and/or funniest holiday memories?
Last year’s Christmas was pretty epic. My boyfriend and I delivered presents to families through a great charity called Letters to Santa. Seeing families in need who were beyond excited and happy to receive gifts was just incredible.

What were some of your family’s holiday traditions growing up?
My dad went missing on my third Christmas and every Christmas after that my mom and I would receive a mysterious letter in code which no one has ever been able to decipher. That tradition continues to this day. My mom and I will also drink wine and make sugar cookies on Christmas Eve.

What are your favorite holiday movies and/or TV shows?
Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. It’s. The. Ultimate. Christmas. Movie.

Is there a specific food or beverage that you look forward to during the Holiday Season?
Christmas cookies are pretty much the ultimate food all year round.


Francis Guinan

Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
London. I’ve never been in London on Christmas, but I would like to one day.

What is one of your favorite and/or funniest holiday memories?
Santa” would come to the house late evening each Christmas Eve. We were told to go upstairs and “wait for Santa.” My father would “Ho-ho-ho” downstairs and ring a bell that sat on the coffee table in the living room. Arriving in the living room in front of the Christmas tree, we would see our father at the front door pointing down the street shouting, “There he goes! There he goes! See him?!”

What were some of your family’s holiday traditions growing up?
A silver aluminium Christmas tree with a color wheel, midnight mass and visiting Grandma Blanche in the home in West Point.

What are your favorite holiday movies and/or TV shows?
It’s A Wonderful Life, of course.

Is there a specific food or beverage that you look forward to during the Holiday Season?
My wife’s superb hand-made raviolis. They have redeemed Christmas for me.


Peter Gwinn

Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
With my family, whichever house they’re in.

What is one of your favorite and/or funniest holiday memories?
I loved New Year’s Eve parties at my friend Jen’s house. Everyone hung out like we were best friends even though I hadn’t seen half the people there since the previous year’s New Year’s Eve party.

What were some of your family’s holiday traditions growing up?
My brother and I would create extensive lists of rules and procedures for Christmas morning, such as who would wake up who and when, the order in which we’d go downstairs, who was responsible for covering whose eyes until we were all the way in the living room, etc.

What are your favorite holiday movies and/or TV shows?
A Charlie Brown Christmas and all the Rankin/Bass specials.

Is there a specific food or beverage that you look forward to during the Holiday Season?
I look forward to my annual single glass of eggnog, which I have never drunk spiked. I just like it straight.


Danielle Pinnock

Where is your favorite place to spend the holidays?
Brooklyn with my entire family. New York is always so beautiful during the Christmas season.

What is one of your favorite and/or funniest holiday memories?
My Uncle Carlton is a man of very few words. Not many people have heard him speak before. One Christmas, there was a showing of The Phantom of the Opera live from Broadway. This man began singing all the songs from the show! First of all, none of us even knew he could sing, much less that he was trained in opera. He knew every word and everyone in the family just died with laughter. It was one of the most random occurrences that has happened to my family.

What were some of your family’s holiday traditions growing up?
I come from a huge Jamaican family. My mom has 12 brothers and sisters. Christmas is the only time of year when the entire family gets together. On Christmas Eve we prepare all of the food for the big day. The smell of plantains, dumplings with ackee and saltfish permeate the house as early as 5am on Christmas morning. Also, because there are so many of us, we always do Secret Santa. But my favorite tradition would have to be that every Christmas morning, without fail, my mom blasts Luther Vandross’ The Classic Christmas Album.

What are your favorite holiday movies and/or TV shows?
A Charlie Brown Christmas is my jam! That “Christmas Time is Here” song makes me cry every single time. Also, Linus is my spirit animal.

Is there a specific food or beverage that you look forward to during the Holiday Season?
My family throws down in the kitchen. In every Jamaican household you have to have rum cake for Christmas! My mom makes the best jerk chicken and plantains on Christmas Day. She is the only one in Brooklyn that will use an outdoor grill during a blizzard! She will wear her fur coat and Nine West boots and grill up a storm for Christmas dinner.