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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Street Class: Christmas Traditions Around Town

While some people are at home dreaming of a white Christmas or arranging a major award to display in their front window (fra-gee-lay is indeed Italian, right?), many Fort Thomas residents are celebrating the holiday season with their neighbors. Christmas parties pop up throughout the city during the month of December, and many streets have created their own unique Christmas traditions over the years. 

Linden Avenue, Linden Court, Carolina Avenue, and Patterson Place all join forces for their spirited Holiday Hop each year. The residents have been hopping throughout the neighborhood for approximately the last six years. 

The Holiday Hop is a well-organized event, which includes four different houses in the neighborhood. Anywhere between 30 and 40 partygoers gather to enjoy a progressive party full of food and festivities at the the first three houses for one hour each before moving onto the next house. The party continues at the fourth and final house until residents have partied enough to hold them over until next year. 

During the Holiday Hop, each of the four host homes serves up a signature drink for their guests. There is also a tradition of creatively announcing that the hour is up, and the time has come to move along to the next house. 

Some of the residents look forward to the event as a way to reconnect with their neighbors. "I personally think it's really neat to see everybody. It's neat to actually talk to them, especially since it's winter, and you don't see as many people out. It's fun to catch up with everyone you pass and wave to everyday, but you don't always get a chance to stop and talk," said Linda Huseman. 

Also in the center of town, Chalfonte Place and Chalfonte Court residents gather for an annual party. The street has been celebrating Christmas together for at least 30 years. The party often switched between different houses on the street, and often included caroling throughout the neighborhood. Approximately seven years ago, Jean Miller and her daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Paul Lenhardt, took over hosting holiday festivities. Miller especially looks forward to "seeing all the neighbors, and being able to spend time with them" during their party each year. 

Chalfonte's Christmas party is also often visited by their own Ghosts of Christmas Past. The party is open to past and present neighbors alike, and has become a favorite stop for those visiting town for the holidays. Corie May grew up on Chalfonte, and now lives in Lexington, KY while working as an Emergency Room nurse. "We don't even live on the street, but we've made such good friends that we're considered family," said May. "For me, I look forward to seeing all the kids I grew up with, who are now grown up and having their own lives. We've all moved and lived all over the country, and everyone comes home for the holidays when they can." 

Over on Tower Place, the women gather each year for a Christmas cookie exchange. They each bake 5 dozen of their favorite cookies to share with the other ladies on the street. For Jill Masters, the cookie exchange is special because it also provides some extra holiday bonding time with her daughter. "One of my favorite parts is that I actually get to make the cookies with my daughter, Addyson," said Masters. 

Does your street celebrate the holidays together? Let us know in the comments below, or share your story with us on our Facebook Page. 

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