Saturday Stories: Forcing Memories in Cleveland for Christmas

Downtown Cleveland

Hi Everyone! I'm opening up today about why I am all for forcing some memories and having zero chill at Christmas. Now, don't get me wrong, I have so loved the years my family has laid around the house and taken our time doing just about anything. It does provide the much needed rest we ALL need over the holidays. This year was different for me. Maybe it was because I was bombarded with other families' photos on Social Media or maybe it was just a growing love for exploring cities, but I HAD to leave the house more this Christmas. Because although my family was in that house together, we were generally all doing our own things. So, I decided a walk around the ever-developing Downtown Cleveland was the perfect "fun outing". And I made sure to make it happen.

I cherish any time with my family but I really REALLY wanted to spend time with them somewhere cool where we could capture some photos, see something new and be surrounded by Christmas lights. My parents have done some beautiful renovations to the house and so they opted for minimal decorations. Our home was super cozy but I was craving the festive and large scale swag that somewhere like Public Square was offering. After some wrangling, we all hopped in the car on Christmas Adam (which yes, is the predecessor to Christmas Eve) and drove towards the city.

I am so so glad we got out of the house together. 

We discovered The Arcade, a beautiful atrium style hotel and shopping center my parents had not been to in years and I am not sure my brother or I have ever visited. We took photos by the Christmas tree, explored the sweetest gift store and laughed as we people watched and reminisced about past holidays. Although the weather was bleak, we made the most of the walks and eventually found ourselves on the famous 4th Street where we popped into the Erie Island Coffee Company for bagels and cocoa. We pushed a bunch of side tables together and swapped stories for a while.

Call me crazy but I see my family so little that even this small moment felt HUGE to me. 

We made it one more round of walking to the BEAUTIFUL Playhouse Square and snapped some photos in front of the iconic Chandelier that hangs over the theatres. It was crazy to remember that my love of theatre and performance was born from my time in that place as a kid. I loved visiting The Palace with my mom and cousin, all dolled up and feeling royal. It was there that I knew the Arts HAD to be a part of my life, if not the comprise the whole thing. I was so grateful to behold the Square next to my brother, whose passion and talent in the Arts has been the single greatest motivator in my career. I know art is so important because he proved it to me. Although I felt like a kids, staring up at the lights with him as an adult is a moment I won't ever forget.  I had done it. We were there...being a family.

Playhouse Square Cleveland

There's something about being out in the world together that bonds you more than being in a house apart. 

Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful. We went to candle light service where I always stand beside my best friend Laurel so we can light each other's candles - because BESTS - and then we drove to Lakewood. The longest standing tradition in my family is to visit my Aunt Kate's on Christmas Eve, enjoy heavy appetizers and drinks and open our gifts to each other. I am thankful that both my Aunt and my parents have lived in the same houses for 30+ years. It has given my life some unexpected stability to visit these constant spaces year after year. Oh, and the snow that started on falling on Christmas Eve? Yea, that was just PURE MAGIC. 

Snow on Christmas Eve

Families are not perfect and I am learning more and more in my 20s the type of family I want to cultivate and nurture. I need more fun in my life, more spontaneity with the people I love. I encourage you if you feel that your family is stuck in a rut, to get in the car and drive somewhere together. My mother-in-law once talked of "forcing memories" and I am ALL FOR IT. Life is crazy enough without the pressure of organic memories being made all the time. It doesn't happen on it's own - you have to MAKE it happen. 

I am excited for more forced memories with my family and excitedly await the next visit they all make to LA. The dreaming and scheming has already begun :)


~ A ~