by Julianna Squicciarini
Another nostalgic Christmas memory that comes to mind around this season is our annual Christmas Eve luncheon.
It started several years ago. 2003, I believe. Our father has always been into doing things as a family, and with this mindset, we decided to go out for a lovely Christmas Eve lunch *as a family*. 😉 We chose the Waldhorn, in Pineville, for this momentous occasion. It’s a picturesque, German restaurant with excellent cuisine – if you’re into German food – and since it was Christmas Eve, they were playing beautiful German Christmas music. Stille Nacht and all that, you know?
This was such a pleasant experience – the restaurant was practically empty, because everyone and their brother was shopping – that we decided to make it an annual event. So the following year, we all looked forward to visiting the Waldhorn again.
We love getting dressed in our gorgeous sweaters and bundling up in soft scarves and gloves. We drove out to the Waldhorn, only to find that it was closed. Christmas Eve fell on a Monday in 2004, and the Waldhorn is closed on Mondays. <sigh> We had to choose another restaurant, much to our chagrin. Harper’s won out that year.
Christmas Eve 2005 rolled around, and we were doubly excited to get to go to the Waldhorn – we never eat there, regularly, so this Christmas Eve tradition makes it special and more meaningful. I think it makes the food taste better, too…
We arrived at the Waldhorn. And it was closed. For Christmas Eve. Apparently, they had decided to close for the semi-holiday, rather than stay open for the Squicciarini family to continue their tradition. <heavier sigh>
We had to drive off to another restaurant. AGAIN. Buca De Beppo got our business that year. Our mother and a few of my sisters did not care for it.
So, as it seemed our “Christmas Eve Luncheon at Waldhorn” tradition had been nipped unceremoniously and remorselessly in the bud, we had to tweak it ever so slightly. The next year, we had the oh-so-exciting plan to drive out to the Waldhorn, take a family picture there, and then go somewhere else. <GRIN> Why plan to eat there, when we know they’ll be closed?? So that’s exactly what we did. We drove to Waldhorn, snapped a great picture, and then went somewhere else. The exact location that year escapes my usually perfect memory…it must not have been memorable. Perhaps Olive Garden.
The following year, which was 2007, in case you wanted to keep track, we had everything planned: drive to the Waldhorn, take another family picture (those who know us well know us to be severely lacking in family photos), and then go to Brio for our lunch. At the last minute, however, the plan was suddenly vetoed by one of the Powers That Be, and we didn’t drive out to the Waldhorn after all. The logic behind that change of plans being, “Why drive to Southpark via Pineville??” We merely drove to Southpark, had our amazing lunch, and went home. I particularly remember our waiter, because he was very good. His name is Joe. You should request him, should you happen to eat at Brio sometime in the near future – mention our name. 😉 I, hating change, was slightly perturbed by this overturning of our beloved drive-to-Waldhorn-take-a-picture-eat-somewhere-else tradition. But the Brio memory was certainly lovely.
So much so, in fact, that we very nearly repeated it the following year. But the desire to try a new restaurant every year won out, and we chose Rippington’s, in Waxhaw, instead. Waldhorn did not figure into the plan, being entirely out of the way and in the wrong direction. My memory of this 2008 luncheon was that we were all dressed in our seasonal, holiday clothes – I remember in particular that I was wearing a favorite cashmere sweater – and it was about 69 degrees outside. The waiter was in shorts, for crying out loud! But the food and atmosphere were pleasant, and we enjoyed the family time, as always. We also got a family photo.
We have not yet discussed plans for this year’s Christmas Eve. Will a new restaurant be graced by our presence? Will we decide to skip it altogether? Will we do a repeat performance at Rippington’s or Brio? Who knows?
Stay tuned… 😉