Neighbors go to alternatives to celebrate the holidays

The virus has upended holiday traditions. Grandmas and grandpas are missing out on family gatherings.

What to do? A sample of neighbors and businesses suggests they anticipate creating joy in new ways, which involve smaller gatherings and lots of Zoom and FaceTime.

For Elizabeth Vasile and her husband, Robert Riggle, of Third Avenue, the holiday will be a quiet one at home. They do plan to continue with their tradition of putting up five Angel stockings on their mantle – one for each of them, one for each of their dogs and one for the loved ones they have lost.

“I expect my husband will continue with his tradition of getting into his PJ’s and slippers to watch (the 1955 comedy) ‘We’re No Angels’ with Humphrey Bogart,” Elizabeth said. This will be their fourth Christmas as Curtis Park neighbors.

Nearby on 23rd Street, Becky Botelho was out painting a new fence in her front yard when she talked about how her family will cope with bending tradition. “We can’t do regular things,” she lamented. “My mom’s in a senior living facility and I haven’t seen her since March.” Becky expects the family will have a quiet holiday at home.

Over on Highland Avenue, Jeff and Annie Cook are planning a somewhat normal holiday with their daughter, Meryl, and her two young children, but their son, Brian, will not be able to come from Seattle. “For Thanksgiving we usually have 17 or 18 people in the house,” Annie said. “Not this year. And it will be a small Christmas.” Across the street, neighbors

Nancy Shea and Craig Ottersen have grandparent plans for the holiday in the Bay Area. Both have been doing child care every other week for years, so Nancy said she thinks their bubble is relatively safe.

“I’ve given up a lot to stay safe so I can do that,” she said. She’s not sure whether their son, Mike, will join the family holiday.

Taylor’s Market

The butchers at Taylor’s Market but the orders are smaller than usual.

Butcher Mitch Lind said the team behind the counter is anticipating a higher volume of smaller orders because so many people are having smaller, home-cooked meals.

Owner Danny Johnson added that the store would continue to monitor the number of people who can come inside. “It’ll depend on what the state orders,” he said. “At the moment (just before Thanksgiving) it’s 30.” Danny also said he will do his best to meet all requests. “We don’t say ‘no,’” he said, referring to the philosophy of original owner Bob Taylor. “Whatever the customer wants, we’ll do it.” Taylor’s Kitchen

Next door at Taylor’s Kitchen, executive chef Scott Macumber said he and his staff will prepare holiday meals for takeout. “We’ll have a full holiday menu with many sides. It’ll be similar to last year without the indoor dining.

“We’ll start taking orders right after Thanksgiving,” Scott said. The Kitchen will be closed Christmas Day, so orders will need to be picked up in advance.

Scott said he didn’t expect to put a limit on the orders, but he will stop taking orders Dec. 23.

Freeport Bakery

Sweet notes from Freeport Bakery owner Marlene Goetzeler include an assemble-yourself gingerbread house.

“We’re also doing new, smaller cakes and pies for home cooking,” Marlene said.

They are preparing frozen pies that can be picked up early and baked at home.

She also said pre-orders that are pre-paid will be picked up in the parking lot on a timed basis.

The time will be determined by the customer.

“People without pre-orders will be allowed in the bakery,” Marlene said, explaining she can have only four customers inside at a time.

Angel Tree

For many holiday seasons, Curtis Park neighbors have shown their generosity by taking part in the Angel Tree project sponsored by the Salvation Army. Not this year. The pandemic has kept the Sierra 2 Center closed.

However, there is a way to take part. Neighbors can adopt an angel through the Salvation Army’s website and deliver their gift(s) to the Salvation Army’s receiving stand at Cal Expo.

For information on adopting and donating, see

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