Luminaria: Roslindale Village’s Ethereal Community Solstice Gathering

Story by RVMS Marketing Co-Chair Jocelyn Hutt

If you’ve ever walked or driven by Adams Park on the night of what is known as The Solstice, a/k/a  the shortest day of the year, you might have seen the park aglow with the lights and shadows from hundreds of lanterns. The event is called Luminaria, and we wanted to know a bit more, so we spoke with Karen Kirchoff owner of Acupuncture & Herbs and the woman who every year brings this lovely event to Roslindale.

Before we get into Luminaria, we would love to know a bit more about you.

I care deeply about the intersection of community-building with issues of health and wellness.  I began my acupuncture and herbal medicine (board certified) practice in 1996.  The acupuncture perspective considers seasonal influences on well-being.

What is Luminaria and how does it differ from Jamaica Plain’s Lantern Parade?

Luminaria is Roslindale’s unique, annual community gathering that lights up Roslindale’s business district and Adams Park with 500 glowing, white lanterns on the evening of the longest night of the year.  It provides a beautiful setting for all of us to gather with friends and family in the spirit of welcoming the lengthening days-to-follow, and an antidote to the hectic season.  Luminaria welcomes the opportunity in our community to gather across diverse cultures, faiths, and generations, in the beauty of tree-lined Adams Park.  On this night, many cultures the world over mark the solstice.   In these respects, the Luminaria is different from JP’s Lantern Parade.

Luminaria, as a community gathering, gives us the opportunity to meet new people, outside, on a cold winter night, in a convivial way.  It reminds us of the turning of the earth.  It reminds us, together as a community, that each day now lengthens (which can be a comfort for those with seasonal affect disorder).  And it gives us the opportunity to sing, learn new songs, and increase our repertoire of songs to sing in community, if we want to.  All non-singers are welcome as well!  Come and enjoy the lights.

Is the event primarily for children?

Not at all – people come with friends or by themselves; it’s a community event.  Each year I try to widen the circle of outreach to engage more residents in Roslindale.  This year, Donna Parker from the Boston Center for Youth & Family reached out to me. Donna teaches computer skills to youths at the Center and she was thinking about the intersection of science and art/culture, and will teach her kids how to include LED lights in their Lumieres.  This strengthens the goal of making this a wider community event.  

We talked to Donna Parker, Computer Instructor at the BCYF Menino Community Center, and she let us know that the kids are looking forward to being a part of the Luminaria. They plan to have their young people make lanterns and light up balloons to celebrate the festival with the Archdale community.

We encourage everyone to attend! Sing a song in rounds with us!  Learn a new song!  Sing an old song.  Or just listen and enjoy.  We will have songbooks for you to join in. The event officially begins at 6:30 and we begin setup before dusk. We let the lights go until they burn out, which usually takes about 2-3 hours.

With hundreds of lanterns lighting the park, you must need help – how can people help?

Yes please!   We have benefitted from help over the years from so many volunteers: one group in particular, Mark Pelletier  and Spontaneous Celebrations helped us tremendously last year by making available to us for purchase all of our needs: bottles, candles, wax.  He also allowed us to conduct several lantern-making workshops right there at Spontaneous, without charging us.  

To get involved, call me ( Karen Kirchoff )at 617-522-3990 (work) to volunteer, or to ask any questions.  Volunteers are needed to set out the Luminaria on Tuesday 12/22, to light the lanterns, and/or bring them in at the end of the night.  We will all work together as volunteers to set out and bring in the lanterns.  We have prepared all 500 lanterns and have them all ready to go!  And we are always in need of donations to offset the expense of materials!

Thank you so much – we are really looking forward to this event!

The Perfect Eggnog Recipe for Your Holiday Party

FLAVOR YOUR HOLIDAYS WITH A BOOZY EGGNOG RECIPE FROM REDD’S IN ROZZIE

Redd's Holiday Eggnog Recipe

Story and Photos by Del Holston

I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of eggnog. I’ve always associated it with things to avoid around the holidays like fruit cakes and shopping malls. When I reached out to Charlie, owner and chef at Redd’s in Rozzie, for an eggnog recipe, my plan was to share the details with everyone, but I would steer clear of getting the drink anywhere near my lips. As I sat at the bar to get photos for this story I was fully prepared to continue in my Christmas tradition of avoiding eggnog. However after I snapped a few pics, I found myself staring down at the intriguing frothy cocktail Charlie had just hand-crafted. It would be rude not to try it, right?

This eggnog naysayer turned a corner that night. The beverage had a light cream consistency similar to custard, and even though whiskey was an ingredient, it didn’t dominate the flavor. Despite all of my previous inhibitions, the smooth texture was irresistible and I devoured the entire cup.

The following recipe is a holiday tradition in Charlie’s family. “My Mom makes eggnog every year,” said Charlie. “She wouldn’t necessarily choose to add booze, but I absolutely love the creamy bourbon blend.” He stands by his recipe adding, “You will never drink carton eggnog again. Well, you probably will, but you won’t like it!”

He definitely made a believer out of me.

Redd’s Recipe for Punchbowl Holiday Eggnog

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts milk
  • 2 quarts cream
  • 18 eggs separated. No yolks in the whites!
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ bottle Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • nutmeg

Instructions:

  • Bring milk and cream to a boil.
  • Whisk yolks and sugar until smooth.
  • Temper the egg yolks with the milk and whisk together.
  • Immediately pass through a chinois into a container over an ice bath.
  • Add the whiskey.
  • Whip whites until soft peaks.
  • Fold together as needed in batches and dust with generous amount of fresh grated nutmeg.

Tips:

  • The eggs are served raw so I highly recommend only using farm fresh eggs.
Add Grated Nutmeg to Garnish your Eggnog
Add freshly grated nutmeg as a garnish to each cup.

 

If making an entire punch bowl of eggnog is too ambitious you can always head to Redd’s to try a cup for yourself. It’s not currently on the menu, but they’ll make it for you if you ask. It’s also worth noting that they’re currently taking reservations for their New Year’s Eve celebration. This special three-course dinner comes with a true champagne toast. Early seating is available for families and early birds from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Late seating is from 9:00 – 11:00 PM and continues through the new year.

 

Who wouldn’t want a trachea (or antlers or a water buffalo horn) in their stocking?

Photo by Wicked Local Staff Member Sean Browne

An interview with Lisa DiPietro of Pet Cabaret

by RVMS Marketing Committee Member Erin Doherty


What are you doing special this year for the Holiday Wander and the holiday season?

For the holiday season we have a variety of dog and cat toys and treats. We have the specialty items that are a little extra special like gingerbread flavored things that only come out once a year for the doggies and the kitties, and special turkey cranberry treats. For the Holiday Wander, we are offering 10% off, and 20% off on the last night of the Holiday Wander, beds from Bowser beds, which are a very nice quality bed. We’re offering 20% off holiday items and treats, and you never know, spur of the moment we might offer something – so stop by and we’ll see what strikes us.


What stocking stuffers would you suggest for our pets this year?

I think stocking stuffers take the form of small bags of treats, and we certainly have really ample chewies. We just got a really nice selection of antlers and water buffalo horns for dogs – not your everyday holiday gifts, pets have a little bit of a different wish list than we do – but these are good things. I think that holiday gifts can take two forms for dogs, and cats: for cats the gift of food is always welcome. For dogs a lot of people are looking for a treat that will keep them occupied the day of the holiday, so in that regard we would look at bully sticks, antlers, we would look at water buffalo horns, things that would keep them more active. If you just want something adorable, it is going to get cold at some point, we have a wide selection of jackets; we have these lovely (and very slimming) Gold Paw series fleece outfits for the dogs, and that’s always a nice gift. But once again, the gift of food is never unappreciated – for me either!

What can shoppers find at the Pet Cabaret that they might not expect?

We have lots of single edible chewies, and that’s ceased to be a thing in big box stores. We lovingly refer to it as the body parts bar. You won’t find smaller, individual single items in other stores. It’s a nice opportunity to do a nice little stocking stuffer — who wouldn’t want a trachea in their stocking?

We do have a lot of locally made items: 2 Dogs Treats, they are participants in the RVMS Farmers Market, and we stock and sell their stuff. We also have a gentleman from Walpole who does locally made stuff and also contributes a dollar from every package we sell to a local rescue. Even the woman who sells us the antlers is down the Cape. In a lot of ways you can come in, and a lot of items that we have, even if you find them elsewhere, you are not going to find them locally sourced elsewhere.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

We are looking forward to people really embracing the whole local thing. We are almost spoiled here in Roslindale because people really do think about shopping locally, but I would just really love to see people patronizing the shops down the Square, patronizing the shops up here. At some point we’d like to see the whole Village area extended up here. That’s our hope for the New Year, that the Village expands and comes up here. We’re now going into our thirteenth year, so we just hope to keep improving and keep learning and keep expanding. There’s so much life and vitality in the independent market and in all the individual stores downtown, and we’ll just keep building on it.

The History of Roslindale’s Posada Navideña

Photo by Wicked Local Staff Brett Crawford

An Interview with Posada organizer and Rozzie Resident Lucy Galvan by RVMS Marketing Committee Member Hilary Sullivan

What is the history of the Posada?

The Posada Navideña is a nine-day traditional celebration that occurs in Mexico, Central America, and parts of southwest USA. Typically, the neighborhood event occurs from December 16th to the 24th, and it’s a Nativity re-enactment of Joseph and Mary seeking lodging. As the story goes so does the Posada — Joseph and Mary ask for lodging multiple times and are turned away until a good Samaritan opened up their inn for them, and that is where they had baby Jesus. In Mexico, people carol around neighborhoods and are turned away until they find that one home that opens up the door and welcomes them with traditional Mexican food, bolos (goodie bags) for the kids, piñatas, music and community fun.

What is the history here in Roslindale?

In Roslindale, Alejandro (my husband) and I started hosting the Posada at our home with family and friends when we first moved to Roslindale in 2006 in an effort to keep our heritage alive.

A few years later, we opened El Chavo Mexican Products and began hosting the Posada at our store as a way to bring our customers, neighborhood friends, and community together. The first Posada at El Chavo was in December of 2009 when we first opened. Since then, it’s become bigger every year. The second year, Romano’s Taqueria & Pizzeria joined our efforts, and ever since, more and more businesses have joined each year.

Last year, we made the hard decision to sell El Chavo to focus on our young family, but ironically we had the best turnout ever. We had over 100 kids carol around the Village, and all of the participating businesses greeted the kids with little surprises, including the library, which gave them free books.

Our intention was always to create community and keep our Mexican heritage alive. We used to joke that it was for our future children at the time. Now, with a four and two year old — what the Posada in Roslindale has become for our community is overwhelmingly special, as our children and their neighborhood friends get to experience a true Mexican holiday celebration right here in Roslindale Square.  

What can folks expect on Thursday, December 17th?

This year will be no different from last. We will begin by gathering at Romano’s Taqueria & Pizzeria located at 4249 Washington Street, and start our evening of caroling or asking for “posada” (shelter) with a warm drink. We will then head over to Tony’s Market to sing some more accompanied by Mariachi Estrella de Boston, and then head across the Village to Centre Cuts Salon & Spa, Boston Cheese Cellar, Joanne Rossman: Purveyor of the Unnecessary & and the Irresistible, and Birch St. House & Garden to continue our caroling. We will then make our way through Adams Park and into the Library where there will be book giveaways for kids, courtesy of the Friends of the Library, and traditional Mexican food such as tamales and champurrado (hot chocolate) prepared by my husband and myself. There will also be piñatas and pizza for the kids to enjoy donated by local business My Piñata Boston and Romano’s Taqueria & Pizzeria.

The procession will be led by Joseph and Mary and a couple of angels, usually a Roslindale family and the Boston Police Department, who will be watching over the procession to ensure safety. Additionally, I should note that all the businesses and community partners will be greeting our young carolers with special holiday goodies.

Why should they join in?

The Posada has truly become a Roslindale tradition over the last five years, and we look forward to continuing to share our heritage with our amazing community. The business community has been so generous that we ask that you give back by shopping in their stores during this holiday season!  

Here is a nice write up from the Boston Globe from a few years ago:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/roslindale/2010/12/if_you_happen_to_walk.html

Don’t Miss This Opera-TUNE-ity: Pop Up Opera!

by RVMS Marketing Committee Co-Chair Jocelyn Hutt

For the second year, Roslindale Village will be graced with the dulcet tones courtesy of the Boston Opera Collaborative performing what is now known as Pop Up Opera.  This Thursday evening, you can experience this delightful way to ring in the holidays in and around Roslindale Village. We asked the owners of some of the participating businesses what their thoughts were about this unique gift:

Joanne Rossman | Joanne Rossman — Purveyor of the Unneccessary & the Irresistible:

“This is one of the most enjoyable events of an otherwise mad season!  What a delight it is to slow down, listen to the magic of opera on one single night of December.  It is such a joy to have those voices in each of our stores and restaurants and to savor the moment.  Last year I got a bit weepy when the women came into my store…this year I will hold back on the mascara just in case the happy tears start to flow!”

Tony DeBenedictis | Tony’s Market:
“Because I am an opera buff, I feel that this a chance to introduce some good music and good singing to everyone that comes. Opera was my first love.  I first heard music when I was about 5 years old, (at the end of the war), at a Festa in the center of my village.  It was a symphonia of Verdi’s Aida that the orchestra was playing.”

Deb DeBenedictis | Tony’s Market:
“I think one of the most wonderful aspects of this event is that it is put on by a group of businesses who decided to do something different and wonderful for the community.  It is an event that would be prohibitive for any one business, but is possible because of the cooperation of this group of businesses. Hurrah for the Roslindale small business community, and especially Birch St. House & Garden, Fornax, Joanne Rossman’s,  Sophia’s Grotto, Boston Cheese Cellar, and Tony’s, of course!”

Adam Shutes | Boston Cheese Cellar:
“The Pop-up is a great way of bringing opera out of the opera house, and making it more approachable. Opera acts as an incredible way to feel raw emotion – it can sweep us up in complete joy and love, as well throwing us into a storm of desperate sympathy, sadness and loss.  Once the opera is over, we can return to our normal lives, but hopefully feeling a little more enriched.”

Elizabeth Swanson | Birch St. House & Garden:
“There is nothing better than to be in a store surrounded by the buzz of holiday energy as customers are shopping for gifts, until the first few notes of a familiar opera pierces the din. One by one everyone in the shop stops what they are doing, turns toward the trill, and just breathes.”

Kimberly Fallon | Fornax Bread Company:

“There is something so magical about music around the holidays and with opera even more so.  Watching the looks of surprise on people’s faces when the singers popped up and started to sing brought tears to my eyes…this is another reason that Roslindale Village is so unique.”

Sonia Garufi | Sophia’s Grotto:

“The red wine is flowing, the steaming bowls of pasta are being served, and diners are being serenaded by opera singers! This is the Roslindale Holiday Village Wander! This is why I #ROSlove.”

How to Build the Perfect Holiday Cheese Board

Boston Cheese Cellar Owner, Adam Shutes, Offers Holiday Tips Just in Time for the Holiday Wander.

Adam Shutes from Boston Cheese Cellar
Adam Shutes, Boston Cheese Cellar

 

Story by Erin Doherty. Photo courtesy of Del Holston.

What are you planning for the Holiday Wander and the holiday season?

I’m going to have cheese platters and gift boxes that people can pick up and go. We’ll be staying open late until 9:00 those Thursdays, and will be part of the Posada.

What tips do you have for putting together a cheese plate for a holiday party?

The first thing I would say is pre-order. I would suggest to everybody that, rather than stand in line on the day before Christmas, give us a call or drop us an email about what you’d like, or come in another time and talk to us. We can have things ready for you and you then can just walk in and walk out.

Because there are only so many of us and it takes a lot of time to figure out what people want and if we can sort of ameliorate that across a couple of weeks or a week then that helps everyone. That’s the one tip.

And obviously we make the cheese platters so we are happy to do that but if you want to make your own then, there’s a number of different aspects to think about, both the look – you don’t want all cheeses which are white on a cheese platter – that would be boring. So you want to have some variety in color and variety in height as well. It’s nice to have some texture, 3 dimensional texture. Then obviously you have to think about tastes, what would go well together – or more often than not, what wouldn’t go well together, because most cheeses will behave together. Then you might want to think of some different species of milk, from different species of animals providing the milk. It’s nice to have a variety on a board. Then you can also take a completely different approach, which I’ve done before – a French cheese plate, an English cheese plate. So then you can structure it with only those countries. So within those bounds you then have to try to find things which go together. So it’s kind of a fun thing to do, we enjoy doing it.

What is a product that you have at Boston Cheese Cellar that might be a surprise to people who are shopping for the holidays – beyond cheese?

We have deli meats in the shop. I’ve had that since day one, and we have some really sensational imported Italian and Spanish hams, which are really, really fantastic. They are high quality meats, they are imported – come in, have a taste, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how different quality meat is.

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season – in and outside of the shop?

If I am thinking about what I am looking forward to in the shop, I actually really enjoy making cheese platters because that’s a really creative moment, and its it’s normally a challenge because you are given these restrictions or bounds in which you have to operate and its fun creating something.

I would happy with not a lot of snow – cold is fine, but not a lot of snow. I’d like to get on my bike a bit more. That’s kind of disappeared since I’ve owned the shop so I’m going to try to get on my bike more and go out mountain biking.

Roslindale’s Annual Tree Lighting

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Roslindale Village lights up Adams Park with holiday spirits and the lighting of a holiday tree.  For anyone new to Roslindale (and we will let people decide what ‘new’ means), we wanted to provide a little background about this joyous day, so  we spoke with Tom Donahue, one of the people who has been instrumental in helping to coordinate the tree lighting for many years.

2014TreeLightingChrisLang

Interview by RVMS Marketing Committee Co-Chair Jocelyn Hutt
Photos by Chris Lang Photography

Can you give us a bit of history about the Tree Lighting? Has it always been in Adams Park? How many years has it been happening?

The Tree Lighting was the first major event that Roslindale Village Main Street inaugurated right after our inception in 1985. This will be our 31st year. It has always been held at Adams Park. However, in the early years the event was held on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In the mid-1990’s,we moved the event to the Saturday after Thanksgiving due to the fact that Hyde Park started holding their lighting on Sunday and we could not do both on the same day. Actually, it works out well for Roslindale Village Saturday because the local businesses are open and are participating in Small Business  Saturday, which is held on the same day. Roslindale Village is the first of the Citywide neighborhood tree lightings each year.

Has there ever been a year where the weather prohibited the lighting from happening?

 There has been only one year when it started to rain heavily in the middle of the event. But fortunately, the Roslindale Congregational Church opened their doors for us and we moved Santa, the band, and the refreshments indoors for the rest of the program.  The crowds followed and it worked out perfectly. We are still waiting for our first snow-covered Tree Lighting, as it is a bit too early in the season.

Who are some of the many people and which businesses work so tirelessly to make this happen every year?

 The beautiful lighted decorations you see on the poles around the Village and in Adams Park were initially purchased through the proceeds from our first RVMS “Taste Of Roslindale” events. RVMS continues to supervise the installation of the decorations each year through our own budget. Initially, the Local 103 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) generously donated their time to wire all of the poles in the Village and Adams Park to provide power for the lighted decorations.  Without their hard work we would not have been able to do it.  Currently, Cindy Scheff of Earthly Arts has a private team wire the poles.

The Tree and lights for the tree are provided by the City of Boston Public Works Department. The City’s Department of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment provides the stage, sound system, candy canes, and funds the cost of the brass ensemble. Diane’s Bakery donates holiday cookies and treats and the Boston Lodge of Elks #10 generously donates the hot chocolate. The Village Market contributes towards printing costs of the Holiday Wander brochure, and Dunkin Donuts supplies the hot coffee. There will be ornament making for children with Kids Art Express.

Does the Mayor always do the lighting?

YES – although sometimes there are special guests and dignitaries to assist in the ceremonial flipping of the switch to turn the lights on the tree.

What is the schedule? Are there carolers or other live music? Does Santa always show up?

The ceremony starts at 3:00pm sharp on on Saturday, November 28th.

Here is the schedule (of course we try not to hold Santa to an exact time – he’s busy):

2:45       Musical selections from the Christopher Mish Quintet begin the event and the “Reindog” contestants line up in front of stage and a winner is chosen. The “Reindog” contest is sponsored by Pet Cabaret.

3:00       Welcome and greetings from RVMS Masters of Ceremonies  – this year our own Christina DiLisio will be our MC!

Right before Santa (and our Mayor) shows up there will be a brief performance by the Tony Williams Dance Center from the Urban Nutcracker.

3:15       Mayor Walsh and Santa arrive on a Fire Truck from the Boston Fire Department!

3:25     The Mayor flips the switch and lights the tree!

3:30     Musical selections from the Sacred Heart Choir

3:45     Making Music Matters performs

4:00    Photos with Santa (on-going)

What else should we know about the event??

 The purpose of this event is to promote Roslindale Village and the local businesses, bring
the community together in a traditional fun event and encourage people to shop locally
during this holiday season.  It is also an opportunity to join in with the nationwide
Small Business Saturday promotions and publicize our Holiday Wander.   This is the mission
of Roslindale Village Main Street.

Thank you so much Tom.  This is a true community event; many hands making light and lighted work!

Learn more about what’s going on in Roslindale Village this holiday season.