The Dog-Friendly Christmas Makeover

Although I’ve lived in Ithaca 12 years now, I still miss my favorite Christmas traditions from Philadelphia. In my mind, there’s nothing like Christmas in a big city. And a small town that empties out at the end of December just can’t compete.

Honey the golden retriever and a Christmas tree.

I make every howliday special. No matter where we’re celebrating.

Luckily, I have Honey. And together, we’ve made our own Dog-Friendly Christmas traditions.

Instead of me going to a Handel’s Messiah Sing Along*, Honey and I enter the bathroom (good acoustics) for a rousing rendition of the Howl-a-lujah Chorus.

We don’t have grand department store window displays. So instead, Honey and I walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas decorations. When we find someone eating dinner inside their houses, we stand there and drool.

Since I can’t hear the world’s largest pipe organ playing Christmas carols in Wannamakers, we count the number of stores selling glass pipes downtown (6 in a two block radius).

There’s no big Jewish at Christmas event to make me wonder if my Jewish friends are having more fun than I am so Honey and I stroll around making sure all the Chinese restaurants are actually closed for the day.

Since I don’t go to midnight Mass in Ithaca, I can stay home to see if Honey speaks at midnight, like they say in the old legends. I guess I’d better take a nap or I’ll miss it once again.

Of course, I have gotten one big Christmas gift in Ithaca. Thanks to Honey we’re able to foster other dogs. And this year we have Ginny with us for the holidays.

Honey and Ginny the foster dog chew their bones at Christmas.

The only thing better than having a dog at Christmas is having two dogs at Christmas.

Maybe a small town celebration isn’t so bad after all. Especially if it’s a dog-friendly Christmas.

Your Turn: Do you have any special dog-friendly ways of celebrating the winter holidays?


*If you want to sing along with the video, the first solo begins around 20 minutes in.

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  1. I agree a big city can be fun for Christmas, but after a couple of years of going into DC to see the Nat’l Christmas tree, I’ve gotten rather blase about it. Of course, being home-bound due to my knee this year, it sounds like the best thing ever 😉

    Merry Christmas!

  2. We always take a special Christmas day walk and focus on the beauty of the day. We’ve been doing it everywhere we’ve lived and I really look forward to it!

  3. I never thought about that – how lonely it must be when the college kids go home…
    This is our first real Christmas with Jack & Maggie, so no traditions with them yet…but we’ll figure some out. Years ago when I lived in Syracuse, it would be a late night walk to look at the lights and hopefully in the snow.

  4. So nice of you to foster Ginny, may you have a blessed Christmas!

  5. We’ve never been in a big city for Christmas, we are more suburban types, except in Germany it was more of a small town. Most years we get to go to my cousin Lena’s house for Christmas Day. Christmas Even we get to open some presents, but Christmas is pretty low key.

  6. We had big plans to get out and see all of the holiday happenings in Portland this year, but then we got a puppy!! Ginny is a lucky girl to have such a wonderful family to spend the holidays with!! Hope yours is very merry :)

  7. We have some poochy howliday traiditons – the main one being that we paint a pup- themed Christmas parody on my sister’s windows. (This year it was Fleas Navidad.)

    Looking for shops that sell glass pipes…too funny. Merry Christmas!

  8. We do have a dog guest with us this Christmas. His name is Joey, and he is making it very interesting. He is attached to the back of my legs. Everywhere I go, there he is. This morning, I stood there in my bathroom and Joey sat there staring up at me in the middle of the bath mat. I turned on the bath water. You’d think he’d turn tail and run, right? No. He just laid down and I could not close the door to get cleaned up for work? He obstructs my every move. While on the surface it exasperates me, since it is not a part of my routine… I love him for wanting to be with me all the time. Somebody actually wants to be glued to me. What an awesome feeling.

  9. I moved from Seattle to a small Oregon town exactly 20 years ago (19 years, 364 days and 23 hours too darn long). I get so homesick for big city Christmases that I go online and yearn over the photos of downtown Seattle at Christmas from the Westlake Plaza carousel to the magnificent department store windows to the parade of the Christmas ships and of course Candy Cane Lane. But the most homesickness is reserved for the (mostly free) music in so many venues from office building lobbies to a quiet hour spent listinging to Christmas hymns by chorus, or as you mention, by organ – in this case the Flentrop pipe organ in one of the Seattle episcopal churches). I don’t live in a very good area of Oregon and what you would hope for in terms of small town community activities just doesn’t happen much here so I have found over the past two decades I do progressively less in the way of “celebration” (at least I don’t max out my credit cards buying Christmas gifts anymore – too long of a drive to get to good shopping and remote rural delivery from online purchases is often really sketchy). I guess everyone just loves what they grew up with and I grew up in a bustling metro area and that environment just means Christmas to me!

  10. Philadelphia? Isn’t that the city that booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game one year?

  11. Sounds lovely! Merry Christmas!

  12. I love this post! I have a feeling you have more fun than anyone in your “new” small town. I am still laughing…and applauding.

  13. Sounds lovely! I so missed having BD over Christmas.