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Holiday Guide

Take me, show me, buy me

Orlando Weekly staffers, freelancers and friends tell you what they want to eat, drink and get for the holidays

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If you ask people what the holidays mean to them, you'll usually get the same old tropes: time with family, warmth and humanity, selflessness, goodwill toward men.

But we know – and you do, too – that it still takes three key things to elevate your holidays from the status of just-another-uncomfortable-family-gathering to the (ahem) blessed events that they are: lots of food, plenty of grog and a whole pile of stuff that you're either giving to or getting from your family, your besties, your co-workers and even your brother's horrible wife.

Seriously – is it Thanksgiving without your granny's creamed onions? Doesn't that post-Christmas dinner green Chartreuse really make you feel the Yuletide glow (as it sets your esophagus afire)? When do you ever get to hint around that someone should buy you a new laptop or a camera without feeling like a weird, selfish prick?

With this holiday guide, let's assume you already appreciate the warm-and-fuzzy sentiment of the season, so we can talk about the fun stuff. We'll tell you all about our plans to get Nutcrackered, eggnogged and otherwise lit up over the holidays. Then you can rifle through our listings and maybe find a few events that'll help light that festive fire under your menorah, as well.

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Eat: Ever since I was 5 years old, I've had one steady request for my otherwise besmirched birthday on Dec. 28: grasshopper pie. And not that sissy stuff they peddle at Cold Stone. No, my mom's pie features a roll call of liqueurs that reinvents the concept of toasting marshmallows. I look forward to getting an inch deep in it every year.

Drink: I'm not one to distance myself from those with divergent interests, but you eggnog people – I don't mix well with you. Even loaded up with rum, I can't seem to get down a glass. Instead, I break out the brown sugar and celebrate the season with a traditional Irish coffee. (Hint: If you are using whipped cream for your Irish coffee, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.)

Get: This year, my heart is after something rather lofty – success. Before you roll your eyes, let me give you an even better reason to groan: It's not even for me. The persistence I've seen, particularly in this community, even more particularly in emerging local artists, has rosied my outlook for what could come in 2013. For now, I choose to feel festive about the future.

Ashley Belanger, associate editor, Orlando Weekly

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Eat: Our Puerto Rican staples– lechon asado, arroz con gandules– and some not-so-Puerto Rican ones, like potato salad and pie.

Drink: Coquito! (Coconut "eggnog" from Puerto Rico)

Get: Some good ole' family/friend time would be good. Also, inspiration to finish projects – creative, professional, household, etc.

Katherine Massey, copy editor, Orlando Weekly

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