The Cravotta Family Christmas Tradition


I have to say that for me, the weeks leading up to Christmas are a mixed bag; there never seems to be quite enough time. Social invitations and obligations dominate the evenings. The office is bustling in an attempt to end the year without anything critical on the unfinished list. And oh yes, there’s the gift shopping.

I’m the kind of person that likes to really put a lot of thought into both the individual, and the gift. Yet despite this orientation, the time seems to get sucked out of the month andI find myself scrambling until the very last minute to get it all done…

All that being said, my girls, ages 5 & 7, keep the magic in the air. They are so excited about every aspect of the season: whether decorating the tree, baking treats with Mommy and delivering them to friends and neighbors, or struggling to choose the best thing to ask Santa to bring this year.

And speaking of Santa, we had a moment a few weeks ago when my 5 year old asked, point blank, if Santa is real. My wife and I looked at each other as we contemplated our answer, not wanting to prematurely burst her bubble, nor to outright lie. Luckily our 7 year old stepped in with some random distraction (she, by the way, still has no doubt Santa is real), so for now the issue seems to have vanished in the excitement of the season.

I find fascinating the many different ways people celebrate the holidays. Our family is embarking on our 8th year of a rather unique family tradition that we all love and look forward to.  After opening gifts on Christmas morning, we pile into the car and drive a couple hours into the Texas Hill Country to my parent’s place called Owl Hollow.

There we join in on celebration unlike any I know.

My parents have had the biggest influence on me as a designer. Not in any specific aesthetic sense, but rather in the way they have always designed their homes and their lives -elevating living to a fine art. And I couldn’t feel more grateful for having come from that kind of environment.

Saloon Piano

Welcome to the Cravotta’s cowboy Christmas held at the Grey Goose Saloon. As far as I know, my father has had 2 enduring dreams throughout his life: to have a pet elephant, and to own an old-west style saloon. Regardless of the depth of his passion, the impracticalities prevented the elephant from happening, but the saloon was another story.

Saloon Grey Goose

So after 2 weeks of long days preparing food, the Grey Goose is opened to nearly 100 friends and family for a warm and festive time, full of near-gluttonous bliss with a wide ranging menu including wild boar, venison, quail, dolmas, deviled quail eggs, dozens of deserts and a full bar – sporting over 50 craft tequilas. Though this probably sounds like a pretty non-traditional Christmas to most, it’s my family’s tradition and I can’t wait for the festivities to begin.


Saloon view from Porch

Saloon Tree

Saloon view from Porch 2

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah everyone!