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Holiday Heroes SPREAD COMFORT & JOY

SHOP LOCAL 2020 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

BREAK OUT THE

BUBBLY 2020 IS NEARLY OVER

PUBLISHED BY THE KEYS WEEKLY 2020


ONE UNIQUE PROPERTY TWO EXCEPTIONAL HOMES COUNTLESS MEMORIES TO BE MADE

287 GOLF CLUB DR | KEY WEST

KeyWestGolfClubCompound.com Jeffrey Dunaway, Realtor® 305.294.3064 | jrmdunaway@earthlink.net

1109 Duval Street, Key West Toll free 1.800.654.5131 | Phone 305.294.3064 keywestrealty.com

HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


ABOUT US Publishers Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com Britt Myers britt@keysweekly.com Editor Mandy Miles mandy@keysweekly.com

FROM THE EDITOR | P. 6

Account Executives Stephanie Mitchell stephanie@keysweekly.com Patti Childress patti@keysweekly.com Jenn Weiden jenn@keysweekly.com Staff Writers Sara Matthis sara@keysweekly.com Jim McCarthy jim@keysweekly.com Tiffany Duong tiffany@keysweekly.com Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com

UN-CRAFTING AT CHRISTMAS | P. 8 A KEYS HOLIDAY MELTING POT | P. 12 HOMETOWN HOLIDAY HEROES | P. 16 ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS | P. 22 HOW TO HANDLE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON | P. 26 AN ASTROLOGICAL OUTLOOK FOR 2021 | P. 30 OPEN THE DOOR TO A HAPPY HOLIDAY | P. 32 FLORIDA KEYS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | P. 36

Art/Design Javier Reyes javier@keysweekly.com Irene de Bruijn irene@keysweekly.com Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com Office Manager Char Hruska char@keysweekly.com Published MMXX Marathon 9709 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, FL 33050 p. 305.743.0844 Key West 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL 33040 p. 305.453.6928

GOOD THINGS, SMALL PACKAGES | P. 46 DON’T FORGET YOUR FURRY FRIENDS | P. 48 READING ALL THE WAY | P. 50 OUR FAVORITE THINGS | P. 52 BREAK OUT THE BUBBLY | P. 56 HOLIDAY TRAVEL DECISIONS | P. 60 KEYS WEEKLY CARES | P. 62

Upper Keys 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P. 305.363.2957

On the cover: Holiday Wreath, designed by Billy Crawford, is bursting with style and textures. It has red preserved eucalyptus, dried blue bell eucalyptus pods, faux cedar, pinecones and other embellishments on a twisted grapevine base. clubbotanic.com 4

HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


the studios

Artisan Market nline! HOLIDAY

o

shop local & buy art! Support local artists & artisans this season while finding unique gifts for everyone on your list! Visit The Studios of Key West’s website (www.tskw.org) in December.

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HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

COMFORT, JOY & WARM WISHES FOR A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON

T

he holidays are here and they’re wrapping up a year like no other. When our Keys Weekly team started planning this year’s Holiday magazine and gift guide a few months back, we had no idea what the world — or our island chain — would look like by the time we started buying turkeys, baking pies and untangling holiday lights. But we knew one thing: The coronavirus can’t stop the calendar pages from turning, and the holiday season would arrive whether we were ready or not. But COVID can’t stop these Keys communities from sharing comfort, joy and goodwill in whatever ways possible. So we decided to make that our theme for this year’s issue: Comfort & Joy. The captivating gift ideas you’ll find in these pages range in price from a few bucks to a few thousand — they’re as diverse as the people who comprise this place, and the shops that sell them are typically owned by our friends and neighbors. It doesn’t matter how long your shopping list is, or how big your budget. Consider the things that are truly essential after a year that has shown us how precious life is. You need not spend money. Spend some time with someone instead, in person or remotely. Spare a thought for someone else; share a smile or spread comfort and joy this holiday season and beyond. We’ll get through this year and we’ll do it together. Happy Holidays, Florida Keys, from our families to yours. — Mandy Miles, editor


FINDING YOUR HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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By Sara Matthis

UN-CRAFTING AT CHRISTMASTIME HOLIDAY DIY PROJECTS DON’T ALWAYS BRING COMFORT & JOY

F

or this holiday guide, the sadists on my editorial team assigned me the DIY Christmas craft story. I think they might have said, “Sara, you’re crafty.” With this inflated sense of my own self worth, I spent about four weekends trying to make Christmas decorations. Not just any holiday decorations, though. I wanted to make beautiful holiday decorations. Something worthy of this magazine. To be fair, I had a lot going for me. Time: I started way back in September with some salt dough, then graduated to polymer clay, to fashion tree ornaments. It doesn’t start well when the crafter (me) forgets to make a hole in the ornament for the ribbon loop. It should have filled me with foreboding. But it didn’t, and I just figured the clay thing wasn’t my thing and moved on to other mediums. Motor skills: I graduated from the kindergarten blunt edge scis-

sors years ago. I can thread a needle. I rarely fall down. I got this. Money and an Amazon account: I bought watercolors, watercolor pens, the aforementioned clay, glue sticks, fancy markers, a set of acrylic paints (in 24 colors!), Modge Podge, tacky glue, cookie cutters in tropical shapes, etc. And I even organized them into a nifty little three-drawer chest after I threw out my teenager’s crap. (“Mom!”) Secret weapon: My husband, Mark Matthis. He’s a mechanic by trade but he has ALL the tools. In fact, he has now graduated to owning the same tool in different sizes. Readers, I almost broke him. I have real doubts about how happy this holiday is going to be. For me. Sigh. I didn’t even come up with a couple of OKish crafts that I could glamorize by bringing to bear the Photoshop skills of our hugely talented graphic designers for this feature. And I’ve had plenty of time

to think while staring glumly at my failed crafts. Right now, they’re piled in a corner of the living room and I want you to picture me standing in front of that pile, glumly poking at it with an index finger, trying to find a single piece of redemption. There isn’t one. You know those people who wander around the art festivals saying things like, “Oh, I can make that. Look at that, honey! We could do that.” No, sister, you can’t. Please join me in supporting the talented artists in our community and buy local. P.S. Modge Podge and I are not friends. We’re not even on speaking terms.

UN-CRAF 8

HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


FORECLOSURE FUN LIGHTS! On Pinterest, these were made of felt, but early in this process I tragically elected to do a newspaper theme. I traced a spoon for an approximate right shape, stacked like eight sheets together, put a temporary staple in them and handed them over to my husband to sew. He got through about four before the machine broke — a spring inexplicably got sucked into the inner workings of his cherished, vintage and family heirloom Singer sewing machine — and though I’m not proud of this, I pretended to be asleep to avoid the drama. Later, I tried stuffing a ripped-up cotton ball between the layers to make it puffy. The pencil I was using to stuff the puff promptly poked through an edge.

THE STAR GARLAND OF DAMMIT The simplicity of this project called to me — it’s a beautiful way to decorate the home with supplies readily available around the house. In the inspiration, these are made with either scrapbook stock paper or thickish pages from a book. Again, I wanted to use the newspaper, but had enough sense to realize it wasn’t going to be hardy enough for the task. So I spent about an hour Modge Podge-ing — is that a verb, or even a word? — newspaper onto a piece of posterboard. (This time, though, I was careful to find upbeat articles with happy words, not legal notices. Can’t fool me twice.) The next morning the posterboard had as much flexibility as a bulletproof riot shield and was not at all simpatico with the bendy nature of the craft. Coupling that obstacle with the 8-minute origami video I would need to master before continuing brought this unfinished craft to an abrupt end.

Also, I realized I had chosen the classified pages for this craft. Normally, that’s a good aesthetic choice. Not this week. How festive is it, I asked myself, to have holiday lights THAT DON’T EVEN LIGHT UP made from foreclosure legal notices? Not very.

PYRO HIP HOP PIXIES OK, super cute idea. Again, I saw it on Pinterest and in the inspiration project, it was a girl on a matchbox cover, with match box legs sticking out of the open box. Adorable, right? First I went on a three-store hunt to find the match boxes. Who uses matches anymore? Then I had to find a VERY simple image to pair with my drawing skills. I went with an elf that, after I had drawn it a dozen times, it morphed into a sinister gangster rapper and became decidedly un-holidaylike. Eight hours into this nightmare, when I should have dipped the match points into acrylic paint or hot glue or something to reduce their flammability (I dunno, I’m just spitballing here), I came to the conclusion that a good fire could only help.

FTING

keysweekly.com

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR FAMILIES TO YOURS! WARMLY, THE TEAM AT DR. GUZMAN’S OFFICE

Located at 2758 N. Roosevelt Blvd. (in the Overseas Market) • Key West, FL 33040 Phone 305.294.9914 • Fax 305.295.9691 • doc@docguzman.com • www.docguzman.com 10 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


Holiday Events at h c a e R The

Letters to Santa December 1-24

Have you been good this year or naughty (but nice)? Drop your letter to Santa in the mailbox in the lobby and make sure it gets to the North Pole!

Brunch with Santa

Sunday, December 20 | Four Marlins | 11am-3pm

Join us for a special brunch and take a photo with Santa by our holiday sand sculpture.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Thursday December 24 | Four Marlins | 5:30pm-9:30pm Chef Kevin Spencer presents Four Marlins signature menu with additional holiday features.

Christmas Day Dinner

Friday, December 25 | Four Marlins | 5:30pm-9:30pm 4 Course Prix Fixe Menu of seasonally inspired dishes. 4 choices for each course. $75 per person. Kids’ a la carte menu available.

Holiday Brunch

Sunday, December 27 | Four Marlins | 11am-3pm Chef Kevin Spencer has created a special brunch menu with holiday inspired features for this special event.

Scenic • Safe • Socially Distanced Reservations Recommended 1435 Simonton Street | Key West, FL reachresort.com | 305 293 6250

Scan this code with your phone for menus

Follow us on Facebook @FourMarlins | www.facebook.com/FourMarlins Social distancing must be maintained. Masks are required when not seated. Schedule subject to change. Must be 21 or older to order and consume alcohol. Please consume responsibly.


By Erin Stover Sickmen

HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD — AND AROUND TOWN KEYS KIDS DESCRIBE THEIR FAMILIES’ CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS

T

he Keys are home to a blessedly diverse group of individuals who bring Haitian, Cuban, Eastern European, Jewish and other customs to the islands. More than a melting pot, the result is a community that encourages residents to retain their individuality, while also existing on a communal plane — a microcosm of what the world at large can be in its finest moments. During the holidays, those cultural differences are magnified in the best way possible, illuminating global rituals and traditions that have converged, of all places, on a slim ellipse of land south of Miami and north of Havana. As people move throughout the country and the world, the continuation of traditions is a way of keeping family close regardless of geography, a security blanket of sorts. Granted, the younger set’s thoughts are typically focused more on the anticipation of gifts and food than on the cultural or historical implications of their traditions. But whether they realize it or not, the first bits of that knowledge are slowly seeping in. In Key West, some local middle schoolers shared their favorite holiday traditions. From a Haitian child waiting for “Tonton Nwèl,” as Santa Claus is called, to replace his straw-filled shoes with gifts, to a young Jewish girl shredding potatoes with her mother and grandmother for latkes, these kids are continuing cultural traditions with every bite and lighted candle.

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HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

CHRISTIANA appreciates her mother’s Haitian tradition of “soup joumou,” or pumpkin soup, on New Year’s Day. The dish celebrates the nation’s declaration of independence from France on Jan. 1, 1804. “She always makes this famous soup and friends will come over to celebrate.” JOSHUA said he appreciates the different ways cultures celebrate the holidays and enjoys learning about — and tasting — others’ favorite holiday foods. KOI proves that some traditions transcend cultural boundaries. “Sometimes, my dad will let me pick one present and open it on Christmas Eve. But you should always shake the present and find out what it is.”


GENESIS knows the key to any successful holiday is a “long table,” both literally and metaphorically. Her family decorates theirs and fills it with food brought by the whole family. GAVIN knows the struggle is real: So. Much. Food. CALVIN’S family “all went to my grandma’s house in South Carolina. Four generations of Mercers at one dinner table would have a low-country boil cook out, which is basically potatoes, crab legs, onions, and peppers all in one giant pot. It tastes so good.” AARON tells the story of Hanukkah with confidence. “One day the Jewish people’s temple burned down and they only had enough oil for a candle to last one day, but it lasted eight. We celebrate by lighting one candle on the menorah each day with the middle candle. Every day a candle is lit we get a present. We get eight presents total. On Hanukkah we eat latkes, which are potato pancakes. We also spin the dreidel for gelt which is currency, but nowadays we use chocolate.”

LILY also recognizes the importance of a good latke. “I come home from school and start to help my mom make the latkes. My house immediately smells like fried potato pancakes. My family and I all sit around the table and we laugh and talk about the holiday. We dip our latkes in sour cream and applesauce. When we finish eating we all gather around the menorah, say our prayers and light the candles.” DANNA’S family traditions come from Mexico, starting with the Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 and 2. “On Oct. 31, we make all of the food such as the Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead bread) and the favorite foods of relatives who are no longer with us. We place the food alongside candles and photos of our late loved ones. For Thanksgiving, instead of turkey, my mom makes glazed ham with mashed potatoes, biscuits, and a delicious poblano spaghetti.”

For PRISCILLA’S family, the annual Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) celebration includes singing, yelling and lots of hyped-up children. But her family would be pleased to know the element that resonates most is when “my Grandma welcomes her relatives and friends to our house to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We welcome each other, pray for strength and guidance, sing and play instruments, and then eat delicious food.” Priscilla compares her favorite dish — tamales — to “exploring a new dimension.” There’s no shortage of holiday festivities in the Florida Keys, but it’s nice to know that anyone looking to “explore a new dimension” this season can simply add a tamale to their menu.

JHONNY, whose family is originally from Nicaragua, likes to start decorating early. “Before December we decorate the house.” The tree comes later. Then the wait begins for Christmas Eve. When the night finally arrives, the family shares a “feast” around 8 p.m. and the kids wait desperately for the stroke of midnight, when the gifts are opened.

keysweekly.com

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14 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


Enjoy SOMEONE ELSE’S DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY for the Holidays AUTHOR HAYS BLINCKMANN’S BOOKS ‘IN THE SALT’ AND ‘WHERE I CAN BREATHE’ ARE THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GETAWAY FROM LOVED ONES. On Amazon.com In The Salt (goodreads.com) "I have really enjoyed reading this author’s novels. I love the way Ms. Blinckmann develops the characters relationships and wraps it all up in the end. Great read.” — D. Wonderlin

Where I Can Breathe A NOVEL

On Amazon.com Where I Can Breathe (goodreads.com) A heartfelt, touching portrayal of complex family relationships. This is an absolute beautiful book. — J. Johnson

Hays Blinckmann

COMING SOON! ‘Yell Out Loud,’ a young adult novel reminding kids there are still hidden treasures and getting adults to listen isn’t such a bad thing.

Journalist, writer, viral pandemic video maker starring her alter ego, T-rex and weekly cohost on 106.9’s ‘It’s Too Early’ with Gwen Filosa, Blinckmann delivers heartfelt entertainment, comedy and a reprieve from 2020. Pick up your copy at local bookstores or Amazon.com.


HONORING HOMETOWN HOLIDAY HEROES

Holidays, hurricanes and simple happenstance — all are occasions for the people of the Florida Keys to step up, pitch in and help neighbors, strangers and even animals. Ask any island resident why they came here and why they stayed. The weather may have brought us all, but inevitably, it’s the people who keep us firmly rooted to this limestone arc of islands that swings southward from mainland Florida. For the past few years in this Holiday magazine, Keys Weekly has highlighted a few of the Holiday Heroes from the three regions of the Florida Keys. There are too many such helping heroes to fit them all in these pages, but we’ll continue to pick a few each holiday season and take a few moments — and pages — to thank everyone who generously shares their time, money or other gifts to help those around them.

THANK YOU TO ALL THE HOLIDAY HEROES IN OUR HOMETOWNS, NOW AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

16 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


By Mandy Miles

DEBORAH BAILEY “I guess I’m the Mother Goose-type,” Deborah Bailey says laughing. And she’s right. Ask the scores of local foster kids she mentors, tutors and showers with the compassionate attention many have never received. A combination of comfort, fun and accountability, Bailey is the adult with whom the kids want to share a good report card, an aced test or a teen-aged heartbreak. “I have kids from years ago still calling to tell me about a good grade they got, and that feels amazing,” she said. “They’re just kids; they want to be seen and heard, but unfortunately a lot of them have been invisible.” Bailey volunteers with kids in foster care through Wesley House Family Services, which facilitates adoptions and the foster care system in Monroe County. “Right now I’m working with seven kids, ages 6 to 20,” she said. “So many people think of the littlest kids at Christmastime, and that’s so generous, but so often the older ones get overlooked and that’s not fair.” In addition to tutoring, Bailey takes “her” kids to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, the beach, parks to do homework, lunch or the movies. To help the Keys’ most vulnerable kids, visit Voices for Florida Keys Children on Facebook. The all-volunteer program helps them with scholarships, health, dentist, clothing , camps, tutoring and counseling needs. The program also supports the Guardian Ad Litem program, which ensures that children have a voice in the court system to represent their best interests.

KEVIN PAUL TAYLOR Kevin Paul Taylor delivers goodness in Key West the way he delivers mail, piece by piece; bit by bit; to recipients he knows and to those he’s never met. He’s part of the group that established — and constantly replenishes — the Little Free Pantry on Geraldine Street, plus two others. “Our Little Pantries are 100% grassroots, community supported, with no assistance from the city or established food banks,” he said. “They’re discreetly accessible 24/7.” Taylor also recently launched the Post-It Pay program that encourages customers to “post,” or pay for, an extra cup of coffee, a cocktail, or a meal at a participating business. “You can prepay for whatever you want and a Post-It note goes up for someone to use,” Taylor said. So far, participants include: La Grignote, Bad Boy Burrito (Key West), 22&Co, Poké in the Rear, Keys Coffee Co., Breakfast Club, Too, Frita’s Cuban Burgers and Red Shoe Bistro. Taylor and Jodyrae Campbell have provided more than 2,000 free face masks since April. It started on Taylor’s mail route, where he noticed families in a housing project not wearing masks. “I find people who need them — and people who can donate materials for Jodyrae to sew them,” he said. “We’ve never accepted money. I just like to help where I can. I don’t expect others to do something I can do myself to help someone else.”

keysweekly.com 17


CINDY SMITH AND SYLVIA GARCIA Call them the little elves behind the scenes. Not only are they fulfilling local kids’ wish lists, but Cindy Smith and Sylvia Garcia are also bringing Christmas cheer to little ones in less fortunate countries. The two have been helping to pack and gather shoeboxes from fellow community members with First Baptist Church in Key Largo for Operation Christmas Child. From stuffed animals and toy action figures to socks and crayons, shoeboxes are stuffed and shipped to over 160 countries and territories. Smith has been involved in the collection effort for more than a decade, while Garcia said her kids were very active at church and started packing boxes 15 years ago. “My husband, Eric, and I did it together,” Smith said. “We liked the mission. We had hearts for children and people in need, and the mission of OCC is to reach the unreachable children in the world.” “Anybody can do it,” Garcia said. “All people need to do is go to Dollar Tree and get a toothbrush and other small items. It’s not the money. It’s the thought of changing a kid’s life.” Smith said people here in the Keys who may not be able to travel to other less fortunate countries can still send their love via a shoebox with simple, small items. Smith said one of the most exciting things about OCC is the privilege of meeting the young adults who received a box when they were a kid. “It’s a fabulous way to teach us and our children to appreciate the things we take for granted like a toothbrush and school supplies,” Smith said. “It’s the power of a simple gift.” The two have also been fulfilling the wishes of young kids and families here locally. For Garcia, it started in the ‘70s when her father helped a family fill their freezer with food while buying a child a Rubik’s Cube. “That’s what started me,” Garcia. “It was my dad.” From there, the giving didn’t stop. One of the best experiences she’s had? It was the response she received from a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old who received stuffed animals and candy canes. “They went to each other and said, ‘I told you Santa was real.’” Smith’s gift-giving started when someone reached out to the U.S. Postal Service, where she worked, and asked the postmaster who answered the Santa mail. That was Smith. She was asked if she knew of needy families, and it “snowballed” from there. “I believe in Santa and I believe it helps children believe in the impossible to ask for something they can actually have,” she said. “You see the looks on a kid’s face … and they get a laptop or PS4. It’s like they don’t know what to do. When you see a kid’s face like that, whatever you have to do to make it happen, is so worth it.” 18 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

By Jim McCarthy


TINA & CHRISTINA BELOTTI

By Sara Matthis

A front tooth? A leather welding apron? Over the years, the women of the Educational Coalition of Monroe County (ECMC) have covered some unusual needs for the kids at Marathon High School. Mother, Tina Belotti, and daughter, Christina Belotti, Ph.D., have been doing this formally for almost 20 years. In the early days, they tried to do it all themselves, now they have an established coterie of local angels. “Everyone gets a piece, a chance to give, and that makes them feel good,” said Tina. “It works, because some people like to buy books, some like to buy clothes,” Christina said. The women work year round to support kids at the school where Christina is a middle school English teacher, and Tina is a prevention counselor for Project Success. That tooth? A student had stopped coming to school for the lack of it. The welding gear was purchased and gifted to a graduate on his way to trade school. The two are also in charge of a free “closet” on school premises where kids can shop for everything from underclothes to shoes to backpacks, some of it gently used, some of it brand new. Other times they just help kids make a connection — such as pairing a shy middle schooler with an older student to accompany her to a first meeting of the drama club. To meet those needs, Tina has developed a unique questionnaire tailored to the Keys lifestyle and has encountered some heartbreaking circumstances. One holiday, they doggedly tracked down a recipient to deliver a holiday meal and discovered the mom, a recent immigrant, and four kids living in a shed. After drying their tears, they set to work: bunk beds to free up floor space, a television and an Xbox. Yes, an Xbox. “That always raises a lot of eyebrows,” said Christina. “Whenever possible, we buy brand names because that matters to teenagers. They don’t want to show up to school in a pair of Kmart sneakers. They want Nikes. It’s a status symbol and it makes them feel good about themselves. It helps them fit in.” At Christmastime, the two work hard to serve 100 middle and high school kids, ages 12 and up. Some donors want to sponsor a single teenager or siblings by way of filling an Amazon wish list. Others want to donate gift cards — Publix, for example, to put a holiday meal on the table. Or, in another instance, a Walgreens gift card requested by a child so his mother could afford her medications. Christina and Tina have the ability to serve these pre-teens and teenagers, and tailor their responses, because they understand them so well. Know this: The needs are big and real and you can help. To get involved, visit educationalcoalition.org or call 305-731-0771.

keysweekly.com 19


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS

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, Twas t he night before

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads, And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s napWhen out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below; When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name: “Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen, “On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem; “To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! “Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

22 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys - and St. Nicholas too: And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound: He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys was flung on his back, And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack: His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples how merry, His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face, and a little round belly That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly: He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle: But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sightHappy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

keysweekly.com 23


OM T H E HA P PY H OLI DAYS F R T EA M ! S PA R K Y ’S LA ND IN G

OPEN FOR LUNCH, HAPPY HOUR & DINNER VOTED BEST HAPPY HOUR 11 YEARS IN A ROW! ALSO VOTED BEST MARGARITA! OUR DOCKS ARE OPEN! COME BY BOAT, BIKE, FOOT OR CAR!

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Perrykeywest.com • 7001 Shrimp Road • 305-296-1717


By Mandy Miles

COMFORT & JOY? ARE YOU KIDDING? HOW TO HANDLE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON LET’S SEE, WE’VE SPENT NEARLY A YEAR WORRYING ABOUT MONEY, STARING AT SCREENS, DEVOURING SOCIAL MEDIA AND ARGUING POLITICS WITH PEOPLE WE THOUGHT WE KNEW. BY ALL MEANS, LET’S PLAN A HOLIDAY GATHERING WITH THOSE PEOPLE, BAKE COOKIES AND BUY THEM GIFTS. THIS OUGHTA BE GOOD. BEFORE YOU LACE YOUR CHRISTMAS COOKIES WITH EXTRA GREENERY (LEGAL OR NOT), PERHAPS CONSIDER SOME EXPERT ADVICE FOR SURVIVING THE SEASON.

O

ur family lost jobs and income to the COVID pandemic. How do I prepare my kids for a ‘lean’ Christmas? Have age-appropriate conversations with your kids in the weeks leading up to Christmas, suggests Bonnie Harris, author of “Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids.” Explain to teens that spending on non-essential items will be tighter this year. Younger children should know the whole world — even Santa and the elves — have had to cut back, and all families have to help out so every kid gets something for Christmas. Parenting coach Sarah Hamaker reminds parents that Christmas is about more than what’s under the tree. Don’t overemphasize gifts with constant conversations about “things” others received, she says. But let your kids make their usual wish lists, says Brenda Nixon, parenting speaker and author. As the holidays approach, have them write down why their top four or five items are important to them. Don’t lead them on, Harris says. Let kids know a coveted item may not be under the tree. If they’re disappointed Christmas morning, reassure them that it’s normal by saying something like, “I know you didn’t get what you wanted and I don’t blame you for being upset.” This is my first Christmas in the Keys. I’m single and haven’t yet found a “family” of close friends to share the holidays. I’m not comfortable with — and can’t afford — air travel due to COVID. Any suggestions? Your first Christmas in the Keys can be tough; we get that. You’re asking yourself, “What are these people thinking? It’s 80 freakin’ degrees. This isn’t Christmas.” We’ve all been there, but trust us. This is a great place to spend the holidays because you’ll only be alone if

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you choose to be. While most towns close up shop on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day, we’re a tourist destination. Plenty of our bars, restaurants and attractions are open and filled with holiday cheer — as long as you’re not stingy with yours. (No one likes the surly drunk crying in his eggnog, telling everyone Christmas is supposed to be cold.) Use FaceTime or Zoom to join treasured family traditions remotely. Then get dressed and head to a local hangout for some in-person comfort, joy — and ice cold holiday spirits. Or take the more wholesome route and find a place to volunteer. (Of course, it’s more meaningful if you do this more than one day a year, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.) We promise you’ll find plenty of people in the same boat as yourself. And who knows? By next year, some of them may be members of your new Florida Keys “family.” My ex and I are recently divorced with young children. How do we decide, divide or share the Christmas holidays? Above all, what’s best for the kids? First and foremost, never make a child choose one parent or one house over another. The holidays are all about your kids, not you, says Robert Emery, Ph.D, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia. “Our children deserve their celebrations even if you feel cheated out of yours. The holidays are not a competition with your ex or for your children. Encourage them to have a blast with their other parent, even if you can’t stand the prospect of being alone,” Emery writes in Psychology Today. Your happiness isn’t their responsibility. Don’t burden kids with the devastating guilt of hurting one parent by loving the other; of causing sadness in one house by being happy in the other. Assure them that if they’re happy, you’re happy, wherever they are. Emery also advises parents to make a plan in advance of the holidays to avoid duplicate gifts or back-to-back feasts. It’ll also give kids the security of knowing where they’ll be and when.

My husband and I are in our 70s with health concerns and we’re terrified that one of us could be hospitalized with COVID while the other is kept away. After much deliberation, we’ve decided not to host our usual family holiday reunions this year. How do we tell our adult children and teen-aged grandchildren? You tell them exactly what you just told us. Your kids and grandkids should be thankful their parents are protecting themselves and each other. They’ll understand and they’ll be just fine. Schedule a Zoom call on Thanksgiving Day — and have the traditional, but virtual, meltdown when “the turkey popper still hasn’t popped. I don’t know when the damn thing will be ready!” And if your kids are jerks about anything, cut ‘em out of the will. Holidays? Are you kidding? We have no money, can’t travel and haven’t bought a single gift. Christmas is a big deal in our house. How do I pull it off this year? Step 1: Breathe. Step 2: Repeat. Step 3: Lower your expectations. Seriously. That’s not just us being flip; it’s what the experts suggest. Expecting perfection is setting yourself up for disappointment. Humans are a messy bunch, physically and emotionally. We spill drinks and strew shoes. We get drunk and overshare. Uncles pick political fights on Christmas Eve and grandmothers wonder aloud why someone is still single. Kids fight, feelings get hurt and rolls get burned. And it’s all OK. Anyone who makes their life right now look perfect on Instagram is both lying and Photoshopping. Think about it. No one posts their meltdowns on social media. Appreciate your time together, let your kids know you love them unconditionally and you’ll have achieved a perfect — or a good enough — holiday.

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By Reda Wigle

AN ASTROLOGICAL OUTLOOK FOR 2021 REMEMBER LAST YEAR WHEN WE ALL HELD SUCH HIGH AND MISGUIDED HOPES FOR 2020 AS THE YEAR OF CLEAR VISION AND ROARING GOOD TIMES? AH, THE BITTER LAUGHTER OF HINDSIGHT. I BRING YOU GLAD TIDINGS AS THE DUMPSTER FIRE THAT WAS 2020 DRAWS TO A CLOSE. THE PROVERBIAL SMOKE IS CLEARING AND WE HAVE MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR AND EVEN MORE TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

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n the Chinese tradition, 2021 is the year of the metal ox, a symbol of hard work, discipline and the lasting effects of playing the long game. This cycle is associated with ethics, decency and rebuilding. Sound refreshing? It is. But it won’t be all sunshine and gains. The danger of this cycle exists in staying yoked to outdated modalities and limiting behavior patterns. Further, flaring rage and misplaced anger are hallmarks of metal ox energy. A general rule for navigating the year ahead is count to 10 when you feel your temper accelerating and on a deeper level, to investigate the wound within you that is causing you to lash out at others. Anger can be a great tool for healing if it is wielded as a window rather than a weapon. Speaking of windows, I am prescribing a few rituals to ensure that 2021 is as luck laden as possible. Various cultures subscribe to the practice of opening every door and window in a home on New Year’s Day to let the energy of the past out and invite the freshness of the future in. Once you have a solid cross breeze circulating, tradition holds that you should make as much “loud” as possible to raise and rid yourself of any lingering dark spirits or unfavorable juju. The baddies don’t like noise, so by all means shake your tambourine. Astrologically speaking, the most influential aspect of the coming months will be the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the social planets that govern collective consciousness, in the sign of Aquarius. This conjunction occurs roughly every 20 years and usually coincides with momentous change and coincidentally, presidential election cycles.

This particular union brings about a long-awaited revolution in our approach to community and social responsibility. The energies of Saturn and Jupiter are divergent if not oppositional. In terms of archetypes I like to imagine them as Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, respectively. Saturnian Clint is the stoic, punishing dad type, playing by the rules and prioritizing the hard won over the deeply felt. Meanwhile Jupiterian Jeff is micro-dosing psilocybin and asking what animal totems came to you in your dreams last night. These planets are joined in the sign of Aquarius, the member of the zodiac perched most definitely between genius and madness. As the sign of the people and social change, Aquarius operates on the global rather than the individual level. Anything is possible under the influence of Aquarius, which leaves a large margin for both progress and destruction. Within this astrological weather, expect conflict between those who cling tightly to patriarchal structures, outdated morality and the stagnancy of the status quo and those who advocate pushing back and moving forward. People and politics will be restless this year, but that unease lends itself well to human evolution. That word, evolution, comes from the Latin evolutionem, loosely translated as the opening of a book. I urge us all to keep this in mind as we move through 2021. We possess the framework for a finer, more humane future, but the book we open, and the story we write within it, are wholly dependent on our ability to operate with intellect rather than impulse and compassion over contempt.

Environmental issues will be of great consequence this year, particularly for the United States as a more progressive regime controls the White House. When considering what is possible when the taskmaster nature of Saturn is braided with the expansive qualities of Jupiter, I am reminded of the First Earth Battalion, a group of so-called warrior monks led by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon and endorsed by the United States Army. Channon sought to employ natural psychic abilities and counterculture principles to revolutionize the military’s approach to conflict resolution. Channon’s First Earth Battalion was fictionalized in the 2009 film “Men Who Stare at Goats.” In the film the mantra of the battalion reads very much like the collective prayer we are echoing as the future dawns. “Earth, you are my life support system. As a soldier I will drink your blue water, live inside your red clay and eat your green skin. Help me to balance myself as you hold and balance the Earth, the sea and the space environments. Help me to open my heart knowing the universe will feed me. I pray my boots will always kiss your face and my footsteps match your heartbeat. Carry my body through space and time. You are my connection to the universe and all that comes after. I am yours and you are mine. I salute you.” Hail to the Earth and hope for the future. Happy New Year.

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Wreaths t SEE SOMETHING YOU LOVE BUT DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO MAKE IT YOURSELF? SIMPLY TAKE THE PHOTO TO YOUR FAVORITE FLORIST AND HAVE THEM RE-CREATE IT FOR YOU.

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that wow PETALS & VINES KEY WEST 305.916.5996 FLOWERS BY J & J MARATHON 305.743.5459 KEY LARGO FLOWERS AND GIFTS | UPPER KEYS 305.451.3702

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AR!

E AND W Y AYSUL NE D I L F HO DER PPYWON HAO A RS T

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TUESDAY-SUNDAY BRUNCH 8AM-2PM DINNER 5:30-9:30PM HAPPY HOUR 5:30-7PM 530 Simonton Street 305.293.8181

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34 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


MARC ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE SALE LOT OPENS NOV. 27

1401 SEMINARY ST, 9A-7:45P DAILY UNTIL 12/24 OR TREES ARE SOLD OUT New shipments arrive 12/1 and 12/8! POINSETTIAS-WREATHS-GARLAND-HOLIDAY ACCESSORIES ORNAMENTS AND GREAT LOCAL GIFTS!

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE

Featuring new art by June Klausing and our ReMARCable Clients DECEMBER 6, 1401 SEMINARY ST, 11A-2P LIGHT REFRESHMENTS, HOLIDAY MUSIC AND GREAT GIFT IDEAS!

REMARCABLE TABLE TOP CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH AUCTION DECEMBER 9, MARGARITAVILLE RESORT, 7P-9P LIMITED SOCIALLY DISTANCING SEATING AVAILABLE Also private zoom room for the auction.

MASKS AND TEMPERATURE CHECKS ARE REQUIRED AT THE PLANT STORE. WE APPRECIATE YOUR UNDERSTANDING.

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WANT TO VOLUNTEER OR MAKE A DONATION? CONTACT BECKI BALCER 305.294.9526 XT25 OR BECKI.BALCER@GMAIL.COM OR VISIT US ON FACEBOOK @MARCKEYWEST


PAPER PERFECT LUCY HAWK ART, Key West | $50

THE ULTIMATE PIRATE HANDBOOK | SHELL WORLD, Key Largo | $19.99

‘BEACH PLEASE’ CANDLE BY COCO LA VIE | LARABELLE BOUTIQUE, Islamorada | $12

CUDDLE UP CASA CASA INTERIORS, Marathon | $92 and up

LUXURY BATH TOWELS UNIQUES BY KENNEDY, Marathon | $49

THE HOME BODY HELP MAKE SOMEONE’S HOME A HAVEN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON WITH AN ARRAY OF GIFTS FOR THE HOME AND THE BODY.

SLIP INTO LINEN | THE GREEN PINEAPPLE, Key West | $98 36 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

PLANTS BRING PEACE | UNDER THE LEAF, Key West Mini Tabletop Terrarium w/ airplant | $12; Succulent in colorful pot | $25; Driftwood Stand w/3 air plants | $25


PAPIER MACHE KEY DEER BUST BESAME MUCHO, Key West | $98

THE IMPOSSIBLE HELICOPTER TOUR | ULTIMATE HELITOURS, Marathon airport $900 for 2 passengers

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS EVERYTHING, WANTS NOTHING, BUT DESERVES SOMETHING WONDERFUL AND UNEXPECTED. CONSIDER THESE UPSCALE AND LOCALLY AVAILABLE OPTIONS….

‘BALANCING ACT’ SCULPTURE HARRISON GALLERY, Key West Price available upon request

LOCALLY CRAFTED WOODEN CUTTING & CHARCUTERIE BOARDS | SOUL HOUSE, Key West | $30 - $145

ART OF TEQUILA | MARATHON LIQUORS, Marathon | $300

‘ALLIGATOR’ CHAIR | D’ASIGN SOURCE, Marathon | $1,460

FOSSIL FLARE | D’ASIGN SOURCE, Marathon | $2,400 keysweekly.com 37


THE STYLISH OUR FLORIDA KEYS’ FLIP-FLOP FIXATION DOESN’T MEAN WE DON’T HAVE A STYLISH SIDE. WARDROBE OPTIONS ABOUND FOR MEN, WOMEN & KIDS.

COSTA WADER SUNGLASSES TROPICAL OPTICAL, Islamorada | $189

CARMEN SOL GRAZIA MINI TOTE | LARABELLE BOUTIQUE, Islamorada $145

BRIDGE RING | ISLAND DREAMZ at Postcard Inn Beach Resort, Islamorada | $34

PLAITED PAPER HAT BESAME MUCHO, Key West | $78 LINEN HANDKERCHIEFS BESAME MUCHO, Key West | $22 38 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

JOSELYNE DOUBLE STRAP SANDAL ISLAND DREAMZ at Postcard Inn Beach Resort, Islamorada | $68


ONE MINI LEATHER CLUTCH | GREEN PINEAPPLE, Key West | $48

BEADED CLUTCH GREEN PINEAPPLE, Key West | $118

SPEARPOINT “WILD FIRE” POCKET KNIFE | BLUE MARLIN JEWELRY, Islamorada | $1,700

JEWELRY | SOUL HOUSE, Key West | $30 - $62

SHEBOBO MISSION STRAW BAG WITH TASSEL | SEA AIRE BOUTIQUE, Islamorada | $62

LARIMAR JEWELRY BAYSHORE CLOTHING, Marathon | $48

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40 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


UNIQUES BY KENNEDY STUDIOS

GIFTS, ART & CUSTOM FRAMING

A UNIQUE GIFT SHOP WITH A TROPICAL FLAIR

8903 Overseas Hwy, 305.743.2040 Southwind Plaza (across from the fire station)

A SHOPPING DESTINATION FOR LOCALS AND VISITORS ALIKE FOR ALMOST 40 YEARS

MM 97.5 | 305.852.8245 OPEN DAILY 9AM - 8PM

MORE THAN JUST SHELLS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! keysweekly.com 41


STRAW HAT COCKY KEY WEST, Stock Island | $44.95

KITEBOARDING LESSONS UPWIND KITEBOARDING, Key West | From $300

PULSE SUGAR PADDLEBOARD FLORIDA BAY OUTFITTERS, Key Largo | $1,199

SEA RACKS ROD HOLDER THE TACKLE BOX, Marathon | $160-$195

THE BUSY BODY

RONDELLE CHOKER DK’S BEACH BOUTIQUE, Key Colony Beach | $23

CRESSI FREEDIVING FINS FORMULA FREEDIVING, Marathon | $149 42 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

SOME PEOPLE JUST CAN’T SIT STILL. THEY’RE PADDLING, DIVING, BIKING OR SOMEHOW ON THE MOVE. HELP THEM MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR OUTDOOR ADVENTURES.


THE FOODIE WHETHER IT’S THE LATEST KITCHEN GADGET, A PERFECT SERVING BOWL, THE BEST KNIFE OR A NIGHT OUT OF THE KITCHEN, THE FLORIDA KEYS ARE SERIOUS ABOUT FOOD.

MUD PIE DISHES | MAROONED IN MARATHON, Marathon | $35

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY | Treat your favorite foodie to an entire festival dedicated to Key West’s culinary creativity — KEY WEST FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL. Visit keywestfoodandwinefestival.com. Prices and packages vary.

WILLIAM HENRY KNIFE SET | BLUE MARLIN JEWELRY, Islamorada | $2,400

THE LUSH

BREAD & COOKIES SWEET SAVANNAH’S, Marathon $10 and up

HAPPY HOURS AND ADULT BEVERAGES HAVE BEEN ELEVATED TO AN ART FORM HERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS. RAISE A GLASS AND CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS — AND THE END OF 2020.

GIFT BASKET ISLAMORADA WINE CO., Islamorada | $175

DON JULIO 1942 MARATHON LIQUORS, Marathon | $200 CLASSY AND CLASSIC BARWARE SOUL HOUSE, Key West | $6-$48

COCKTAIL GUMMIES — WITH REAL BOOZE GREEN PINEAPPLE, Key West | $32 keysweekly.com 43


THE LITTLE ONES

HOW MANY TOYS AND OBJECTS CAN ONE KID ACQUIRE? AND HOW MANY WILL BE FORGOTTEN WITHIN A WEEK BEFORE THEY MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE “DONATE” BOX? MEMORIES OF ADVENTURES — AND OF TIME TOGETHER — WILL LAST A LIFETIME AND HELP TURN KIDS INTO THE ADULTS YOU WANT THEM TO BE. EXPLORE AND EXPERIENCE THE FLORIDA KEYS WITH A YOUNG PERSON THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. (BONUS: THESE GIFTS DON’T HURT LIKE A LEGO WHEN YOU STEP ON THEM WITH BARE FEET.)

DOLPHINS DELIGHT Your children will never forget the day they met a dolphin. Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key emphasizes education in a way the littles can understand. Plus it’s a chance to get in the water with the majestic mammals or even just get a “flipper shake.” Variety of programs available. DOLPHIN RESEARCH CENTER, Grassy Key | $50 and up. TURTLE TIME The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is oneof-a-kind. (Heck, it even has its own ambulances!) Tour the facility and see its permanent residents and temporary patients that are on the mend, plus peek behind the scenes at the animal

44 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

hospital. The tour lasts about 90 minutes and ends with a chance to feed the turtles. THE TURTLE HOSPITAL, Marathon | $13-$27. REACH NEW HEIGHTS Soar above the emerald blue waters of Key West. Enjoy breathtaking views and an exciting (but optional) saltwater “dip.” Flights are 8-10 minutes. Single, tandem and triple rides available. Takeoffs are dry and gentle — no running along a beach or leaping off a pier. FURY WATER ADVENTURES, Key West | $72 and up. AQUARIUM ENCOUNTERS Even though the Keys are paradise, experiencing the water and ocean life is de-

pendent on the weather. That’s less true at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. Guests can pet a baby stingray or even snorkel or use a hookah rig in a huge tank with live coral and fish. Tours can be self-guided or guided. Reservations required for the encounter programs. FLORIDA KEYS AQUARIUM ENCOUNTERS, Marathon | $95 and up. WAKE THEM UP Got a little shredder on your hands? Take him or her to The Lagoon on Grassy Key (formerly Keys Cable Park) for a cable wakeboarding experience in an old saltwater quarry. Every session includes basic coaching, but pick the expert option for kids 10 and under so they have some company in the water.


Guests can bring their own gear or rent from the pro shop. Lots of stuff to see and do at this park. THE LAGOON ON GRASSY KEY, Grassy Key | $24-$825. SWIM WITH DOLPHINS The splash-and-wade experience offers an up-close and interactive introduction to the treasured Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, while standing comfortably in waist-deep water. DOLPHINS PLUS MARINE MAMMAL RESPONDER, Key Largo | $170. GO PLAY OUTSIDE Fresh air, saltwater and beach days never go out of style. Give a kid the

gift of outdoor adventure with a Florida State Park annual pass. They’re good at nearly all Florida state parks. Available at FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR, Key West | $60 individual; $120 family. RAREFIED AIR “Seas the day” with your favorite kids and make memories that will last long after any plastic toy is broken or forgotten. A seaplane adventure gets you to the Dry Tortugas National Park quickly and with an unparalleled view of the blue waters below. Full and half-day trips available. KEY WEST SEAPLANE CHARTERS, Key West | $288-$634.

FREE DISCOVERIES Kids and adults will enjoy exploring the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and its coral reef, mangrove and offshore ecosystems through these interactive exhibits. FLORIDA KEYS ECO-DISCOVERY CENTER, Key West | FREE HOLIDAY HAUNTING Meet the world’s most haunted doll, experiment with paranormal equipment and tour a haunted Civil War-era fort. Older kids and teens will be thrilled time and again. THE ROBERT THE DOLL EXPERIENCE, Key West | $40.

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By Stephanie Mitchell

GOOD THINGS, SMALL PACKAGES START A TRADITION OF MEMORIES

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ne of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions occurs when we start pulling out and unwrapping ornaments from years past. The memories of where we traveled and things we loved come racing forward. So when friends and relatives ask what they can get our son for Christmas, we simply ask that they send an ornament — one that reminds them of him, or one that would make him smile, remembering family far away. “Are you sure?” is always their response. I laugh and explain that this way, when he moves into his first home and sets up a Christmas tree of his own, he will have this wonderful box of tissue-wrapped memories collected over the years from the people who love him most.

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1. WHIMSY | Key West 2. KEY WEST BUTTERFLY & NATURE CONSERVATORY | Key West 3. MARC House | Key West 4. BOO KEE SUE BOTANICS & VILLAGE SQUARE | Islamorada 5. THE ART STUDIO | Marathon 6. MARC House | Key West 7. DK’s BEACH BOUTIQUE | Key Colony Beach 8. BESAME MUCHO | Key West 9. MARC House | Key West


Holidays Events at TOY DRIVE

N OW T H R U D E C E M B E R 2 Donations of new unwrapped toys for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Keys are accepted here. Toys will be presented during our Annual Sand Sculpture Christmas Tree Lighting.

FIRST ANNUAL SAND SCULPTURE CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

D E C E M B E R 3 | 6 P M -7: 3 0 P M | SU N -SU N CO N C E RT P I E R Join us for holiday cheer, music and more. Toy donations will be presented.

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER

D E C E M B E R 24 | S U N - S U N | 5 : 3 0 P M -9 : 3 0 P M Featuring overnight roasted sea salt and herb crusted prime rib, butter whipped boniato root, mélange of fall vegetables, natural jus.

CHRISTMAS DAY BREAKFAST

D E C E M B E R 2 5 | F L AG L E R ’ S PAT I O | 7 A M -1 0 A M Continental buffet breakfast.

CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH

D E C E M B E R 2 5 | K E YS B A L L R O O M | 1 1 A M - 3 P M Featuring sweet corn and crab chowder, composed salads, chilled seafood display, international meat and cheese table, carving tables featuring brined kurobuta loin of pork and herb crusted beef striploin, seasonal hot brunch offerings and a selection of holiday inspired desserts. $65 per adult, $29 per child.

CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER

D E C E M B E R 2 5 | S U N - S U N | 5 : 3 0 -9 : 3 0 P M Featuring grilled prime beef filet, wilted chard, gruyère augratin potato, vegetable of the moment, smoked sea salt bone marrow butter, pomegranate gastrique.

LIVE MUSIC

T H U R S DAY, F R I DAY & S AT U R DAY E V E N I N G S

Reservations Recommended | 305.304.3818 | casamarinaresort.com 1500 Reynolds Street | Key West, Florida 33040 Social distancing must be maintained. Masks are required when not seated. Schedules subject to change. Weather permitting. Must be 21 or older to order and consume alcohol. Please consume responsibly.

Scan this code with your phone for menus


THE FURRY KIDS YOU CAN’T FORGET YOUR FURRY FRIENDS. PUT A LITTLE CHRISTMAS MAGIC UNDER THE TREE OR IN THEIR STOCKING...

TOP HOLI 1O DAY MOV IES

PUNNY HAND TOWELS SWEET SAVANNAH’S, Marathon | $8 and up.

SIPPIN’ STYLE ANGLER’S CLOSET, Marathon | $50

10. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” 9. “Miracle on 34th Street” 8. “Elf” 7. “A Christmas Carol” (1951) 6. “Love, Actually” 5. “The Polar Express” 4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” 3. “A Christmas Story” 2. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” 1. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Honorable mentions: “Gremlins,” “Die Hard,” “Scrooged,” “Elf,” “The Holiday,” “The Family Stone,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Home Alone”)

TOYS & TOTES GREEN PINEAPPLE, Key West | $13-$28

48 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


Happy Holidays from our house to yours!

SUBS & SWEETS ORDER AT 305.304.1470 OR COME SEE US AT 218 WHITEHEAD STREET, UNIT 1! (NEXT TO THE MEL FISHER MUSEUM)

CHECK OUT OUR DAILY CUPCAKE SPECIALS

SNOOKS BAYSIDE

More than a restaurant...

Celebrate the Holidays at Snooks in our Safe, Open Air Restaurant! Great Food • Cool Cocktails • Spectacular Sunsets Nightly Music • Cruisin’ Tikis 305-453-5004 • www.snooks.com • Key Largo MM 99.8 Southbound Lane • Behind the New Sandal Factory Outlet keysweekly.com 49


By Karen Newfield

‘O’ER THE FIELDS WE GO…,’ READING ALL THE WAY FROM STORIES OF ROMANCE AND LAUGHTER TO COURAGEOUS ACTS OF BRAVERY AND SELF-DISCOVERY, THESE WONDERFUL NEW RELEASES OFFER AN ESCAPE FROM THE STRESS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON. FILL YOUR STOCKINGS AND STOCK YOUR SHELVES WITH A GUARANTEED HAPPY ENDING.

IN A HOLIDAZE By Christina Lauren Maelyn Jones finds herself in the midst of a mistletoe mishap. Spending the holiday in a cozy Utah cabin has been the highlight of Mae’s life. Returning every year with her parents, their oldest friends and offspring as one big family brings countless traditions and tremendous joy. A myriad of games, sleigh rides, snowball fights and sing-a-longs are the memories Mae holds dear to her heart. But time has marched on and the kids aren’t exactly kids anymore. Maelyn’s longtime (very handsome) crush and his younger brother pull quietly on her heartstrings causing mischief and mayhem. When she secretly begs the universe for another chance, Mae is granted a Groundhog Day repeat until she gets it right. Hilarious, romantic, modern-day fairytale that brings family and friends together to celebrate the magic of the holidays. Sometimes a gift of the truth is not so easy to unwrap. THE NOEL LETTERS By Richard Paul Evans Noel’s father Robert Book had a dying wish to see his daughter one more time. It has been 20 years since Noel stepped foot in the Salt Lake City home of her childhood. Sadly, she arrives too late to make amends or resolve her many unanswered questions. Overwhelmed by a recent divorce and temporarily homeless, Noel decides to stay in Salt Lake a bit longer than expected. Intending to organize her father’s estate, Noel begins working in his iconic book shop, rediscovering her father’s passions and meeting the eclectic circle of people who were an integral part of his life. Haunting memories of her mother’s untimely death and a chain of letters from a mystery author slowly reveal the painful feelings Noel must face if she is ever to find love in her heart again. This tender story offers countless lessons of forgiveness.

READING AL 50 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS


WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND BRAVE By Hazel Gaynor Elspeth Kent fled to Shanghai to escape the devastating loss of her beloved. A teaching position at the Chefoo School, a British missionary in northern China, takes her far away from heartbreaking memories. Ms. Kent becomes responsible for a group of girls who achingly miss their parents as they mature into young women. Nancy Plummer is one of those precious students. Only eight when she first arrived with her brother, their missionary parents have already been gone far too long. Nearing Christmas in 1941, the small school is taken over by Japanese forces. Every student and teacher is labeled an enemy, with arm bands denoting their nationality. Under the leadership of Ms. Kent and the brave administration, students navigate the treacherous times. Losing the comfort of their routine and daily activities the children must rapidly adapt with no end in sight. They are often cold, hungry and terrified that their parents will never return. Inspired by true events, this story finds faith in friendship, hope and the smallest acts of kindness. A BORROWED LIFE By Kerry Anne King Mrs. Elizabeth Lightsey has been the pastor’s wife for most of her adult life. Having been raised in a troubled home, she was thrilled to attract the attention of Thomas. When this handsome, older man of the church proposed, Elizabeth envisaged a respectable life filled with love and security. But years of unhappiness have weighed heavily on her heart, making Liz a stranger to herself until Thomas’s untimely death prompts more relief than grief. For 26 years, his verbal abuse had worn her down and dictated her decisions, thoughts and feelings. Liz immediately attempts to repair her relationship with Abigail, the daughter she regrets has been molded in Thomas’s eyes. Determined to rediscover her true self, Liz literally throws her mattress to the curb, and embraces new friends and community theater. Nearly 50 years old Liz knows it is finally time to follow her own dreams, not the harsh expectations of others. An uplifting discovery of a life worth living. THE TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS By Jenny Bayliss Kate Turner is an independent and successful woman. Her dating life, not so much. This year all she wants for Christmas is a date (or twelve.) As the quaint English village of Blexford transforms into a winter wonderland, Kate signs up with the latest matchmaking service as a gift to herself. Twelve carefully arranged dates, each planned with an exciting activity to lower the pressure and heighten the romance. With her friend, Laura, by her side and the prying eyes of the entire town cheering her on, Kate repeatedly finds herself in one jingle bell jinx after another. Through it all, she continues to bake a variety of holiday sweets that will make your teeth ache (recipes included). Kate takes us along on each escapade, secretly wishing her partridge in a pear tree would turn out to be the childhood friend who happens to run the Pear Tree Cafe. Miles of smiles throughout this heartwarming — and delicious — holiday treat.

LL THE WAY keysweekly.com

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s e t i r o v a F r u O FROM OUR TABLES TO YOURS, KEYS WEEKLY STAFF MEMBERS SHARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS FOR A HOLIDAY SPREAD.

STEPHANIE MITCHELL ADVERTISING, KEY WEST

BEST-EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES A dear friend asks me every year to bake these cookies — so he can give them to his neighbors, who think he makes them! But I’m happy to help, and these have become my most-requested recipe that we share throughout our neighborhood as well. INGREDIENTS • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour • ¾ teaspoon baking powder • ½ teaspoon baking soda • ½ teaspoon salt • ¾ cup butter, softened • ¾ cup packed brown sugar • cup white sugar • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

52 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

IRENE DE BRUIJN GRAPHIC DESIGN, KEY WEST

GLUHWEIN (SPICED WINE) I don’t often get asked to cook, but I do ask my brother and sister-in-law to bring something specific to our family’s Christmas dinner in Holland: Their warm and delicious Gluhwein. When I called for the recipe, my sister-in-law, Evelien, said,

“Oh, it’s really easy, just a little of this and a handful of that” — not particularly helpful for a non-cook. I needed specifics. So here we go: • 1 orange (zest from about half the orange) • 1 lemon (zest from about half the lemon) • 2 or 3 cloves • 3 or 4 cardamom pods • 2 or 3 star anise • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 tbsp sugar (you can add more at the end if you like it sweeter) • water (enough to cover the bottom of a large pot) • red wine, 2 or 3 bottles DIRECTIONS Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the bottom, the fruit zest and herbs. Place on stove and heat on high until the mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Once it boils, lower the heat and add the wine. Let simmer on low heat (no more boiling) for a couple hours. Note: The key to the Gluhwein, Evelien advises, is tasting it often — before you start, while it’s simmering and of course, once it’s ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if Evelien has to make a second batch to bring to my parents. My brother may take his tasting duties a bit too seriously.


MANDY MILES EDITOR, KEY WEST

SARA MATTHIS EDITOR, MARATHON

ANTIPASTI BITES

CREAMY PEARL ONIONS

I’m not what anyone would call “talented,” or even remotely skilled in the kitchen. So I was proudly delighted when I brought these antipasti bites to a New Year’s Eve party and watched them disappear. The savory flavors are great and the green, red and white colors are perfect for the season.

Creamy pearl onions. Yeah, I know. I think I am the only person under 75 who knows what this is … but gosh dang it, pearl onions are good! The dish is tangy and savory and a wonderful foil for all that other brown food on the table. Once my dear, dear husband instructed me in the fine art of making a roux (essentially white gravy), it was a walk in the park.

INGREDIENTS • 24 slices genoa salami (4-inch diameter) • 2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped • 2/3 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers (from a jar) • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish • 48 fresh perlini mozzarella balls

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 400. Press the salami slices into the cups of a muffin pan. (Use rolled-up tin foil balls inside the salami “cups” to keep them open and secured against the edges of the muffin pan — they’ll try to fold in on themselves. Bake until the salami is crisp, about 15 minutes. (12 minutes in my air fryer oven.) Remove from the oven; let cool slightly in the muffin pan. Then discard the foil and place the salami cups on a paper towel to absorb any grease. In a medium bowl, mix the artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, 1/4 cup basil and the mozzarella balls. Arrange the salami cups on a platter. Fill with the vegetable mixture. Top with more chopped basil.

INGREDIENTS • Butter • Flour • Milk or heavy cream • Pearl onions • grated Parmesan cheese optional • minced parsley DIRECTIONS There’s an art to making roux: melt butter, then add flour. Keep going back and forth: a little butter, a little flour. Once it’s bubbling good, add a little milk or cream. Add a little more. Take a sip of wine. Three important things to remember: don’t stop whisking (stirring), never leave the pan unattended, and keep sampling until it tastes right. Add your pearl onions and simmer for a bit. Pearl onions are available in the frozen section or in the fresh produce section of the supermarket and look like miniature white onions. (Pro-tip: you cannot substitute jars of cocktail onions without becoming the laughing stock of your family. Forever.) Add some salt and pepper, some parmesan cheese and a garnish of parsley and all the old folks will leave you something in the will.

JENN WEIDEN ADVERTISING, UPPER KEYS

SAVORY MAKE-AHEAD BREAKFAST CASSEROLE This easy egg casserole is loaded with savory sausage and cheese. It takes minutes to put together, can be made the night before and baked in the morning. It’s the perfect breakfast or brunch casserole for Christmas morning — or any morning for that matter! INGREDIENTS • 1 pound (16 oz) breakfast sausage, cooked, crumbled, drained and cooled (I like Jimmy Dean mild sausage) • 6 extra large eggs • 1 1/4 Cups (10 oz) half and half • 1 tsp dry mustard • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper • 2 Cups (5 oz) seasoned croutons (I prefer Cheese and Garlic Texas Toast Croutons) • 2 Cups (5 oz) shredded extra sharp Cheddar Cheese • 2 tbsp sliced green onion tops for garnish (totally optional) DIRECTIONS 1. Whisk together the eggs, half and half, dry mustard, salt and pepper until well combined. Add cooked sausage, croutons and cheese. Stir to combine. 2. Transfer to greased 10 x 10 casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight 3. The next morning, preheat oven to 375 F. 4. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until eggs are set and top is golden brown 5. Remove from oven; allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with green onion tops.

keysweekly.com 53


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56 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

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keysweekly.com 57


HAPPY HOLIDAYS

‘TIS THE SEASON TO MAKE A DONATION DIRECTLY TO THE ANIMALS GO TO FKSPCA.ORG/DONATE

FROM THE FLORIDA BAY OUTFITTERS FAMILY 104050 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo | 305.451.3018 www.paddlefloridakeys.com

2020 has been like no other in our 65-year history and no other community has come together like ours. As we reflect on this unprecedented year, we are honored to have helped by providing PPP funds, loan deferrals, donations, and other support to our Keys friends and neighbors and are deeply thankful for our employees, customers, and community.

To learn about other Ways to Give to our organization through our specialty funds, Amazon Wishlists, in-kind needs, to buy a brick, leave a legacy gift or donate a gift of Stock, a Qualified Charitable Distribution or from your Donor Advised Fund go to fkspca.org/donate/ways-to-give

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58 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

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By Tiffany Duong

SHOULD I SHOULD I

GO STAY? OR

COVID COMPLICATES HOLIDAY TRAVEL PLANS AH. THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE, AND MARIAH CAREY’S UNMISTAKABLE “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS…” IS ALREADY ON REPEAT ON THE SLOW JAMS STATIONS.

60 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

I

n a normal year, stressful questions would arise around the holidays ‒ which side of the family to join; where to escape to for an actual vacation after seeing everyone and what sparkly dress to wear for another promisingbut-likely-lackluster New Year’s Eve. This year, add the complicated issues of whether it’s safe to fly, who might be compromised by our visits and if we can even afford to travel this year. 2020, with all its mask-wearing, spikyball-virus glory, has canceled events and travel plans for one reason or another. It’s also left us longing for those family gatherings explaining ever so gently to Aunt Sally that no, we aren’t married yet, and yes, we know we’re not getting any younger. Who knew it’d take a pandemic to truly appreciate the opportunity and freedom we had to casually jump to just about anywhere in the world without a second thought? And that we’d (gasp!) miss those dinners-turned-lectures about how Grandpa Tom used to go to school uphill both ways in the snow (in my family’s case, this snowy, showless, sojourn happened in Vietnam, mind you) and how “we kids” don’t even know how easy we have it. It’s a hard choice either way, whether to spend the holidays away from those you love or to potentially risk their and your own health with air travel. While everyone must ultimately decide what’s best for his/her physical, mental and emotional well-being, there are a few safety tips (from the CDC) to keep in mind if and when travel is considered: • Get your flu shot! • Try to drive if you can instead of flying and avoid crowded places. • Stay at least 6-feet away from people who aren’t in your household, both inside and outdoors.

• Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you’re in public (airports, train stations, rideshare, cruise ships, etc.). • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or more). • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth or face. • Wash your hands again. With soap. For 20 seconds. • After travel, stay home as much as possible for at least 14 days. • After travel, avoid close contact with those at higher risk to contract COVID-19 or other illnesses for at least 14 days. • If you have symptoms similar to COVID-19, self-quarantine away from everyone and monitor conditions. Consider a COVID-19 test and contacting a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen. Virtual gatherings or small, in-person gatherings with people in your own household are safest. So is preparing food or goodies for contactless drop-off to loved ones. Outdoor gatherings with nearby friends and family pose a moderate risk, as does visiting outdoor public places with masks and proper social distancing. Shopping in crowded stores (RIP, Black Friday, hello, Cyber Monday) and attending crowded events with people outside your household present the highest risk for infection. Whatever you choose to do, remember to give yourself and your family some extra grace and understanding about everything going on in this crazy year, and get yourself an extra piece of pumpkin pie. 2020’s been a doozy, and you deserve a second helping of anything that brings you comfort and joy.


shop local Bake shop Ice cream cafe Book/Toy store Gift shop 8919 overseas hwy. marathon 305-743-3131 sweetsavannahs.com open daily at 11am keysweekly.com 61


KEYS WEEKLY CARES... FEELING OVERWHELMED AND UNSURE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?

SOS MISSION FOOD PANTRY 5640 Maloney Ave., Stock Island and Mondays at St. Justin’s Church, 105500 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo. For additional location and distribution schedules visit sosfoundation.org.

KEYS WEEKLY HAS COMPILED A LIST OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES TO HELP PEOPLE IN NEED OF FOOD, FINANCIAL HELP, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION OR MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT.

GUIDANCE/CARE CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH • 24-hour suicide and mental health hotline: 305-434-7660, option #8. • Guidance/Care Center provides mental health and/or substance abuse help regardless of ability to pay. • Free services for youth and teens are available; no one is turned away for inability to pay. • Psychiatrists and case managers speak English and Spanish. • Translation available for Creole, Russian, Czech, Polish). Contact: 305-434-7660 option #4

YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND HELP IS AVAILABLE.

KEYSHELP.ORG The local United Way and Florida Keys Outreach Coalition has launched KeysHelp.org to connect Monroe County residents who have been financially impacted by the COVID pandemic with the resources they need for food, child care and transportation costs. SAMUEL’S HOUSE Samuel’s House helps women, men and families in need of safe shelter due to domestic violence, substance abuse or incarceration. Samuel’s House offices are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 365 days a year at 1614 Truesdell Court, Unit 3, Key West. Visit samuelshouse.org for more

62 HOLIDAYS IN THE KEYS

information. Call 305-296-0240 or toll free 855-772-7800. After-hours emergencies: 305-296-0240. WESLEY HOUSE HOLIDAY HELPERS Wesley House Family Services helps Keys families provide a magical Christmas for the kids. Contact Wesley House for more information at 305-809-5000 or visit wesleyhouse.org. KIDS COME FIRST Kids Come First provides clothing, school supplies and special items that kids’ families can’t afford. There are “closets” established at most schools and additional assistance available. Contact: Roxane Posada at 305-3601689 or Facebook at KidsComeFirstMonroeCounty. HEALTHY START COALITION Can provide diapers, formula, car seats, bike helmets and transportation to prenatal appointments for new and soonto-be parents in need. Apply online at keyshealthystart.org.


‘Twas the Night before Christmas, but you just might not know if your hearing’s as dull as a thick winter snow So this year, make a change, find a reason to be jolly with your friend Dr. Michelle and Hear 4 U Audiology

We’re working hard to keep you safe! Visit our website to learn more about Dr. Michelle and our no-contact remote hearing aid fitting program! Call the location nearest you today make in your life!

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Home for the Holidays

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Holidays In The Keys  

Holiday Shopping in the Florida Keys.

Holidays In The Keys  

Holiday Shopping in the Florida Keys.

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