Q&A: The Wellendorf family’s holiday tradition

Playhouse Square where the Wellendorf family enjoys plays during the Christmas season

Alyssa Mirossay

Playhouse Square where the Wellendorf family enjoys plays during the Christmas season

Alyssa Mirossay, Guest Writer

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In an exclusive interview, The Paw Print’s Alyssa Mirossay sat down with Library Media Specialist Heather Wellendorf about her holiday traditions.

Alyssa: What do you plan on doing in these upcoming weeks?
Wellendorf: We like to do a lot of holiday things, some things that are traditional. One thing that we like to do is go see the Christmas Carol in the theater district in downtown Cleveland. It’s something that we’ve done every year for the past four or five years. It’s a nice experience to see the lights and decorations and see the Charles Dickens story.

Alyssa: How many people in your family plan on going? Is it just you, your husband and the kids or does your whole family go with you?
Wellendorf: Just the four of us. We are transplants to Cleveland so we only have each other up here so there are little traditions we do just the four of us every year.

Alyssa: My mom and I have those too. We always go shopping on the night of Thanksgiving after everyone leaves. How many years have you been doing this?
Wellendorf: We have done it for the past four years but last year we didn’t go and that’s the one thing the kids said they missed that we didn’t go to and I think because we had seen it three years in a row it was it was not stale but it was like [over seen] you know? But every year what we do is try to mix the seats up so we are watching it from the different perspectives. The first time that we saw it we were literally in the first row and so the smoke [was coming over]– because they did the scene of the reaper or the Christmas past or future, something like that. It was the very last scene where the reaper is and the smoke was billowing off the stage on us. The one year we were in the Mezzanine section but we were not in the front we were in the second row and we had no leg room so we were uncomfortable because we were so cramped.

Alyssa: Oh wow really?
Wellendorf: So we kind of know now just because we’ve gone so many times where we would like to sit in the theater.

Alyssa: Have you ever sat in the box seats?
Wellendorf: No we have never been in the box section but that’s something on a wishlist to check off on a bucket list.

Alyssa: When I previously talked to you, you said you guys like to go out to eat after. Where do you like to go?
Wellendorf: We try to do something– my husband likes to call us foodies. We really aren’t that foodies but we like to try different things and so because we have done that the kids will at least also try. One year we went to Bluepoint and the kids got Calamari with squid ink and it was like black just like you would think was so their teeth were all black. What we do is we look at Open Table which is a reservation app and then we try to find something that’s kind of fun or hip that’s downtown.

Alyssa: That’s so fun! Do you plan on going to the same place to eat this year?
Wellendorf: We have never eaten on the little road with all the lights in downtown Cleveland-

Alyssa: East 4th street?
Wellendorf Yea we’ve never eaten on one of those streets. I think it has the Lola where that Michael Simon restaurant is in that little area. We have walked through it but we have never eaten there, so somewhere in there we liked that area and we liked Tremont because sometimes what we will do is even if we don’t stop at the Christmas story house we will drive past it.

Alyssa: My mom and I do that too.What is one Christmas play you haven’t seen but would like to?
Wellendorf: We will probably go see the Christmas Story, the bunny one and then go to the house.

Alyssa: We saw that last year it was really good.
Wellendorf: Was it good?

Alyssa: Yes!
Wellendorf: So that’s what we would probably go see.

Alyssa: What do you enjoy most about going to these plays?
Wellendorf: I think it’s because you feel so holiday-ish. As soon as you go [into the joining theaters] they have those Christmas trees that they have every year. We always do that then there’s a couple places you can sit and take photos.

Alyssa: Yea for Christmas story they have this couch with the leg lamp where you can take pictures.
Wellendorf: Yes. We have taken pictures there. So I think that’s what we like. I think you feel like that’s the holiday. It’s the lights. It’s the color. It’s the cold and sometimes we run across the street because there is a Starbucks and then we get coco when we go through the lights on the other side of the street.

Alyssa: Have you seen the ornament light fixture they have outside of the Allan Theater entrance? I think that’s where it is.
Wellendorf: No I’ll have to look for that one.

Alyssa: It’s really cool they did it last year and it was by a huge fireplace.How did this tradition start?
Wellendorf: We have been here for 10 years so we were going to surprise the kids- and a little fun fact about Mrs. Wellendorf I love the dead, I love graveyards.

Alyssa: Oh my gosh really!
Wellendorf: I do. I like looking at gravestones and so the kids would always say mom loves the dead. So we told them that we were going for a tour of the graveyard that’s in Little Italy, the big one.

Alyssa: The one on Murray Hill?
Wellendorf: Yeah It’s really big. So we were saying they give tours. So it was after church and I said we have a really exciting plan for you. You know mom loves the dead so we were gonna go see [the graveyard] we had set up a tour for you and they were like oh my gosh out of all the things we could do but then we went right to the theater and that was the year we were down front and they were like, ‘oh my gosh,’ they were screaming because the smoke was coming down and it was the first time they had been in a big theater like that. Then we went to eat at a restaurant in Little Italy. It was a really fun experience and then from there on they loved going.

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