Freddie and Stacey Wetzstein are always in a New York state of mind during the holidays
Like so many before them, Stacey and Freddie Wetzstein came down from New Jersey years ago for a slice of the Eastern Shore good life. Well, they got that and a lot more when she launched the ZenSpa in Fenwick Island on 11/11/11 to rave reviews throughout the region. But continuity is important, too, which is why so many bring their personal and family traditions with them when they put down stakes somewhere else, and the Wetzsteins are no exception.
This is especially true come the holidays, when a neighborly visit to the Wetzsteins 3,400 sq. ft. Cape Cod-style home in West Fenwick might find one greeted at the front door by Stacey and Freddie’s adorable pug, Bandit, resplendent in his yuletide “Peace” sweater.
“For my family, the holiday season officially begins on December 6, which is Jordan’s birthday,” said Stacey, referring to her and Freddie’s 16-year-old son. “We always go to New York then, because the city takes on a different vibe, which is really quite nice. We’ll likely visit Rockefeller Center, Times Square and probably go see a Broadway show. But what we are sure to do — and have done every year for almost a decade and a half — is stop by Macy’s in Herald Square and buy a new Christmas ornament for the tree back home.”
That tree is usually an eight-foot Douglas fir that gets perched perfectly in the recess of the Wetzsteins’ bay window in the living-room. Bedecked with ornaments, white lights and cranberries, the tree’s Christmas angel comes from a friend of Stacey’s who’d made it for her 30 years ago, while the manger set below the tree is an heirloom from Freddie’s childhood. Stacey used to indulge the whole garland-and-tinsel thing on her trees growing up, but at this point in her life she says she prefers the uncluttered elegance of a tree unadorned by them.
On Christmas Eve, the Wetzsteins will spend time with old friends and Freddie’s mom, who’d relocated to nearby Ocean View many years ago. That same evening, they are likely to enjoy services at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, also in Ocean View.
On Christmas Day, the fun begins with breakfast. It is traditionally a hearty repast, beginning with homemade cinnamon rolls and including an amazing casserole recipe from Stacey’s stepmom in Atlanta. Then, Freddie’s mom comes over, and everyone opens their presents. Come dinnertime, it’s a classic Jersey-style spread, as the dining room table overflows with homemade lasagna, meatballs and ham. The festive feast is topped off with coconut cake, pumpkin pie and an assortment of Christmas cookies, baked by Stacey from a variety of special family recipes.
But it wouldn’t be a Wetzstein Christmas without Stacey’s beloved Dickens’ Village series taking center stage in the dining room. The quaint collection — dubbed “Christmas in the City” by manufacturer Department 56 — evocatively captures a quintessential yuletide amid the hustle-bustle of an urban environment. A staple of the Wetzstein household for close to 20 years, Stacey has seen to it that the collection includes faithful representations of some of her most beloved New York City landmarks.
Throw in splashes of greenery and pine trimmings at strategic locations throughout the home, in addition to Stacey’s collection of decorative mini-Christmas trees and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade snow globes, and what you have is the true essence of holiday spirit on the tranquil shores of Fenwick Island… Wetzstein style!
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