Home for the Holidays [Hold the tripe]

CaptureWith the holiday season upon us, the end of the year provides us with a well-deserved opportunity to slow down and reflect. Lightening your foot off the gas pedal isn’t easy– after all, as a Realtor, it’s your strong work ethic and unwavering commitment to customer service that sets you apart. But now, as the year winds down, it’s your turn to unwind with it- even if only for a short while.

This year I’m going to do my best to avoid the hustle and bustle that often accompanies the holiday season. It’s been a wonderfully busy year with the US real estate market in full recovery mode, but now I’m ready to hunker down at home. It’s time to relish in a brief, but acceptable, moment of being unplugged. For me, discovering the magic of the holiday season means being able to enjoy undistracted, quality time with those that matter most- my family and close friends.

When I was child growing up in New Jersey during the 1960’s, times were different. My entire universe existed in a one mile radius. We weren’t connected to the world via internet or cell phone; if your mom was looking for you, she’d open the door and shout.

Christmas celebrations, along with every other holiday, including birthdays and Sunday dinners, were spent at my grandparents’ house, just down the street. As a child, the magic of the holidays had less to do with Grandma’s house, and more to do with waiting in line to take a Polaroid picture with Santa. But as an adult looking back, my fondest memories are focused inside my grandparents’ home.

I grew up in a traditional New Jersey Italian Family where every Christmas Eve my grandmother would cook an old-style La Vigilia dinner. My parents, my older brother, my cousins, my aunts & uncles, and I would all cram around the dining room table. And over the commotion that accompanies any family gathering, talking, laughing, occasionally shouting, my grandmother would serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Don’t let the name fool you, there were more than just seven fishes served- anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, clams, etc. Her menu also included pastas, vegetables, and the kids’ least favorite course-tripe. (If you’re not familiar with tripe, google it; you’ll understand my aversion.) As a kid it felt like Christmas Eve dinner was endless. Why couldn’t we have turkey and potatoes like the Murphy Family next door?


It’s becoming less and less common for generations of families to live in the same neighborhood, let alone the same town. As the world gets smaller, opportunities get wider, and geographically, we are now more spread out. For real estate professionals, this is a great thing; movement keeps us in business. But distance makes it hard to recreate those holiday memories we hold so dear.

They say home is where the heart is, and while I’m in Florida now, my heart is spread around the United States. It’s back home in NJ with my father and my extended family, and it spreads between Las Vegas and Pittsburgh where my grown children live. This holiday season it’s unlikely that I’ll dine on seven (thousand) fishes, but I will make time to reconnect with my loved ones.

It’s been a tremendous year both personally and professionally, and there is a lot to be thankful for. Last month I was sworn in as your 2016 President of the National Association of REALTORS. Last week, on December 13th, my wife Diana and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And in just a few weeks, my family will welcome to the world a new generation of Salomones. What a privilege it is to hold these humbling titles, 2016 NAR President, Husband, and Grandfather.

On behalf of the National Association of REALTORS 2016 Leadership Team, I want to wish you and your families a peaceful and happy holiday season.

All year long you have helped others find the homes and businesses of their dreams. Now is the time for you to relax and recharge. Savor this holiday season!

  1. Tom, Thats a lot of fishes!!! Salute! ML…