Three years ago, my friend Kris Rochelle (Listener / Red Sweater Lullaby / normal human being) suggested that we plan a Christmas tour. I thought it was genius. It was an opportunity for us, as friends, to get to spend time together, and to spend a good amount of that time with the people who've literally made our projects possible as a poet and musician who get to share our art with the world... at a Christmas party.
We named our first Christmas tour the Everything Is Bigger In Texas Except For These Small Christmas House Parties Christmas Tour. I thought it was hilarious, but – as the joke goes – it didn't transfer that well into a hashtag. We played two weeks' worth of Christmas shows... exclusively in Texas (also a funny decision).
Last year, we asked another of our friends – Dan Smith (Listener / Dan Smith / normal human being) – if he'd like to join us for round two. Thus, Your Friendly Christmas Tour was born. We routed two weeks through the Midwest, obtained a coffee sponsor and served our guests chemex-brewed goodness at every show, wrote Christmas originals and sang Christmas carols with everyone at the shows. It was so. much. fun.
So we decided to go for Round Three.
This year, Dan, Kris and I – along with my wife, Brandi – will be bringing Your Friendly Christmas Tour to homes along the West Coast. It's going to be fun. We'll have coffee with people and laugh and sing and tell stories and hang out with one another. These tours aren't humongous with flashing lights and big sound. They're kind of the opposite. They're about enjoying people. They're about celebrating a delightful season and the joy that comes with it, or resonating with some of the sadness that the holidays can bring. But they're about being together. The nostalgia that rests beneath the tree, or the memories stuffed into stockings on the fireplace, or the silliness of the ugly sweaters we can wear when being yourself is okay. It's okay.
We can just be some people in a room who are vulnerable enough to sit close and enjoy an evening. Last year, we had shows in apartments, living rooms, a cabin the middle of the woods. We sung carols in front of a window with Chicago streets below, and in a basement in Springfield with floors creaking overhead, and in a coffee shop in Kansas City with people crowded into the staircase – all singing along. Our hosts baked cookies, held White Elephant gift exchanges, made Christmas cocktails. And we all got to enjoy the season together. There's something beautiful about it. It's about all of us.
With that said, here's what we have planned for next month, and here's what we still need a little bit of help with, if you'd like to be a part of this year's memories.
Here is a list of the cities we will plan to ride our reindeer into:
Thurs. 12/8 - Albuquerque, NM
Fri. 12/9 - Phoenix, AZ
Sat. 12/10 - San Juan Capistrano, CA
Sun. 12/11 - Santa Barbara, CA
Mon. 12/12 - OPEN [NEED HELP]
Tues. 12/13 - Redding, CA
Wed. 12/14 - Portland, OR [OPEN NEED HELP]
Fri. 12/16 - Seattle, WA
Sat. 12/17 - Coeur d'Alene, WA
Sun. 12/18 - Boise, ID [OPEN NEED HELP]
Mon. 12/19 - Salt Lake City, UT [OPEN NEED HELP]
Tues. 12/20 - Las Vegas, NV
This is a Christmas Tour Of Homes, which means we are currently looking for a few additional hosts in (or around) the cities above with [OPEN / NEED HELP] written next to them. If you are interested in hosting one of these dates that we still need help with, you can find all of the details for what that means here. (It is required that you read this information before submitting yourself as a potential host.)
The ones that are listed in bold are booked, and we will let you know when tickets for each of them are on sale. These events will be limited to a small number of attendees, so keep your eyes open for that announcement. We're excited, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
I realize that, for many of you, this announcement probably feels more annoying than anything, since not everyone in the world lives on the West Coast of the United States of America. That said, if you'd like to be considered for next year's Christmas Tour, you are also more than welcome to submit yourselves for 2017. I can't promise that will solidify your region of this planet earth for Round 4, but I would hope that we all continue to love this tradition enough to keep it going, and we'll look forward to bringing it to you, too.