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Weaver and Poje skate, share holidays together

Ice dancing duo will spend Christmas with Poje's family again

Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have turned the holidays into a tradition.
Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje have turned the holidays into a tradition. (Getty Images)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(12/23/2011) - Canadian ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje gave themselves little time to celebrate their fourth-place finish at the Grand Prix Final. It was back to their Detroit training base for practice. There will be a little break come Christmas when they enjoy what has become a shared holiday tradition.

When Weaver, 22, and Poje, 24, first teamed up in 2006, they lived and trained in Waterloo, Ontario, which is Poje's hometown. There wasn't time for Weaver to head home to Houston, Texas, so she and her mother spent the holiday with Poje's family.

"We went to midnight mass. His mom cooked some really delicious food. Then it turned into a tradition," Weaver said. "We do that each year now. It's such a short drive from Detroit (they moved there in 2009). That's where we'll be going this year and spending Christmas together."

Poje said his mother is allergic to gluten, so she cooks a lot of gluten-free cuisine. Their big meal is on Christmas Eve, and it usually includes a fish course. His father's side of the family is German, so there is a dumpling soup and schnitzel with the meal.

"It's definitely one of my favorite meals of the year," Poje said. "We have the meal and we go to mass. Then we hang out afterward and open presents. Christmas day, we relax and hang out with family."

And on those Christmas days, the Poje family usually goes to his grandmother's house nearby.

"Andrew opens all his presents on Christmas Eve. I usually open one or two and then save the rest for Christmas day," Weaver said.

Growing up as an only child, Weaver said she always opened one present on Christmas Eve, which usually consisted of a pair of Christmas-themed pajamas from her mother. Then she'd get up at the crack of dawn to open the rest of her presents. It was a different experience for Poje, who has an older sister

"My mom would always make her famous breakfast tacos," said Weaver, whose mother will accompany her and Poje to Waterloo again this year. "I'm hungry now just thinking about it. The best egg, sausage and cheese taco in the world."

Although Weaver and Poje had a busy and successful Grand Prix season -- winning silver medals at Skate Canada, NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup -- they arrived in Quebec City for the Final ready to shop. In 2008 and 2009, they competed at Cup of China, and in 2010, the Grand Prix Final was in Beijing, where trips to the famous Pearl Market took care of everything on their Christmas lists.

"We'd go with almost an empty suitcase and we'd come home with everybody's presents," Weaver said. "This year, we thought, 'Shoot, now we have to go out and search for Christmas presents.'"

Weaver always bought purses and scarves for her mother and purses for herself.

Since the trip to Waterloo is relatively brief, Weaver and Poje put up a tree at the house they (platonically) share in the Detroit area. It's decorated with some very meaningful trimming.

"My aunt gives us ornaments that are related to our programs," Weaver said. "She gave us castanets for our tree. We have a Phantom mask. We have a little dancing Fred and Ginger ornament and a little Moulin Rouge stage ornament. Now she searches. It's become a thing."

Weaver promises a little holiday style on the ice before they leave for Waterloo. Last year, she wore a Santa skirt and hat to practice.

"You can bank I'll have a Santa or elf outfit this year," she said.

For Christmas, most diet considerations are tossed out the window. Both love cranberries and Weaver has a fondness for Christmas cookies and pumpkin pie.

"I love to bake. That's the one thing I can do in the kitchen," Weaver said, who added that Poje is an excellent cook.

They'll likely work off the calories playing "Just Dance" on Wii, which consumed much of Christmas day last year.

New Year's Eve will be a fairly quiet evening with a few friends because they're training. The Canadian Figure Skating Championships will take place Jan. 16-22 in Moncton, New Brunswick.