December 22, 2015
While singer Andy Williams croons somewhere in the background, this week's Christmas Day celebration truly is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" for many.
And that's especially true in downtown Crushville, home to one of hunting's most famous couples, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky.
With December 25th approaching on the calendar, I caught up with the Lakoskys as they hurriedly wrapped up their holiday preparations, finished up a year's worth of hunting and filming activities, and continued to get ready for the ATA Archery Trade Show coming up in January.
While such warm, happy holiday sentiments are usually true in their Iowa home, the thought conveyed by Williams' famous Christmas tune is even more meaningful this year for the Outdoor Channel co-hosts of the Crush with Lee & Tiffany television program.
Why? Because there's a new stocking in their home, one that's been hung by the chimney with care, all in the hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be there.
Especially as the quiet day of celebration and family time arrives.
"Over the years, my favorite Christmas memory is usually sitting out on Christmas Eve with Lee," said Tiffany. "(And) I've shot a buck almost every year during that time as he just seems to be my lucky charm!"
Unlike the hustle and bustle around the heart of Iowa's deer hunting season and all of the hunting and filming chores that go on in and around their home, Tiffany concedes that the quietness of the Christmas holiday has a strong appeal to her.
"All of our cameramen are home and it's just so quiet and relaxed here (on Christmas Day)," she said. "And now, with our newborn son, Cameron, here, that time will be even more special for us."
When asked if she had any sort of special gift wish for this Christmas season, Tiffany said no.
"Gosh, I can't think of even one thing that I would like for Christmas (this year)," she said. "All of my Christmas wishes came true with the birth of our son, Cameron (earlier this year)."
If the well-known hunting couple and their newborn son will enjoy the quietness of Christmas Day, it will soon be back to normal life and the routine of the hunting business.
After all, the Lakoskys film their deer hunts as a portion of their annual living.
And that means that there is always one more roll of good footage to obtain, always one more episode to try and find out in the woods as long as the law and empty tags will allow.
"When it comes to late season hunting, we focus on food," said Tiffany. "This is when our food plots really come into play, especially if our temps are super cold."
And when that's the case?
"We can normally shoot a giant (buck) at this time of year as our bucks are done focusing on does and are back to focusing on food sources."
Speaking of big bucks and food, I asked the first lady of Crushville if she and the town's mayor, Lee, had a favorite way to prepare their hard won venison as another Iowa winter season unfolds.
"We're on a taco kick lately, oven tacos to be exact," said Tiffany.
"Yes, you take a pound of venison that has been browned, add a packet of taco sauce, add a half a can of refried beans and then a half a can of tomato sauce," said Tiffany.
"You put that mixture into a stand-up taco shell and sprinkle it with cheese and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes … it's yummy!"
Sounds like a meal fit for a king.
Not to mention the growing Lakosky clan as they celebrate the birth of a son, a year's worth of outdoors blessings and plenty of Big Buck Down! moments filmed by the camera.
And come to think of it, a stand-up venison oven taco might make a pretty good snack for jolly old St. Nicholas as brings his sleigh to Iowa.
After all, who needs cookies?
Even during Christmas time in downtown Crushville, truly the most wonderful time of the year.