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Viva Las Vegas for Buttle and family

Reigning world champ to celebrate Christmas in 'Sin City'

Jeffrey Buttle, Jennifer Robinson and Todd Eldredge will tour with <i>Stars on Ice</i> this year.
Jeffrey Buttle, Jennifer Robinson and Todd Eldredge will tour with Stars on Ice this year. (David Baden)

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By Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com
(12/25/2008) - For reigning world men's champion Jeffrey Buttle the clock isn't ticking toward the Canadian Championships, so this year he and his family are going to do up the holiday in style. On Boxing Day (Dec. 26 in Canada), he's heading to Las Vegas with his mother, father and sister.

"I'm going to spend the entire five days no skating -- just seeing shows, shopping and doing all the fun stuff you can do in Las Vegas," said Buttle, who announced his retirement from competitive skating on Sept. 10, 2008.

"None of my family are really gamblers, so we go to Vegas for the other attractions," he said. "They have such great restaurants. So much other stuff to do than the gambling." Although he does play a bit of black jack, never losing more than $20. "To say that I did it. You've got memories."

On Christmases past, Buttle usually skated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so as not to lose any momentum. "I didn't really ever take a day off," he noted. "This will be really special. I'll actually be able to do holiday things. This year will be different-just to relax. I can actually have a glass of wine at Christmas dinner."

Buttle said he always ate a little of everything, but admitted his weakness is stuffing. His mother cooks a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day they visit his grandparents.

His family always did their utmost to keep the Christmas spirit while being supportive of his skating career. One year, he was training at Ice Castle in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., and anticipated spending Christmas by himself. His family came to Lake Arrowhead and surprised him.

A trip to New York City to perform at the Bryant Park Christmas Tree Lighting show enabled Buttle to do a bit of Christmas shopping for himself, but said he usually shops for others around mid-December. Canadian Thanksgiving is in mid-October, leaving lots of lead-time to Christmas, but "I always leave it to the last minute. That's the spirit of Christmas to me," he said.

Buttle will be a guest artist with the U.S. Stars on Ice tour and will join the tour for shows in Japan in January. He's really looking forward to the next chapter in his life.

"It was time for me [to retire]," he explained. "It wasn't about what competition was coming up. I had fulfilled a dream. I had accomplished what I wanted to do. Regardless of what was happening in the future for competitions, for me it was time. I wanted to go on and do other things.

"2009 will be a brand new year," he added. "So many opportunities and different windows. Really looking forward to that."