Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. As a child, my family and I would go to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree (a 12 footer, sometimes too!) and decorate our living room with tons of lights, garland, nutcrackers and snowglobes. I was obsessed with spending each evening next to the tree with the lights off and holiday movings playing. Some nights we even build a fire and that’s why I love the smell of campfire. Alas, we have no fireplace in our baby San Francisco studio and as much as I want to find a snowy Christmas tree farm, that just isn’t going to happen here in the city.
This time of my life is all about making new traditions. Over the past few years, Robin and I have done some of our family traditions here and there when we could, so this year is the very first holiday season when we get to share our traditions with each other and make our new traditions! Robin is Jewish and I grew up celebrating Christmas, so we call this season “Christmukkah” (any fellow O.C. fans out there?)
I really, really wanted a real tree this year – especially because this is Robin’s first Christmas tree! The day after Thanksgiving, we popped over to Clancy’s Christmas Tree Farm, where we got our pumpkins! I had to resist the urge to get a big tree and after thoroughly scouting the lot, we found THE ONE. That’s Robin with her above! It’s the perfect size for our tiny apartment. Though, I do look forward to the day when we have a house and I can get us a 12 footer again.
So, my Mom each gives my sister and I ornaments that reflect things we did that year. My favorite part of the decorating the tree each year is remembering things like my trip to Mexico, that year I tried playing the cello, hugging ducks on our family trips up north, my first job in highschool at a pizza joint, or starting college – all because of ornaments!
I’ve kept this tradition up and gave Robin his first ornament a couple of years ago. After studying abroad in Italy, Robin joined me for a weeklong tour of the country. While relaxing at our hotel in Florence one evening before dinner, Robin suggested we watch Doctor Who, a show I haven’t seen yet. He picked the episodes about Angles. For you who don’t watch Doctor Who, Angles are basically monstrous statues that kill you when you blink and there are a LOT of statues in Florence. I was a bit freaked and at one point I jumped and screamed so loud that our neighbors could hear us and I bonked Robin’s head. Despite that, Doctor Who has been one or our most favorite shows to watch together. So, his ornament that year was a tiny Tardis to forever remember our time in Italy together.
Psttt: Esty is my favorite place to get unique ornaments!
It has also been a family tradition to make chili on Christmas Eve, BUT we now will be making it on Christmas Day. Getting Chinese food on Christmas Eve is a very longstanding Jewish tradition (it has a fun backstory -read about it here), so this year we’ll be ordering Chinese while watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. And once Robin finds his menorah, we’ll be lighting candles for Hannukah and I will be insisting that he makes his latkes – yum! Other holiday traditions that I plan to keep up are putting giant oranges in the toe of stockings, making Santa pie, cooking matzo ball soup with Robin, curling up with hot cocoa as much as possible and driving around town to look at Christmas light displays. It’s not exactly like our old traditions, but I love our holiday time together and am excited to see what new traditions we form over the years.
What are you holiday traditions? Leave a comment below!