The holiday season is upon us, and what better what to spend the festive season than doing the things we love with those we care about. The Carina Press team has come together to share some of their favorite holiday moments.
I like presents as much as the next girl, but my absolute favorite part of the holidays is the traditions we’ve established since my now 10-year-old daughter was 3. For the past seven years, we’ve created traditions that she already loves and enjoys every year. On Christmas Eve, we all go as a family to a nearby town and ride the “train” through the park, where a giant light display is set up. From there, we go out to dinner as a family, then sprinkle reindeer food on the front lawn for Santa’s reindeer (recipe here) and put out milk and cookies and a letter to Santa. Every year, my daughter and I wear matching Christmas pajamas to bed and then wear them when we open our stockings and gifts on Christmas Day! On Christmas morning, we have homemade monkey bread and mimosas (for the adults), open gifts, and then play board games together in the evening, after a special dinner of prime rib. I love our traditions!
My college friends and I do a crafty Christmas, meaning we exchange only handmade gifts. Always on “Friends Christmas Morning,” always the day after a massive rager of a holiday party in NYC.
15 years of friendship and we still love to fake a Christmas morning. This is what the holidays mean to me <3 pic.twitter.com/a96kp4CUey
— Kerri Buckley (@BuckleyKerri) December 19, 2014
It’s highly secretive and usually one concept per person, produced on a small scale. In other words, everyone makes one craft and makes enough for everyone. The circle has grown to include spouses and kids, as you do, but we’ve been going strong with this since 2004. It’s always a lot of work, sometimes a hysterical misfire, but usually just a really good time with a lot of thought behind it.
My favorite part of the holiday season is the tradition of St. Nicholas. In Many European countries, on the night of December 5th kids shine up their boots and leave them by the front door for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts and treats overnight. At the same time, he checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful over the last year. If they were not, St. Nicholas will have a tree branch in their boots instead. My husband and I have started this tradition with our kids and I love seeing how excited they get and how seriously they take it.
Though I don’t celebrate Christmas, few things get me in the holiday spirit as much as the first playing of Josh Groban’s Drummer Boy. I reserve listening to this until that first day when it’s so cold that there’s no denying that winter is on its way.
My favorite Chanukah moments are gathering with loved ones to light the chanukiya, followed by eating crispy latkes and sweet soufganiyot.
My favorite part of the holidays is when my little girl and my husband dance together in our local production of The Nutcracker. Last year, when Virginia turned four and was finally old enough to get cast as a party guest, my husband agreed to play Drosselmeier. Virginia strutted around like a peacock in her party dress, telling all of the big girls that Herr Drosselmeier was really her daddy. When the holidays rolled around this year, Virginia was quick to inform Jeff that this was their holiday tradition and that he had to be Drosselmeier again. I suspect he’s stuck in the role until Virginia graduates from high school, so it’s lucky that he’s both a good sport and a daddy who really does enjoy dancing with his little girl.
There’s a word in Danish, hygge, (pronounced like an old-timey car horn sound), that has no direct English translation but that succinctly sums up everything I love about the holiday season. Put simply, hygge is the warm, cozy feeling of being surrounded by loved ones enjoying good food and drink and conversation. During the parts of the holiday season that are stressful – shopping in crowded malls, driving in bad weather – I look forward to the times that will be hygge: Christmas dinner at my mom’s, cuddling up with my kids on the couch watching classic holiday movies, having hot cocoa after playing in the snow.
My favorite part of the holiday season are gingerbread cookies. My mother did not bake but she made these every year and despite the fact that they were usually burned, I liked them. True story: my mother heard this weird noise in the house in my brother’s room (he was about 7). She investigated but didn’t see him in the bedroom, then she heard the loud sound again coming from the closet. She found him inside, with a glass of milk, hammering her cookies into smaller pieces to eat. Yes, the cookies were that hard.
My favorite part of the holidays is breakfast on Christmas morning. Every year we slowly rouse, open a few gifts then make crepes with fresh fruit, freshly whipped cream, chocolate and other delicious toppings, enjoy Bailey’s in our coffee and/or a mimosa (or two!), and generally relax before opening the rest of the gifts. Spending time with the people I love, truly enjoying our holiday from work and the day-to-day, and eating/drinking our favorite things.
The Digital team runs a gingerbread house competition each year. These have been the highlight of my time at Harlequin and honestly, it gets more fun every year! The other competitors get really into it so we constantly have to up our game…and this year is no different!
Watch for Patty’s monthly blog posts that will take you behind-the-scenes of day-to-day operations at Carina Press, starting in January.
My favourite part of the holiday season is watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It is a hilarious tradition that we have kept up every single year since its 1983 release in the theatres.