New and Old Holiday Traditions
Our little team comes from very different walks of life. I grew up just across the Hudson river in NJ, Maggie is from Buffalo, Shaylan from Boston, and Seri of course is our little Canadian. Our diverse backgrounds mean we have very different holiday traditions.
As we’ve made up our own office traditions like our holiday party, Christmas gift exchange, tree decorating and more, one of my favorite things to do is to exchange stories about how we spent the holidays growing up. It’s a little something extra special to know about everyone & I love it!
So this year for Christmas we thought it would be cute to share each of our traditions!
Well I have lots of new traditions seeing as I’m a Jew and have never celebrated Christmas. Since starting Little Miss Party I have learned a lot about the magic of Christmas from my incredible staff (not Jewish) and my favorite new tradition is our pink tree. Last year, I bought a pink tree for our office and it has forever changed my life. It’s so gorgeous and now we have several new traditions that revolve around it. First, we spend a day in December decorating our tree as a team. We make hot cocoa, play Christmas music and put all of our ornaments on the tree. Second, we do a gift exchange in the office and put all of the gifts under the tree.
My old Christmas traditions revolve around vacationing. Since we are Jewish and don’t celebrate Christmas, every year since I was a child, we would go on a beach vacation as a family. I did this with my family growing up and now I do this with my two boys and husband. We take Christmas week to catch up on sleep, relax and spend quality time together as a family. It’s my favorite time of the year.
At the Antalek household, we’re big Christmas people. Our annual traditions begin the day after thanksgiving, by driving out to the farms in western New York to find the perfect Christmas tree. I usually choose the tallest, fattest tree I can find. Then my dad and my brother chop it down and drag it out to be wrapped and brought home on the trunk of the car. My sister, my mom, and I stand by and cheer them on.
When we were younger, we would break out the ornaments and Christmas decor by the first weekend of December to get the house ready for the month. One of my best friends, Emma is Jewish, and she would always join us to decorate the tree. As we’ve gotten older and moved out of the house, the tree is usually decorated by the time we’re home for the holidays, but this year my mom left it for us! We had the pleasure of decorating with my brother and his new girlfriend, my sister, and Emma!
On Christmas Eve, we always attend afternoon mass and enjoy dinner with close family friends, since all our extended family live in Albany or Poughkeepsie. My mom gifts us kids with matching pajamas that we wear for bed and Christmas morning. We even still write our note to Santa and leave our cookies, milk, and carrots!
On Christmas morning we wake up and head to the tree to search for the pickle ornament. It’s an old German tradition, where the child who finds the pickle opens the first gift. Then we go ahead and open presents while sipping coffee and more recently, mimosas!
Our next door neighbors come over for breakfast while we’re all still in pajamas. Later in the day, we head to another family friends home for appetizers, drinks and dinner. And to cap it off, the final tradition for Christmas night as of the last 5 years is to meet all my closest girlfriends from buffalo (along with lots of people from our high school) at the local bar for drinks!
It’s a busy, yet heartwarming time for me at the holidays to be home with so many people I love and don’t get to see often because I live far away. Merry Christmas to all!
Christmas has always been and still is my absolute favorite time of year. My family has tons of traditions that we’ve kept up with over the years so it’s hard to narrow down to a few of my favorites but I’ll try! First, for as long as I can remember on Thanksgiving every year my mom gives my cousins and I a new Christmas ornament for our trees. It’s really special how she always nails everyone’s personalities and different milestones in our lives. For example, my brother bought his first car this year (a jeep) and he received…you guessed it, a jeep ornament! I always spend the days leading up to Christmas baking up a storm including red velvet cake balls and my Nan’s famous Snickerdoodle cookies. I had to start doubling the batch for my dad who literally hides & hoards them otherwise. Christmas Eve is spent with my Grandparent’s. My mom and I always end up staying up late wrapping a few last minute gifts while watching a Christmas Story on TV. We spend Christmas Day at my Aunt & Uncle’s house and between the food & drinks our family always plays a board game or two (Pictionary or Balderdash are a couple favs). We are all insanely competitive so it can get heated! A newer tradition we’ve added in the last few years as myself and my cousins have gotten older is a yankee swap. The competitive streak continues as we battle it out for the best gift and we are usually all cracking up throughout the exchange. After Christmas we always spend a couple gloriously lazy days filled with movies, PJs, pancakes and puppy snuggles. Happy Christmas everyone!
Growing up I always loved being part of a big Cuban American family. Holidays meant cramming into a room with my entire family, lots of yelling (not cause we were angry, because we’re Hispanic and loud), and dressing up in cute outfits. Over the years a lot of traditions have changed as our family has gotten older and bigger. For instance, when I was a kid my mom would buy each of us an ornament to put on a Christmas tree every year which I LOVED but we had to get rid of because we had too many ornaments for our own good (we still have them all, but now only the good ones make it on the tree). Our routine is still the same though for the day itself. We have a late dinner at my uncles, filled with delicious Cuban eats like a traditional pernil (roasted pig), black beans with white rice, yuca (a type of root similar to potatoes), flan, and so much more. Then Christmas morning we get up very early and open gift withs my immediate family. And finally in the afternoon we had a secret Santa gift exchange amongst my entire family.
In the last 5 years since I’ve been with my boyfriend, Liam, I’ve added some of his family traditions into my routine as well which I love because there is never enough Christmas!!! Now I split my Christmas Eve between my family and his because his family is spread out across the US so its the one holiday where they all get together. Then on Christmas day after my family opens presents I head to his sister’s house to be a part of their immediate family secret Santa. One of my favorite traditions that Liam and I started is that we have our own Christmas. On the 26th him and I make breakfast, exchange gifts, and spend the day watching Christmas movies in our PJ’s…. and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I hope you guys enjoyed reading what we do with each of our families. Let us know what you do with yours in the comments below!