A Holiday Giveaway

December 12, 2012

You might already know this but we are approaching the middle of December.  Fast.  I still seem to be under the impression that we are in October.  It might have something to do with the fact that it has been sunny and in the 60′s here in Oakland.  December, the one that I know, is rainy and in the 40′s.  If that.

I’m doing my best to get in the spirit.  I’ve made up my baking list and am starting to tackle it.  We listen to holiday music at night.  We have been lighting our Menorah.  We went and got our tree over the weekend and spent last night decorating it and setting up an amazing train set that Randy’s parents sent to us.  (We are a mixed faith household.)  The stockings are hung, we have lights on our house.  It just doesn’t feel right to me though.  There is not much I miss about our Seattle house, but I do miss how it looked at Christmas time.  We had very high ceilings and each year got an enormous tree, one that smelled just like a forest.  Our ceilings are lower here, our tree is smaller, and we were not able to hang all the ornaments.  It doesn’t smell as good as a Washington tree.  The day we cut it down, the boys were wearing shorts.  In our old life, I made dinner for my family on Christmas Eve to celebrate my parents’ anniversary and we all opened our gifts that night.  It will be different this year.

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer.  I have a wonderful life and so much to be thankful for.  It’s just moving is hard and the smooth sailing I felt after we first got here has morphed into missing home.  But enough sadness and nostalgia.  Time to cheer up and time for new traditions.  Yes our tree is smaller but when we turn out the lights in the living room, not only do our tree lights sparkle, but so do all the lights in Oakland, San Francisco, and Marin.  We can see them all from our cozy couch.  We have been invited to parties with new friends and I have new teachers to bake for.  I’d like to know what your traditions are, how you celebrate this season.  And I’m giving something away.

Last fall, I went to visit the nice people at Harry and David.  I wrote about my trip here.  Since then, I have bought several boxes of pears from them to give as gifts and also just for our family.  If you have never had a Harry and David pear, they are the best you will ever taste.  They are also gorgeous.  Because they are a generous company, they have sent me a box of Washington apples (the only produce, next to wild mushrooms, that I miss from my home state) and a box of pears this year.  And they offered to give away a great box to one of my readers.

I got to hand pick which box to giveaway and I chose this one for a reason.  This is the Bear Creek gift box and I love it.  It offers the very best of the company, in my opinion.  Plenty of pears, a couple apples, some savory snacks (nuts, crackers, Rogue River cheese), and some sweet (cookies, chocolate covered cherries, and the all-important Moose Munch).  Want one?  Just leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite holiday tradition is.  I always like learning more about my readers.  The winner will be chosen at random on Monday morning around noon.  Thanks for being here and for your continued support.


  1. My favorite holiday tradition happens on the day after Thanksgiving. That is the day we go roaming the fields for a Christmas tree. There are usually long deliberations, opinions fly, but it is always up to my mother to have the final pick. I am excited to integrate this tradition in my own family as we just had our first baby this fall.

    Comment by Bekah — December 12, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  2. Since my daughters grew up and moved away from home,my traditions have gone through much change. For the past few years, they and signifigant others join me for brunch and gifts on Christmas morning with dinner at my daughter’s home. That meal is a tradition that has endured, Baked ham and scalloped potatoes.

    Comment by Karen Flamard — December 12, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  3. No question – celebratory meals with family and friends. This year Christmas dinner will be shared with great friends. While we have clear food traditions, I like taking opportunities to be flexible with them. This year “dinner” will be for 2 families (4 adults, 3 kids), spread over late afternoon and evening, and consist entirely of favorite appetizers, and of course dessert.

    Comment by Melora — December 12, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  4. Oh, I LOVE H&D pears!! So yummy!!!

    Funny how holiday traditions always center around food, right? Every year growing up my Aunt would get the whole family of Ester Price candy – it’s your run-of-the mill box full of chocolates, from a place that’s in Dayton, OH… but it was just tradition, and my parents have decided to keep up the tradition by sending each of us (grown/married) kids a box every year. The candies are never labelled and while my sister remembers what all the shapes and drizzled chocolate patterns mean and can tell you “that’s coconut-filled!” I can never remember, so each one is always a mystery to me, and I love it!

    (I also love pears.)

    (and Moose Munch – who doesn’t?)

    Comment by Jennifer (iffles) — December 12, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  5. I love making gingerbread houses from scratch with my four kids!

    Comment by Rose — December 12, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  6. We started a new tradition last year of baking Chanukah cookies with my niece. We did it again this year, and she had a really great time cutting out the cookies, dipping them in icing and then picking the sprinkles to put on them. This year, she even stood next to me and “helped” fry the latkes.

    Comment by Joni — December 12, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  7. I’m sorry the holidays don’t feel quite right for you down here. i can definitely sympathize. I just visited Colorado for the first time after living there during grad school and all that cold snow made me so nostalgic!
    At least you have some cheery pears from your past around. I grew up eating Harry and David pears that my grandmother sent every year!
    I miss the holiday tradition of opening my stocking with my little brother before everyone else got up Christmas morning. That was my favorite.

    Comment by Rachel — December 12, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  8. I love giving gifts to my children and loved ones!! It is so much fun to watch them open them. It really blesses me:)

    Comment by Bonnie Faville — December 12, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

  9. Hi Dana, I’ve never posted before but in the holiday spirit – and since I can tell you are feeling a little low – i wanted to let you know how much I have loved reading your blog over the last year or so since I subscribed. I have found new recipes which I make over and over again – I particularly love the Jeanne Lemmin (sp?) Vegetable Pie. I can’t imagine how hard moving was – and although it comes up often becaue of my husband’s career (tech sector so west coast always comes up) – we haven’t had to move yet. Everyone says it takes at least a year to really adjust and have your new city feel like home. I’m sure you will get there too. Your new homes looks lovely and I’m jealous of all of the new experiences you are having exploring SF. In the meantime, thanks for inspiring me with your beautiful pictures and recipes and snippets of your life. I also have little boys so love seeing what yours are up too – they are adorable. Hope their transition has been smooth – Happy Hanukkah and holiday season!

    Comment by Debbie — December 12, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  10. My favorite holiday tradition is taking the tree ornaments out of the box and reminiscing about each one. I usually do this job by myself and get to think about all the life moments surrounding each one, some sad but mostly oh-so-wonderful. It’s personal quiet time to reflect and I love it.

    Comment by Lana — December 12, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  11. Decorating sugar & gingerbread cookies! Happy holidays Dana!

    Comment by Andrea — December 12, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  12. I made an advent calendar out of my two year old’s baby socks last year..we have started the tradition of leaving a little treat in each sock for her to get down each afternoon and she loves it!

    Comment by Ashley — December 12, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

  13. I think if I have to pick just one, my favorite holiday tradition is getting together with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren to do some marathon holiday baking. They have a large kitchen island so we put ingredients in the center and then each have our own “station” so we can chat {over the Christmas music in the background} and drink hot chocolate or eggnog while we prepare quick breads, cookies and bars, candies, cake pops, French macarons, chocolate truffles ~ we always mix things up.

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway! I love Harry & David!

    Comment by Dani H — December 12, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  14. Baking,baking & more baking…my kids here in Atlanta to eat it all! Love being surrounded by friends & family during the holidays.

    Comment by jenna — December 12, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  15. Dana – It is normal to be nostalgic this time of year — especially in one where you have moved. Just think though – you are also creating new traditions in CA as you leave behind loved traditions in WA.

    Recently, in the past few years, our tradition has been to keep the fake Christmas tree (that we obtained at an auction the first year we were married) together and in the basement tucked in a corner stored away. When we are ready to put it up, literally it is brought upstairs and ready to go in about 2 minutes! Ha!

    Comment by Kel — December 12, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

  16. One of the holiday traditions I’ve established with my son is cooking for his teacher as our gift to her. I have him help me create a menu with three choices in three categories of foods that I cook that he like to eat, and think she will too. (Soup, Sandwich and Something Sweet).

    It is fun to find out what things I cook that he likes and wants to share with his teacher. He then decorates the menu and presents it to her. He loves showing it to her and trying to sell her on some of his menu selections.

    She circles an item in each category and selects one of the dates I’ve listed (I offer three different dates after school starts back up again in January) and then writes in the time for me to have the meal at school for lunch. I always make the lunch the teacher has selected for my son as well as for his teacher. He loves it.

    I like being able to share my cooking ability, but I really love getting my son involved in the present (he even helps with some of the cooking), and knowing she chose the lunch that she preferred. We’ve done this for 3 year now, and have had most every teacher say it was one of their favorite gifts.

    Comment by S — December 12, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  17. Growing up my mom bought my sisters and I Xmas pajamas and we opened them on Christmas Eve. Then we’d watch Xmas movies and drink hot chocolate. My husband and I hope to continue the tradition with our babies, Dylan (19 months ) and Avery (3 months ). Obviously this year the tradition will be more for us than them, but that’s ok :)

    Comment by Christina — December 12, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

  18. I have always enjoyed reading your blog. I only read yours and one other because I am so busy.
    My favorite tradition is just visiting my
    mother in the nursing home an hour away from us. Last year a
    jazz combo gave up their Christmas afternoon to serenade the
    seniors and it was great, hope they come again. I also always
    make Italian food on Christmas Eve.

    Comment by Carol Kirk — December 12, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  19. Can I pick two holiday traditions?

    Every year we make candy (fudge, peanut brittle, toffee, peppermint bark…) and send it to about 40 people. It takes a ton of time during a season that’s already crazy and makes a mess of my kitchen for weeks. But when people start asking about it in November, I know it’s worth it.

    And every year at my neighbor’s solstice party we bottle the previous year’s red wine, usually about 12 cases split between the 6 people in our core group. Lots of folks help out or stand around to watch and ask about home wine making. Most get a glass of new wine and some go home with a bottle. It’s always a good time.


    Comment by Malia — December 12, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  20. Hi! My favorite tradition is our “drive-by night”. we all pile in the car -load up on waffle fries and decadent burgers, from a local all homemade 50′s style burger stand, and then drive all around our sweet town looking at fabulous holiday light displays. we try and search out new ones, as well homes that we can always count on to wow us. Wishing you a joyous Christmas and Happy Hannukah!

    Comment by Cat McAlister — December 12, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  21. We make cinnamon rolls for breakfast every Christmas. We eat them between stockings and presents. I love the way they make the house smell!


    Comment by Rochelle — December 12, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  22. I read my girls ’twas the Night Before Christmas before bed just as my dad did when I was little.

    Comment by Jen — December 12, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  23. My favorite tradition is my family’s secret Santa exchange on Christmas Eve. When we were little we always got pajamas to wear for Christmas morning. Now the gifts are a bit more personalized.

    Comment by Elin — December 12, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  24. Our family’s favorite tradition is to put together a thermos of something warm, bundle up the kiddo, put the dogs on leash, and take a walk down through Candy Cane Lane here in Seattle. We almost always run into neighbors and everyone is in a great mood. The lights are nice to see, but it’s more about walking there and back.

    Comment by Amy — December 12, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  25. I make ornaments for my people. It started almost 15 years ago when I moved away from my family and began making ornaments for my niece and nephew. The challenge was coming up with a different idea each year. The medium would change gem year to year. Now I make them for our friends too. This year I am making 15 of them.

    Comment by Denison — December 12, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  26. Baking,baking & more baking! Surrounded by family & friends on the holidays who will eat everything I have baked!

    Comment by jenna — December 12, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

  27. I love waking up early on Christmas morning and making french toast with my mom while listening to holiday music. We’re dealing with some family drama this year, so I’m facing some changing traditions too. I hope you and your family find joy amidst the change this season!

    Comment by Rachel — December 12, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  28. I think my new favorite tradition is watching my boy give his teachers and therapists and after school carers, etc little treats he (sort of) helped me make for them. As much as he loves getting presents, he also loves giving them – which makes me think I’m doing something right. We both love the lights, the tree, christmas baking, music and teasing his Dad and my husband about being a grinch.

    Comment by Charlotte — December 12, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  29. On the 27th, we celebrate “Chrismakah” with friends, we exchange gifts, play dreidel games, eat latkes…helps us deal with divorce and the kids going off to be with their different fathers and leaving me alone for the real holidays. Appreciate your beautiful, intact family! Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Lori Cooper — December 12, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  30. My favorite Holiday Tradition is going to Zoo Lights, something about a Zoo at night with a million lights and a dusting of snow seems magical every year.

    Comment by Allison — December 12, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  31. We have two traditions. One is that our son makes the Christmas tree-topper every year. For some reason we’ve never gotten around to buying one, so we have him make something out of things around the house, and we glue it onto a popsicle stick and wire it to the top of the tree. Our son is five this year, so this is a pretty new tradition.
    The other tradition involves my husband’s birthday. He was born the day after Christmas, and has been overshadowed by the holiday every since. So when we met, we started a tradition called “countdown”. After everyone’s Christmas dinners, our friends and family gather in their bathrobes (or whatever makes them comfortable after stuffing themselves) to drink and play until midnight, when we count down to his birthday. It’s festive, and somehow far superior to motivating everyone the day after Christmas, when everyone is hungover and tired of celebrating. Things become a tradition in our house when it’s enjoyable enough to do it again.

    Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Hiromi Ogawa — December 12, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  32. Happy Hanukkah Dana! We are a mixed household as well and have similar issues since we moved to Seattle. Moving is hard and hard on families and I am finding that a lot of our cherished family traditions are not happening because they stem from the larger group. Since we are not traveling East this year, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what traditions we are going to have for just us and making sure they are important. Anyway, one of most favorite traditions is a big, lazy breakfast/brunch on Christmas morning in our PJ’s.

    Comment by Alyssa (Everyday Maven) — December 12, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

  33. My favorite holiday tradition is making a homemade hand-drawn calendar with my 3 siblings for my parents.

    Comment by Michelle — December 12, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  34. My FAVORITE holiday tradition is our Christmas Eve sleepover! All 4 of us siblings (3 of us are grown up now, 2 married, and the youngest is in high school) spend the night in the same room, finding somewhere (couch, chair, floor, futon) to rest before the big day. Last year we included married couples, too! As the family grows, so do our traditions, and I love it.

    Comment by Maria — December 12, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  35. I love singing together at church on Christmas morning. The music is always festive and beautiful.

    Comment by Sarah L — December 12, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  36. My mom has been hosting an appetizer Christmas Eve party for over 20 years. Initially this party was for my immediate family, but eventually our aunts, uncles & cousins wanted to be invited too. Sometime around Thanksgiving our family puts in requests for our favorite appetizers to be served at the party. Our tastes have changed over the years. but the past few years we have devoured Asian style appetizers (potstickers, salad rolls, sushi). I love being able to sample all our favorite foods on the same day. It’s really more fun than sitting down to a big, heavy, fancy meal.

    Best wishes to you as you continue to settle into your new home. I made a major move 10 years ago and can empathize with your homesickness during the holidays.

    Comment by Ann — December 12, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  37. We love to get out our Raclette Oven and have a Raclette meal on Christmas Day. Our boys love it and look forward to it every year. I usually buy pears, apples, nuts, baguette, cocktail onions, broccoli, asparagus, and a charcuterie assortment and we eat until we’re almost miserable. : – )

    Comment by Lori S H — December 12, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  38. My favorite holiday tradition is eating my mom’s traditional Christmas Day breakfast – tomato eggs, blueberry muffins, bacon, and OJ.

    Comment by adrienne — December 12, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  39. My favorite holiday tradition is decorating a gingerbread house.

    Comment by Kristen — December 12, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  40. Favorite holiday tradition would definitely be the holiday cookie swap I do with my girl friends! It’s so fun to get all different kinds in the mail.

    Comment by Maggie — December 13, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  41. Every year (even now that my siblings and I are all adults) my family goes a group to cut down our own tree. It involves a long drive, a snowball fight, hide and seek, getting lost and finally hot cocoa when we get back to my parents house. I love that it is basically the same as it was when we were kids, even though we are grown and some of us have kids of our own.

    Comment by Sarah R — December 13, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  42. Most years, my siblings and I celebrate Christmas Eve at my moms house, and after opening our presents around midnight, we pack into one (or two) cars and drive over to my dads house, and are woken up just a few hours later to celebrate Christmas there. It doesn’t matter that I don’t get much sleep–I love both traditions too much!

    Comment by Maddie — December 13, 2012 @ 12:55 am

  43. My favorite holiday tradition is enjoying my mom’s coffeecake on Christmas morning. For a few years the tradition was dropped, but it’s back now and I absolutely love it.

    Comment by Mary — December 13, 2012 @ 1:03 am

  44. My favorite holiday tradition is baking tons of cookies with my Mom! We spend an entire weekend baking cookies together…making dough, rolling them out, decorating, and packaging! It’s a blast!

    Comment by Sarah H.P. — December 13, 2012 @ 1:23 am

  45. This is my first time commenting on your blog– but I check it daily, and it’s always my go-to for myself or friends looking for veg-friendly and seasonal food.

    My father’s mother was an incredible seamstress– I mean the kind of seamstress that used to sew matching nightgowns for my mother, myself and my Pleasant Company Doll. Among the beautiful, handmade reminders I have of her are our Christmas stockings– personalized ones for my mother, father, brother and myself. I’ve always adored mine– it’s the brightest red, and it’s made from a lovely, fine corduroy.

    Even though I’m now 24, and in medical school, and my brother is 28 and married, we get together each year and spend the night before Christmas furiously wrapping stocking stuffers in different corners of the house. We set the stockings up, each in their rightful place (at the foot of the rocking chair or the living room table) and fill them up– and they always overflow. My gifts are always meticulously wrapped, to the amusement of my family– even the smallest one boasts a bow. My brother takes pride in the incredible goofiness of his wrapping jobs (newspaper, excessive amounts of tape).

    On Christmas Day, my mother and I make mimosas, set out Stollen and fresh produce on the table and put on “The Bells of Dublin” by the Chieftains. One by one, each family member trickles downstairs, and we commence the several hour process of opening our stocking gifts.

    It’s my very favorite tradition for this time of year.

    Comment by Alex — December 13, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  46. it’s really my mom’s tradition–she makes a norwegian christmas bread called julekake. but i suppose it’s our tradition to eat it ;)

    Comment by helen — December 13, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  47. Coming from a Jewish household, our December 25th tradition when I was growing up was to do jigsaw puzzles, order Chinese food to carry out and eat at home and to listen to music on the radio. We lit Chanukah candles whenever the holiday fell in November or December and did not do any presents besides one year when we got Danskin turtlenecks.

    When I light Chanukah candles now, my current menorah does not work with standard Chanukah candles, so I have red Thai prayer candles that are a perfect fit. When I run out of red candles, I whittle down thicker yellow Thai prayer candles I bought at the same time I bought the original red candles. This year I am just whittling down the yellow candles and may finally finish them off!

    Comment by Yafa — December 13, 2012 @ 1:50 am

  48. My husband and I are both from small families with mixed faiths. Since our son was born each year has felt a little like a search for “our” holiday traditions. We are still working on it but my favorite new one with my little family is the day we decorate. The joy on my son’s face as the lights and familiar decorations come out makes the season for me.

    Comment by Kate — December 13, 2012 @ 1:56 am

  49. i moved to chicago after living in melbourne australia, for 35 years . moved here in 1998. our first christmas as a couple (hubby is a chicagoan) was a blue colorado spruce tree
    (purchased at home depot believe it or not) – no ornaments … did not have any or the forsight to buy any – so we decorated the tree with the christmas cards we received.

    the windows were covered with white tissue paper – no time to order window coverings ….. and no snow on the ground – felt a little wierd and I was expecting a white christmas on the 25th .

    fast forward to now , we have 2 girls 12 and 9 who really get into the christmas spirit – albeit this year is saddened by the passing of my mother in may .

    it took me 5 years before i stopped pinning for where i grew up , 5 years to stop comparing events and situations , 5 years to start accepting my surroundings – which i love and adore .

    once i stopped comparing and accepting my new digs – i started to create memories – so important when you have a family .

    to say i understand how you are feeling right now – is an understatement… you need time . but the biggest icebreaker for me was a street cookie exchange – had no idea what the whole concept was about – but i met the whole street and we have all be close friends since we moved to this neighbourhood 9 years ago .

    happy holidays

    Comment by gourmet goddess — December 13, 2012 @ 2:10 am

  50. I like making cookies with my little ones.

    Comment by domestic diva — December 13, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  51. My favorite holiday tradition is bathrobes. We don’t generally wear bathrobes in my family, but as my twin sister and i got older and our younger sister would get us up before the sun to open presents, we’d all need to put on robes before the fire warmed the house. It was/is the one time of year we’d wear bathrobes and my sister and i would joke about the annual “laundering of the robes.” Now we all have small kids and we make sure EVERYONE has a robe for Christmas morning-visiting family and friends, newborn babies, toddlers, little kids, etc. We always take a picture in pajamas and robes on Christmas morning…

    Comment by Courtney — December 13, 2012 @ 2:33 am

  52. We live in Las Vegas and a holiday tradition for us now is a trip to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to see what wonderful holiday scene they have created using plants, flowers, and trees — it’s always stunning!

    Comment by Rue — December 13, 2012 @ 2:37 am

  53. having recently been “shunned” by my family of origin and “abandoned” by my spouse of 20+ all those old traditions have been more than a little tarnished and have disappeared.

    i do love H&D pears though …

    Comment by jacquie — December 13, 2012 @ 2:42 am

  54. Christmas morning has always began with a tea ring my mother makes. It is a wonderful way to begin the day. Lounging around the house, a cup of coffee, and this sweet pastry is heavenly.

    Comment by Molly — December 13, 2012 @ 3:16 am

  55. Homemade fudge turtles. My grandmother passed down a delicious fudge recipe and we make turtles with pecans from my home state of Georgia, caramels from the closest grocery store, and fudge from Grandmother’s pot. My mom makes them by the dozens and passes them out to lucky friends and neighbors.

    Comment by Rachel — December 13, 2012 @ 3:18 am

  56. Every year we go to the desert botanical garden for the luminaries. It’s cold and magical. Walk under the palo verde trees with our hot ciders and admire the lights!

    Comment by Jill — December 13, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  57. my favorite thing is sitting down at the kitchen table with a box of toothpicks and cleaning out the candle wax from the menorah from the year before, i dont know why i love it so much but i do!

    Comment by Sara — December 13, 2012 @ 3:27 am

  58. We build elaborate gingerbread houses every year
    I always say, we are NOT doing it again. At the end, but the kids always say its a TRADITION.
    Guess I should savour these moments before they grow up on me
    P.s. my first year in a new city my hubby worked on Christmas Day. A kind family invited me and the kids to their home for the day. It is a memory I cherish. How I felt at home In a strangers house speaks to their generosity and their ability to embrace the holiday spirit.

    Comment by Catherine — December 13, 2012 @ 3:34 am

  59. Making our family’s traditional cookies (anise cooky with 7 minute icing and colored sugar decorations) with my parents, husband and sons. We use some of the same cooky cutters my Dad used as a boy…

    Comment by Linda — December 13, 2012 @ 3:37 am

  60. I love baking cookies. Helps me get in the holiday spirit every time to get myself arm-deep in flour.

    I understand how you feel, too … especially because I moved to LA for several years after growing up in NJ. I get it. The weather is all off, the feeling is off … it’s just not the same. But the good news is that goodwill IS everywhere … and you’ll start new traditions this year, too.

    Maybe you need some cookies. I’ll send you some if you like. :)

    Comment by Justine — December 13, 2012 @ 3:51 am

  61. My kids get to open a gift on christmas eve…and its always christmas pj’s. They are all in their twenties now…and we still do this, it’s one of my favorite holiday traditions.

    Comment by Bebe — December 13, 2012 @ 4:12 am

  62. hi dana- my favorite holiday tradition is making homemade caramels. this is a tradition that i took over from my dad- he always made them each december, but he is much happier now eating the ones that i make!

    Comment by gretch — December 13, 2012 @ 4:17 am

  63. Our children, 4 & 6, each get to open one present from Mom & Dad on Christmas eve: a new Christmas book to add to our collection. We read the books cozy on the couch, then set up Santa’s cookies and milk (with ice cubes, so it doesn’t get too warm) before heading up to bed with two super excited and bouncing kids.

    Comment by Jennifer — December 13, 2012 @ 4:35 am

  64. I don’t have much family left; it’s down to me and the parents these days, and usually the quiet around the holidays is depressing. But since we’re secular jews, Christmas is whatever we make it to be. We like the way pine trees smell, so we get one. We love the Joy of Cooking’s angel bars and Joan Nathan’s babka so we’ve made those into a tradition these last few years. Christmas morning is us sitting around, reading, and drinking too much coffee. The good kind of quiet.

    ‘course with college finals coming up, anything not involving giant stacks of term papers sounds like a season miracle, but there’s definitely a magic to our Make Your Own holiday tradition :3

    Comment by Anna — December 13, 2012 @ 4:52 am

  65. I enjoy the meals we have together when I travel back home. Whether it’s homemade or out at a favorite hometown spot there’s a lot of time spent with family and/or friends.

    Comment by Jen — December 13, 2012 @ 5:01 am

  66. It’s gotta be the big family dinners together. I too moved away from home (FL) away from all my extended family which used to be 30+ people bustling around my parents’ house. Now it’s just a few immediate family, much cozier, but sometimes I miss the chaos. I’m excited, however, to celebrate our first holiday with our 10 month old daughter and make new memories with her and my husband’s extended family which live in the area. Happy holidays!!

    Comment by Amy — December 13, 2012 @ 5:10 am

  67. My new favorite holiday tradition is that for the last three years my best friend and I have thrown a holiday party. It’s really an excuse for us to plan a delicious menu of hor dourves and have fun cooking together in the kitchen. This year even though we lived in different cities we still made it happen and it was extremely fun. As a Jew, I normally spend Christmas at the movies and eating Chinese food. Last year I got to spend the day with my mixed faith cousins and it was great to be a part of their traditions–poppers and crowns, tons of fun stocking stuffers, my uncle buying himself presents wrapping them and exclaiming “this is just what I wanted,” my aunt getting a new Christmas children’s book each year, etc.

    Comment by Marnie — December 13, 2012 @ 5:32 am

  68. A favorite tradition for our family is to get together for a huge and delicious Christmas Eve dinner…on Christmas Day we keep it low-key with just family – we have a big breakfast of sausage souffle and cinnamon rolls, open presents, and stay in our pajamas all day!

    Comment by Dorothea — December 13, 2012 @ 5:46 am

  69. I’m trying to start all over again with my husband of 28 years, and hopefully enjoy the holidays.

    Comment by Wendy — December 13, 2012 @ 5:46 am

  70. Hanukkah is my favorite holiday and usually me and the girls decorate our windows with colorful cellophane vitrage (stained glass) of candles and hanukkiah, and every night we light the candles, sing hanukkah songs, play with driedels and eat lots of donuts and latkes with family and friends. Lots of fun.

    Comment by Idit — December 13, 2012 @ 6:17 am

  71. Harry and David baskets are so beautiful and the quality is so great. I would love to win this for my parents.

    Comment by Heather — December 13, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  72. When my husband and I got married we started making our own traditions but one that we kept from my childhood is that our family has breakfast together before we open gifts, and it is always pancakes and eggs.

    I enjoy your writing so much, thanks for sharing your stories!

    Comment by Jane — December 13, 2012 @ 7:03 am

  73. One of my favourite holiday traditions is spending time visiting my family and cooking with them. They don’t cook too much so each year when I visit them, we choose a different country’s cuisine and cook a bunch of different dishes. They usually love the dishes and then they end up cooking them throughout the year and add them to their repertoire.

    Comment by Aims — December 13, 2012 @ 7:42 am

  74. Each year, my family goes to see the production of “A Christmas Carol” at a magnificent regional theater. I defy even the coldest heart to not be warmed by Scrooge’s redemption! I have been going with my dad since I was a little girl, and now I still go with my dad, but with my own children as well. We visit the huge lighted tree in the town center and finish the evening with a fancy-pants dinner. It is my favorite day of the year!

    Comment by Victoria — December 13, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  75. Oh I love traditions. It’d probably be holiday baking with my mom, or a newer one of a movie on Christmas.

    Comment by Alyssa — December 13, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  76. My family and I all sit by the tree and read the Night Before Christmas together on Christmas Eve! It’s my favorite tradition :)

    Comment by Meg S — December 13, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  77. My favorite holiday tradition now that I have a family of my own, is going to pick out the Christmas tree. :) I love watching my son run around the lot and help his daddy pick out a tree.

    Comment by Adriane — December 13, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  78. My favorite holiday tradition (which we started when our children were young) is to buy them new pajamas each Christmas, and on Christmas Eve after they have gone to bed, we carefully lay them out right outside their bedroom door. It’s the first thing they see when they wake up! They would put them on and then come wake up Mom and Dad :)
    They are older now, our youngest just turned 20, and our oldest is married, but we still do it! (and of course, our son in law gets new “jammies” too!)

    Comment by AnnieM — December 13, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  79. My 3rd grade son is doing his “traditions” report this week! We wake up Christmas mornings at Grandma’s house so spending time with family, baking, cooking and listening to Christmas music are our traditions. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    Comment by Eileen — December 13, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  80. Each year we get our children a Christmas Ornament for the tree, something that represents the year, something they did or like.

    Thanks for the chance!

    Comment by Meredith — December 13, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  81. My favorite holiday tradition, albeit cliche, is decorating the Christmas tree. I love having the lights and smells of the tree in my house during the dark and dreary winter!

    Comment by Annie — December 13, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  82. I love making latkes for my friends and family. It takes forever in small skillets and they make my apartment smell for days but it’s always worth it!

    Comment by Rachel L. — December 13, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  83. A big Christmas Eve dinner, followed by the family arguing (in fun) about whether the kids should be allowed to open one present each on Christmas Eve. Letting them win the argument and open one which we were going to do all along anyway :)

    Comment by Lori S. — December 13, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  84. My favorite tradition is baking (and subsequently eating) Christmas cookies.

    Comment by Amanda — December 13, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  85. My favorite tradition is opening stockings and having mimosas over a big Christmas breakfast

    Comment by Serena — December 13, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  86. My favorite holiday tradition is our annual Christmas Tree Hunt off Forest Service roads up near Crystal Mountain. There’s nothing better than playing in the snow, snow shoeing to cut down a tree and our chili lunch cookout. The trees aren’t as thick as a farmed noble, but every year we have one with character and the experience makes it worth it!

    Comment by Emily — December 13, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  87. Our favorite holiday tradition is making a new handmade ornament for the tree.
    This year will be a car ornament for my vehicle loving son!

    Comment by Rachel — December 13, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  88. Decorating the tree with all the ornaments my children made when they were little (they are now 42 and 39! Strings of macaroni, crepe paper and construction paper. I remember when they made each one with their little hands!

    Comment by Lynne Beattie — December 13, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  89. Each year my children and I get to pick out one new ornament each. Then when we go home to decorate the tree we get to reminese about the previous years ornaments

    Comment by Marsha — December 13, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  90. My favorite holiday tradition is opening up a new pair of PJ’s on Christmas Eve every year…my sister and I now have a huge collection of PJ’s since we’re not growing kids anymore! :)

    Comment by sara — December 13, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  91. It takes a little while for someplace new to feel like home, but it will happen :)

    My family always has fondue on Christmas Eve–its messy, but really tasty


    Comment by Pamela — December 13, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  92. There is a big Christmas tree made of lights in a park in downtown Austin and I love going with my husband (and some hot chocolate!) and walking the trail of lights that surrounds the tree.

    Comment by SarahRuth — December 13, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  93. Baking pies for a Christmas dinner with my family.

    Comment by Thia — December 13, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  94. Homemade pierogies on Christmas Eve are the highlight of the year.

    Comment by Beth — December 13, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  95. My favorite holiday tradition is the nutcracker ballet with my daughter and Christmas Eve dinner, which is a family potluck/spread of veggies,cheese, breads, etc. So casual and relaxed compared to the ‘main event’ and nowhere near as coma-inducing :)

    Comment by Jessica — December 13, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  96. Holiday baking, decorating and eating Christmas cookies. Good meals with family, parties with friends, and a mental break from work and ordinary life.

    Comment by Erin — December 13, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

  97. I love Harry and David! What a nice thing to give out!

    My favorite holiday tradition is our Italian potluck Christmas eve dinner. Homemade tomato sauce, eggplant parmesan, an enormous green salad, tons of garlic bread and vats of red wine. perfection!

    Comment by Steph — December 13, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  98. My favorite holiday traditions are making fondue on Christmas Eve and having bagels and lox on Christmas morning. We did this every year growing up in Cleveland,Ohio. The fondue was my mom’s way of incorporating something from her side (Swedish) of the family into our holidays. Christmas morning has always been bagels and lox…this came from my dad’s side ( the New Yorkers) of the family. Both these traditions are carried on, now from our Oregon home.

    Comment by Karen D — December 13, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  99. That looks delicious! The irony is that you have moved to my old neighborhood which I left years ago but still pine for constantly. =) Happy Holidays!

    Comment by Loraine — December 13, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  100. On Christmas Eve, my husband and I get lunchtime hamburgers out and take a little bit of time to just enjoy each other’s company before the real crazy gets underway.

    Comment by TheBon — December 14, 2012 @ 1:17 am

  101. For the past few years we’ve done a Japanese fondue (Shabu Shabu) on Xmas Eve and then we open our stockings. On Christmas morning I always make crepes with lots of different fillings (carmelized apples are my favorite).

    Comment by Ruth — December 14, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  102. For the past few years we’ve done a Japanese fondue (Shabu Shabu) on Xmas Eve and then we open our stockings. On Christmas morning I always make crepes with lots of different fillings (carmelized apples are my favorite).

    Comment by Ruth — December 14, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  103. Girl, I’m so glad to hear you’re settling into your new home. And really if you didn’t feel any nostalgia for or miss Seattle at ALL…it would be kinda weird. But I know you’ll make new traditions over the years. :) It’ll just take time.

    My favorite Christmas tradition is the set of little ice skating figures and this whole antique town my dad used to put up. It probably won’t ever go up again until my brother and/or I have kids….but we’ll see.

    Comment by Joanne — December 14, 2012 @ 2:20 am

  104. My favorite holiday tradition is watching the lighting of the tower on top of Queen Anne hill in Seattle. That marks the beginning of the holiday season for me and I love seeing the lights twinkling atop the hill all through the holiday season.

    Comment by Lori — December 14, 2012 @ 2:40 am

  105. My favorite holiday tradition is making gingerbread houses. hugzeke@gmail.com

    Comment by Catherine — December 14, 2012 @ 3:15 am

  106. Driving around to look at the lights. There is nearly nothing more magical to me than that.

    Comment by Kalin — December 14, 2012 @ 3:26 am

  107. I love hosting holiday cookie decorating parties. A lot of work but everyone always seems to enjoy themselves. Also Christmas music. Take care and enjoy the season – Seattle misses you too!

    Comment by Kirsten — December 14, 2012 @ 3:40 am

  108. I got married this past summer, and though we had been together for many years, we are still working on respectfully blending both our families’ traditions, so I totally get what you mean about being grateful, while a bit mournful of what isn’t anymore. My favorite tradition has been going on since I was a baby–traveling to my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas dinner. It’s just a day trip, but it has always involved a ferry and a beautiful drive (they used to live on Whidbey Island, now they live on the peninsula. My uncle and cousin are musicians and my brother dabbles, so there’s always improvised music, the house is cosy and warm and mostly quiet other than the instrumentals and conversation. There is always amazing food. Such a lovely day.

    Comment by Louise — December 14, 2012 @ 4:09 am

  109. Our French nativity set with not only the holy family but all the people of the town…we have over 100 figures and we love to put them up right after thanksgiving and leave them up until epiphany. That’s what Christmas is all about in our house!

    Comment by Mona — December 14, 2012 @ 6:27 am

  110. My favorite holiday tradition is Christmas morning, opening stockings. Then taking a break for cinnamon rolls. And we always watch a movie before dinner.

    Comment by Meagan — December 14, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  111. I grew up in a small town where people still leave doors unlocked. Every Christmas eve for my entire life my father (who generally does not cook) has gotten up at 3am and begun to bake over 100 blueberry coffeecakes for people in our town who have meant something to us that year. Then my sisters and I deliver them all across town. It takes all day, we always have one blow up fight, and we always blast ridiculous pop christmas music that gives my husband a headache. We’ve grown up and scattered all over but it wouldn’t be Christmas without our coffeecake delivery and its something I look forward to every year, no matter how much I whine or claim I’ve outgrown it.

    Comment by Steph — December 14, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  112. This is our 4th winter since we moved to Southern California from the Midwest and it’s still a challenge to get in the holiday spirit. Perhaps someday I’ll find it normal to go Christmas shopping when it’s 68 and sunny, parked next to a palm tree, but not yet.

    My favorite holiday tradition is singing Christmas carols at my uncle’s house on Christmas Eve with my family. My in-laws started attending a few years ago so we didn’t have the split the night and we have a wonderful time. My mom plays the piano and other family members bring their violins and cello. I’ll miss it this year since we won’t be with them.

    Comment by Stacy Spensley — December 14, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  113. My favorite holiday tradition is hanging out, playing board games, and eating sweet treats with friends on Christmas eve.

    Comment by Lisa — December 14, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  114. My favorite holiday tradition is the feeling of Christmas eve. Our family would go to midnight mass, come home and make warm hot chocolate drinks, make a fire, hang our stockings and listen to Christmas carols. It was the quiet before the next day’s storm (I come from a big family) and I loved it.

    Comment by Lynn — December 15, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  115. I have thrown a latke party for my daughter and her friends since she was in 5th grade. They are now in their second year of college and still coming. Menu is always butternut squash soup, latkes, homemade applesauce, salad. Dessert has been different each year.

    Comment by karen — December 15, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

  116. Wow, that box looks amazing! My tradition is putting up my artificial Christmas tree since I have my own house now.

    Comment by delia — December 17, 2012 @ 2:04 am

  117. I didn’t realize that cinnamon rolls were a must-do tradition on Christmas morning until the year I was away from home, celebrating with new friends and suddenly missed them. They didn’t get made in the morning, but were present for an early afternoon snack. (And now I know to plan better, making the dough christmas eve, and baking them in the morning)

    Comment by Cynthia — December 17, 2012 @ 3:30 am

  118. My favorite holiday tradition is to gather round and begin singing christmas carols with the family. Always a guaranteed good time!

    Comment by Ellie Delancey — December 17, 2012 @ 5:05 am

  119. My favorite Holiday tradition is feeding the homeless. My grandmother first began feeding those less fortunate than us by bringing them hot meals from the back of her car. The event has evolved since then and is now attended by a couple hundred people.

    Comment by Virginia — December 17, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  120. DID I MAKE THE DEADLINE???? (Sally holds her breath, and rushes to comment)

    Thanks for the giveaway, this is really a wonderful one, we have also shipped stuff from them to very dear friends, but for some reason never bought anything for us… (fingers crossed)

    Comment by SallyBR — December 17, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  121. A couple favorite traditions: holiday shopping with my sister on Black Friday then our weekly calls to discuss shopping progress and gift ideas; date night in Philly with my husband to see the decorations and try a new restaurant; and wrapping gifts.

    Comment by Erin — December 17, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  122. I’m way past the deadline but I wanted to share a fun tradition my husband and I have. Our families both live nearby, including parents, all our siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, so our December calendar fills up really quickly and we constantly feel like there’s maybe a little too much family time and not enough us time.

    Well three years ago on the first Saturday of the month, we miraculously had nothing on our calendar, so we went downtown to see a movie, but the earliest showing wasn’t for three hours. Since we were already parked, we walked several blocks to our favorite brew pub, where their Holiday Nut Brown Ale was on tap. A few glasses later, we decided to make this a tradition for just the two of us. So on the first weekend every December, we head to the pub to celebrate Nut Brown Day, where we imbibe, eat great food, do a little Christmas shopping, and stop by our favorite chocolate shop in town before heading home. It’s the perfect respite from the craziness that surrounds our month full of family.

    Wishing you a merry Christmas, Dana, and a belated happy Hanukkah!

    Comment by Steph — December 24, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

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