Holiday Traditions (Open Thread)
It's Christmukkah at the Spiegel house
We got our Christmas tree today, which for us now consists of going to a Christmas tree farm about 10 minutes away where we get to pick out our own tree and have it cut down on the spot. It’s as magical as it sounds. Today Santa was there and I started hysterically crying when I saw him at the mere thought of V sitting with him (which of course, she did). I don’t know how much longer we will reside here in Garrison but I have a feeling we will continue this tradition even if it means a longer drive in the future.
We’re Jewish, but because I grew up celebrating Christmas (I converted to Judaism before our marriage) we have decided to continue celebrating *all of the holidays* together as a family. I didn’t grow up religiously so Christmas has always been more of a secular celebration for me, anyway. It’s been fun watching Jared embrace the holiday season in this way over the years, and naturally we’ve both been excited to share the magic with Violet.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, so we will light the first candles with her. I got Jared to get the decorations from the basement so the menorah is ready. Hanukkah isn’t as religiously significant as the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur) but because we’re Jewish and celebrating Christmas I like to go as all out as I can for Hanukkah. This means, in future years, there will be absolutely be homemade jelly doughnuts.
We also got a baby tree from the farm today for V’s room, and I thought it would be fun for her to pick out a new ornament for it each year. But Jared had a better idea: He had a piano teacher growing up who collected mice ornaments. Each year, she’d get a new one and would challenge the kids to see if they could find it. Did we want to do mice ornaments for baby V as theme? A definite yes for me. I love that we were able to weave this memory of his into a new tradition for her.
When I lived in Florida, I had a group of girlfriends (love you, E!) who did an incredible cookie exchange each year. This was my absolute favorite, and I desperately want to start doing it again here in New York. In case a cookie exchange is new to you, the idea is that everyone makes several dozen of their favorite cookie and then brings them to the party where they are exchanged. Typically platters of cookies are set out on tables and everyone gets a box or container, taking a little of each. This way you have a variety of cookies to give away as holiday gifts or keep for yourself.
And we can’t forget about our annual Spiegel holiday party! A tradition Jared and I started a few years ago at our apartment in Brooklyn (here’s 2018 and 2019). The one prereq is that we must serve a ham with rolls for ham sammies. Of course, there must be champagne! At the last party we added a white elephant gift exchange which we will definitely be continuing. We didn’t get to have the party last year due to Covid, but maybe we could do it on a smaller scale this year? I haven’t thought much about until now tbh.
I’m still trying to come up with something good for tree-decorating night… a certain dish to make for dinner, or dessert or cookie to bake? Jared and I made sugar cookies one year thinking it could be a tradition, the kind you decorate with the royal icing, but it’s kind of a (messy!) production. Though I can already predict I’ll be wanting to do it with V when she’s a little older.
What are your holiday traditions? This comment thread is open to all; I’d love to hear from you. ❣️