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A Few of Nina Garcia's Favorite Things

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things—not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness." -Bob Hope

Twenty years from now, your children probably will not remember much about what you gave them for Christmas this year. They probably will not remember if they got everything or nothing that was on their list. But what they will remember are the sweet, simple moments they spent with you, creating lasting memories. In the crazy rush of December, my husband and I make sure to slow down with our two boys and take the time to enjoy the season as a family.

Here are a few Garcia-Conrod established traditions that we look forward to as Christmas approaches:

  • Shopping for a family in need: There are a lot of wonderful local charities that run toy and food drives for families in need. Ask at your local church, YMCA, or Boys and Girls club. You can also donate to larger foundations, such as: Toys for Tots, Make a Wish, Operation Christmas Child, Angel Tree and The Christmas Spirit Foundation, among others.
  • Trimming the tree together: Instead of making a chore out of decorating your tree, make it an afternoon of fun. Warm up some hot chocolate and eggnog, put on some holiday music and stop worrying about how unevenly your kids are placing the ornaments.
  • Baking a family holiday recipe: Make it a tradition with your children to bake a recipe that has been passed down through generations—cookies, a pie, a bread, etc. If your family does not have coveted recipe, start one yourself. (Who cares if you get it from foodnetwork.com? Nobody has to know.)
  • Taking a night to enjoy the lights: Walk around your city or drive around your town and enjoy all of the decorations. In Manhattan, we always go to see the Rockefeller Center tree and watch the people skating on the ice rink. I also love to walk by the magical Saks windows with my boys every chance we get.
  • Reading classic holiday books before bed: The titles on high rotation in our house are: Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Olive, the Other Reindeer.
  • Watching classic holiday movies by the light of the Christmas tree: A few of our favorites include: Miracle on 24th Street, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, A Muppet Family Christmas and A Christmas Carol.

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