I love the holidays! From the outpouring of charitable giving and the spirited kindness, to the festive lights and delicious foods, I get flooded with so many joyous memories I truly feel my cup runneth over. I love how holidays bring family together. Decorating the house brings to mind so many wonder memories from my childhood. Moments of sadness, remembering family no longer here, give way to happy thoughts of how to make this holiday special. Always sharing what I've learned from my past to make the holidays just as memorable for the family I have started.
How do you make the holidays special for your family?
I dive in deep when it comes to making the holidays special for our family. I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the midwest. My husband Ian grew up on the East Coast; his dad was a Hebrew school teacher and educator. While we are raising our girls Jewish, we have decided to share with them the Christmas and Hanukkah traditions we've both grown up with. In my home, we decorated the house like a Macy's window display and visited Santa every year. Ian's family always hosted holiday parties for Hanukkah, and now we do these things in our home. We'll spend New Year's with all our friends andfamily. Decorating the table, cooking our mothers' recipes, bringing people together while sharing past family traditions are what makes me feel like I am doing something special that will create lasting memories.
What do the holidays mean to you?
To me, the holidays mean family. Thinking about family members, talking about family members while sharing a great recipe. Calling family and checking in, just because. Being together because it is what we are supposed to do. I love the excuse to gather together to eat, drink and laugh. Ian's mother passed away many years before we met. Every Hanukkah I get out her hand written recipes and try to recreate the same beautiful meal she made with her family and friends for Ian and his brothers. It is amazing how the simple things like these cards can make you feel connected to a person you never met.
So you have any tips you would love to share with other moms about the holidays?
My biggest tip to the moms out there when it comes to the holidays is to host. Having friends and their kids over for a home-cooked meal while they run around and scream is the best. Everyone can relax because it is your home, and it is OK. Decorate with the kids, cook with the kids. Let them help. Hosting can be fun with a family. It can sound scary but at the end of the night, when everyone has eaten and drank their fill, when not a sugar cookie remains, you look around the room at scattered toys, dirty plates and wrapping paper, and see smilies. There is nothing better than bringing everyone together just to smile. You can clean later!
Have you started any new traditions with your kids?
Ian and I both had so many family traditions growing up that it was hard to add to all the magic. However, I am one of those moms who have developed a special love for the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench. I actually look forward to moving them every night and thinking up creative scenarios to put them in. Celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas is new for Ian and myself, and each year we try to find new and creative ways to add to the fun.