Sitting around the dinner table last night with a group of friends, I asked the question “what was their favorite Christmas tradition?” Each of our answers were different, some sad, different, untraditional, while others were filled with magnificent memories of music, signing carols, and even scavenger hunts to find their presents. Remembering my own childhood Christmas traditions and how they differ from everyone else at the table, I want to share some ideas for bringing people together over the holiday season.
For me, this gathering is part of what makes Christmas, and every other wintertime holiday, magical. It is the communal hot drinks, walking together through decorated streets and public spaces, and simply spending time together celebrating that creates that sense of seasonal joy and cheer. I can live without fairytale snowfalls (although let’s be honest, they are pretty magical) as long as some of these other things happen. It’s a good thing too – there is very little Narnia-esque snowfall in Southern California!
Ashley and I love sharing our favorite things with you each month. This month we want to share our favorite holiday treats, sweets, activities, and presents. Hopefully it will give you some great last minute holiday shopping ideas!
2. As a cook, I need to keep my hair back and out of my face AND the food! The hair ties are the perfect solution! Must be why they are called The Perfect Hair Ties !
3. Beautiful Wreaths! No, not like the Mindy Project’s Wreath Witherspoon…
Emblem Flowers, a local Los angles floral shop headed by Charmaine Chen creates some amazing masterpieces and beautiful wreaths. Find a local florist in your area who can teach you how to make your own holiday wreath, which makes for a great gift.
We are offering a holiday wreath making workshop at @copa_vida #copavidalife in Pasadena on Sun, Dec 7! Come design your own custom wreath. For more info or to sign up for a spot, visit our online shop at www.emblem-flowers.com We're also giving away one free pass to the workshop! To enter for a chance to win, tell us in the comments section what type of floral design workshop you'd be interested in for 2015 and we will choose a winner this Friday, Nov 30. #minimalist #green #holiday #christmas #emblemflowers #wreaths #winter #copavida #floraldesign #giveaway #pasadena #losangeles #socality #socalitylosangeles
4. Cutting boards are kitchen essentials, so why not make sure they are beautiful and effective?
Hardwood Creations has beautiful handcrafted cutting boards. Here is a list of a few more retailers who make exquisite cutting boards.:
Our Favorite Holiday Music:
7-10. We love Songza! For those who don’t know, it is a music app that allows you to listen to musical playlists based on mood. Here are some of our top Holiday mixes and another favorite Holiday album. Listen to them while you are baking cookies.
- Choral Christmas – for the old-timer in me.
- Classic Christmas Hits – because who could celebrate without them?
- Merry Indie Christmas – to mix things up a little.
- The Christmastime Blues – a little soul for cold nights.
13. The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle – she is my favorite, so anything she wrote, yes.
15. White Christmas – got. to.
16. The Santa Claus – that moment when he and Charlie arrive at the North Pole? I so wanted to be with them in the sleigh.
17. Love Actually – the annual tradition for Ashley and her husband.
18. It’s a Wonderful Life.– My dad’s favorite. It is a great reminder of how our life is truly meaningful.
19. Sipping Chocolate from Amara (local to Pasadena, CA)-but keep scrolling down to make your own at home.
21. Cosmopolitans – classy Christmas colors and yum
- 1 C. Milk (you can use almond milk or coconut milk)
- ¼ C. Baking Coco (equal exchange)(ground carob)
- 1 tsp. homemade vanilla (tag)
- 2 tablespoons Raw Sugar Cane (Honey or agave work well too)
- Place Milk in a saucepan on the stove on Med-High Heat
- Heat for 2 min.
- Add remaining ingredients
- Turn down the heat
- continue stirring
- once all ingredients are mixed together, pour in a cup
- top with whipped cream or a dash of cinnamon
23. Rachel Ray’s Kale and White Bean Soup – literally my go-to soup, and so so easy for a warm colorful soup.
25. My mom’s cinnamon coffee cake…this is the original version without dietary substitutions. Substitute greek yogurt for the sour cream and use your favorite gluten free flour blend. Click here for the recipe from Taste of Home.
Next week we will have a daily posts by Lindsey Wright from Dear Wilderness: Exploring Beauty, Wellness, and Balance
Happy Holidays from Elizabeth, Ashley, and Mary Lee Kitchen!