We hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving with friends, or family, or loved ones yesterday! We are still reeling from that turkey coma, BUT we are officially in holiday season people!!!!!! As we spent time reminiscining on things we are thankful for yesterday, and now begin to think about the upcoming holidays, we couldn't help but look back at our own family traditions, both new and old. Today, we're sharing a little Q + A about our holiday traditions, and we hope you share some of your holiday traditions with us!!! Do you guys always go somewhere for the holidays? Or decorate in a very specific way? Or have an amazing holiday recipe you never celebrate without? Or a hilarious memory to share? Or some tips about how you've transitioned holiday traditions to share them with a new spouse or a new baby?? Share it with us!! But for now, here's a look at how the girls of Willow & Wine have celebrated the holidays throughout the years...
What Holiday do you celebrate?
Jessica: Christmas + Hanukkah (my grandparents are Jewish!)
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
Monica: Every year I convince my family to take the long way home to see all the amazing Christmas lights.
Beth: Our traditional 4 Christmas celebrations in 24 hours! (I’m talking Gilmore Girls Thanksgiving style…) We would have Christmas Eve dinner with my dad, Christmas morning brunch with my mom + husband’s family + another close family, then hit my grandma’s for my family’s Christmas lunch, and back to my husband’s family for our Christmas Dinner. It’s always a whirlwind and a feat of my incredibly large appetite.
Jessica: On Christmas Eve we would order in Chinese food and watch A Muppet's Christmas Carol. There's nothing quite like kicking the holidays off with the family quoting the goofy lines and singing the songs.
What are some of your more unique holiday traditions?
Maxine: There's this one house in a close by neighborhood that would decorate their house with lights that flashed to the same rhythm as the music on our Christmas radio station. Mom would always drive us there and we would camp out in front of it (in the car) with hot chocolate! AND We have In N Out burger for dinner every Christmas Eve -- it was grandma's favorite!
Monica: On Christmas Eve every year we have a huge crab feast! We always buy the crab live and bring it back to my grandparents house. When I was little we would fill up the bathtub and watch them swim around until we were ready to boil them. One time we blocked off the entrance to the kitchen and let the crabs walk around. We had races with them and probably tormented them more than they deserved with wood spoons. Once we were ready to cook them we put the crabs in the sink and let my grandma get to work with her magic. My aunt and I were sitting at the dining room table when we heard a shriek from the kitchen. To be honest, we didn’t really think anything of it, Grandma screams in the kitchen often. So we got up in no rush and walked into the kitchen to see a CRAB HANGING FROM MY GRANDMA'S THUMB over the boiling water! It snagged her right as she was getting him into the water! So we scream thinking how the heck are we going to get this huge crab to let go of my grandma's thumb!? My brother came running in after hearing our screams and grabbed a wooden spoon to start hitting the crab. He finally hit the crab hard enough for it to let go of grandma's thumb. She was a little traumatized and we may have bought the crab already boiled the next year.
How do you like to decorate your Christmas tree?
Maxine: lol. It's like a rainbow threw up on an 8’ tree. My parents NEVER threw away a single ornament!!!!! So our tree is like one giant heirloom with so many amazing memories and colors. The only rule is that the tree has to be LARGE and decorations COLORFUL. Tradition is 100% the theme.
Monica: Every year my mom and I love to come up with a new theme for our Christmas tree. We have done it all from the classic red and gold to beanie babies covering the tree (we have hundreds and used them all) to green and blue hues and then my personal favorite, a dark to light ombre tree!!
Beth: I actually love to keep my tree minimal and organic! We tend to keep it either bare or decorated only with strung white lights!
Jesica: I’m all about the white lights and classy red and gold ornament balls with varying textures - matte, sparkly, and glossy. The last three years I’ve really liked using ribbon on the tree. And I usually sneak a few homemade ornaments on the tree from childhood.
Is there a particular dish that will always say Christmas to you? Maybe a family recipe?
Maxine: Grandma Maxine’s Corn Pudding. There are never any leftovers -- not fair! ;)
Monica: CRAB it’s all I think of when I think of Christmas with my family. It’s so fun sitting around the table getting every tiny piece of crab out and soaking it in garlic butter while enjoying great conversation with all the ones we love.
Jessica: My mom ALWAYS made a Christmas breakfast. We even called it a family recipe! My mom’s grandmother used to make it. It’s a casserole (don’t let the word fool you!). It was filled with all things yummy - cheese, bread, eggs, bacon and all sorts of spices.
Any random holiday memories you will hold onto forever?
Maxine: My parents are so into decorating for every holiday. Mom was always in charge of the inside and my dad the outside. I’ll never forget one year my dad put lights on the entire roof, like covering it completely. Then he got 3 of those giant blow up Christmas figures, you know those ones normally placed in a front yard, and placed them on the roof on top of the lights. Then my mom had every single room downstairs decorated. By the time dad turned on all the outside lights (on the roof, garage door, and more) he literally blew out the circuit in our quadrant of the neighborhood. Haha! It was so funny and luckily one of my mom's favorite hobbies was making candles so we started lighting as many as we could. Our neighbors weren't the happiest, but we found it so funny!
Beth: I’ll never forget one memory I have from a Christmas when I was about 5 years old. I started unwrapping a decently big box for a five year old, and once I got it entirely unwrapped I saw that the box was for a mid-size car cover. I lost it. I ran off crying and crying, screaming something like “I don’t even have a car! This is a horrible present for a 5 year old! Why would you get me this?!” After locking myself in a room for an hour, my uncle came in and asked me one question: Did you even bother to open the box? He brought it back and, as it turns out, inside the car cover box was the huge teddy bear I had been asking for for months. Even as a 5 year old, I felt pretty horrible. Something about that experience always stuck with me… I remember him telling me something along the lines of “especially around the holidays, what’s on the inside is so much more important than what’s on the outside”. Hey, it was a pretty impactful metaphor for a 5 year old.
What is the main entree at your family's holiday meal?
Maxine: roast beef + ham.
Monica: On Christmas day we usually have lamb.
Beth: Always two main entrees in the meat loving home where I grew up: a slow roasted turkey and a pineapple + clove ham. Mmm-mm.
Jessica: We also had a roast beef that baked for hours until the inside was so perfectly pink! A few years we’ve done a lamb shank with garlic and rosemary. My mouth is watering just thinking about these!
When do you buy your Christmas tree? Or when does the Christmas season begin for you?
Maxine: December 1!
Beth: THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING DUH
Jessica: My family was always so bad about getting our tree. One year we got it on Christmas Eve, but we decorated it that evening and it was so much fun!
What is your favorite Christmas song? (Or songs?)
Maxine: ”It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
Monica: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” it’s just so fun how can you not love it!?
Beth: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE?! “The Christmas Song” Nat King Cole!!! SO dreamy. Also “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “O Come O Come Emmanuel”.
Fill in the blank: it wouldn't be Christmas without ______________________?
Beth: at least one family member having to take a long walk to get away from each other for a minute before dinner starts
Jessica: FAMILY <3