Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Traditions {coco + kelley}

While we're leaving Cleveland today, we're heading to Seattle to talk Holiday Traditions with the lovely Cassandra of the effortlessly glamorous blog coco + kelley.

What were your family's holiday traditions when you were younger? What was a typical Christmas Eve/Christmas Day for your family?

Our family always threw a big holiday party when we lived in LA. We would get 'bundled up' and head to the ice skating rink for a while, then back to our house where we would sing Christmas carols and decorate the tree. Every guest was required to bring an ornament!

Now that we're older our only traditions are fairly basic- we have a big dinner at my parents' house with aunts, uncles and cousins, and wake up early Christmas morning to open presents! We each take turns opening, and we always enjoy some traditional Italian Panettone or goodies sent to us from the Italian side of the family from Toronto where they all live.

Me & My Sister

Did you/do you leave treats for Santa? If so, what were/are they?

We always left treats and a letter for Santa. Sometimes, my mom will still request we do it, and my sister and I roll our eyes and write Santa a very witty note. We usually left the Mexican Tea Cookies my mom would make, and a glass of milk (although, nowadays we tend to leave a more adult beverage.)

Have your family traditions changed since you've gotten older?

We used to do a lot more as kids, but I think that's probably the case with most families. We used to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, right before bed. We used to get Santa pictures (I totally broke that tradition the second I turned into a teenager!) and I think we generally spent more time together leading up to the holiday- decorating cookies, shopping, everything! Now, we all have our busy independent lives, so all of that is harder, but we still make the effort.

Have you implemented your own traditions into your life since you've gotten older?

I don't have a lot of traditions myself yet- I think once I settle down and have a family those will evolve. At this point, I have a big Christmas box that goes in and our of storage every year, and I love dragging it out and rediscovering the favorites pieces I've been collecting since college.

Have you ever gone caroling?

I think we went once when I was REALLY young and living in LA. A lot of my parent's friends played instruments, so we all went out singing in a little group... I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do that now!

What foods do you feel are must haves during the holiday season?

Oh, lord, where do I start? The Italian side of my family always sends their homemade dried meats and cookies that I will never be able to imitate, so those always make it feel like Christmas. Big boxes of tangerines are a must. My mom's homemade biscotti. And a big Christmas dinner- usually lamb- cooked to perfection by my dad. I suppose a little gingerbread latte is also necessary to kick the season off!

What does a traditional Christmas meal include for you?

My dad's lamb, as I said, and his rosemary pecan pie. The rest is usually open to whatever recipe my dad has been wanting to try, but we always try to get some super garlic mashed potatoes in there too!

What is your Christmas decorating style?

Not surprisingly, my Christmas style changes every year, but one thing I will say- I do love me some sparkle! Ornaments that glitter are my favorite, followed by vintage balls and mercury glass. I bought a small tinsel tree a few years ago and usually use that so my style ends up being a little bit kitchy and a little bit classic, but this year I'm really leaning towards a bit of country in there.

My tree this year was inspired by the vintage keys I had and I decided to do a 'Secret Garden' theme with fake flowers, birds and feathers, ribbons and miniature ornaments. I guess I'm still figuring out my style!

My Tree

White lights or colored lights?


What is one holiday-related event that you must do during the holiday season?

Ice skating, if I can. On the top of my to-do list is to spend a Christmas in New York and ice skate at Rockefeller Center. DECORATE!

Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

I don't have one memory that stands out the most... I know that getting to spend Christmas in Toronto was always fun, because we never got snow in LA! I loved going there and visiting my huge Italian family. I also remember that at the mall in LA they put Santa in a big sandcastle. You would have to wait in line and walk through the castle to get to see Santa, and I always thought it was so amazing!

Complete this sentence- "It wouldn't be Christmas for me without..."

Family, friends, and lights on the tree.

Cassandra, thank you for taking the time to share your holiday traditions and memories with us! I would love to try your dad's rosemary pecan pie- wow, it sounds so delicious and unique! I am in complete agreement about ice skating at Rockefeller Center some year during the Christmas season, and I love me some sparkle too.

And for any of you who've missed the previous Holiday Traditions posts, catch up on all of them here. These ladies' all share wonderful Christmas memories in their interviews, and they are certainly worth the read.

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