Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Traditions {Delight By Design}

I am so glad that everyone has been enjoying the interviews with the lovely ladies who've shared their holiday memories and traditions with us thus far.

In today's Holiday Traditions interview, we are hoping over to Wyoming, to speak with Blair from the truly delightful blog, Delight By Design.

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

The first thing that comes to mind is that my dad always reads "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve in front of the fire before we would skitter off to bed. We read the same copy of the book each year-- full with my scribblings over the pictures and only tape left for binding.

As for the day of Christmas-- we always had a preset time that we were "allowed" to wake up my parents and once we did, we had to eat breakfast (typically a candy cane shaped coffee cake) before even thinking about looking into the living room where all the presents were. After eating breakfast (which always seemed to take forever!) we emptied our stockings first and then each of us (me and my two younger brothers) had to take turns on opening presents. The rest of the day was usually spent playing with all our new toys until dinner time.

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

Yes! We always left homemade Christmas sugar cookies and milk by the fireplace. And we would always get a note from "Santa" in the morning letting us know that he enjoyed them. The notes stopped once my dad realized I was catching on to it being his hand writing.

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

Surprisingly, no! Last year was the first time I wasn't home for Christmas and my dad sent me my own version of "The Night Before Christmas" to read and we made almost the exact same Christmas dinner I grew up having. I think one of the only things that has changed is that I now drink the alcoholic version of egg nog- yum!

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

Hmmm. Good question. Now, that I live in Wyoming, I have added going skiing to my Christams day- it is always very quiet on the mountain and the perfect way to enjoy a white Christmas.

We did try to start the tradition of cutting down our tree, but I was a little too scared after a grueling uphill snowshoe to find the perfect tree that ended in disaster. A disaster, that being totally blonde, I caused- I broke the chainsaw by not knowing that I couldn't put it in the snow (oops!) and we came out empty-handed. I guess it was good exercise, but it hasn't been suggested again.

Christmas skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Have you ever gone caroling?

Yes, in College when our sorority raised money by selling Christmas "Carol-grams" to students. I now know "All I want for Christmas' by Mariah Carey more than I ever wanted to. However, my personal favorite when singing around the house is definitely "Little Drummer Boy."

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

Oh, I could go on and on. But I think my favorite to eat would be homemade spiced nuts and in terms of a drink it would definitely be a Chai latte (it just smells and tastes like the holidays.)

What does a traditional Christmas meal include for you?

I fear it is not very exciting, but it is oh so good! We always have herb-crusted Beef Tenderloin, double baked potatoes, green beans with dill, and chocolate mint mousse. We tried Cornish hens one year, but I think that is the only year we strayed.

What is your Christmas decorating style?

Very simple and traditional. I love filling crystal vases and bowls full of ornaments. I think I have a container of some sort full of ornaments in each room of our home. My one staple decoration is a mouse shaped stocking that I have had since I was a little tyke-- always makes me smile. For the first time, this year I decorated a willow branch tree arrangement instead of getting a real tree, and I really love it!

The mouse stocking I've had since I was a little tyke

White lights or colored lights?

Oh, definitely white!

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

It doesn't seem like Christmas without driving around all the neighborhoods and admiring their Christmas lights.

Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

Hmmm. There are so many! I think it would be the year I hosted my family out in Wyoming (they live outside Chicago.) It was just so fun to be "in charge" of everything and really do everything myself for the first time- made me truly feel like an adult. It was painful on my pocket book though- I had to buy (and put up) two trees by myself. The first one I bought dried out too quickly, and I didn't want my family to be disappointed! I also bought all of the most beautiful decorations I could find- that was when I learned about the danger of credit cards. Despite the cost, it felt wonderful to be able to make the holiday as nice as possible for my family.

My willow twig tree

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


Blair, I absolutely love that your dad still reads A Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve and that he sent you your own copy when you spent your first Christmas away from home. We too used to get a note from Santa, and I am amazed that I didn't catch on sooner that it was my mom's handwriting! And skiing on Christmas day sounds like an absolutely wonderful new tradition. Thank you so much for sharing these traditions and memories with us.

Stay tuned tomorrow because we have one more guest stopping by during this series, and be sure to catch up on any of the interviews you may have missed (here, here, here and here.)

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