What Makes the Holidays Special To Us

The best part of the holiday season? No, not the presents. (Though, of course we love those, too!) It’s the time spent with loved ones, celebrating the holidays with long lasting traditions! Here, the Cardtorial team shares what puts each of us in the spirit of the season every year.

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YVONNE: My sisters, Eva and Elice, and I usually do some sort of photo shoot where we get dressed up and take a ton of photos together/of each other. It’s silly and fun and we always love going back  to look at them. It’s the only dedicated time we really take (good quality) photos together. Sometimes it’ll be around the house or in the yard…sometimes somewhere random around home (Irvine!). Perfect fodder for our family photo albums!

JESS: Christmas is the one time a year when everything slows down and you’re with family and friends and you can simply enjoy one another’s company. You don’t feel the rush of a hectic work schedule, and you can just lounge around and actually drink a cup of tea and enjoy it. I also enjoy the smell that comes from baking: the cinnamon, the spices, the feel of a warm kitchen. And, of course, walking through the neighborhood at night looking at Christmas lights!

TIINA: My favorite holiday tradition is making traditional Finnish Christmas desserts with my mom. She makes the BEST gingerbread (I might be biased, but Scandinavian gingerbread is the best of them all). We also make cardamom rolls and a spice cake that is so, so tasty. All of her recipes are in Finnish and use lots of ingredients and spices that aren’t typically used in baked goods here in the US, so they taste really special and unique.

KRISTIN: My Grandma on my Mom’s side would come over on Christmas Day, and would make us her world famous empanadas. Over the last few years, she finally started to let my sister and me in on the magic. We started to learn the recipes (spice ratios are KEY, as well as the secret ingredient – raisins), the special empanada folding technique (anyone who uses a fork is an amateur), and how they taste WAY better fried, not baked. A very nice memory I have is of my sister, my cousin Ashley, and me making empanadas under my Grandmother’s watchful eye, and everyone enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Lastly, King’s Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls. These are my ride or die. Bless the Hawaiian Roll.

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KAYLEY: My favorite holiday tradition is baking with my mom and grandma, and decorating our house. My family and I also always go to my aunt’s house on the day before Christmas Eve to have dinner and exchange gifts with our extended family. We spend the night there, and then my brother and I go Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve day at the outlet centers near my aunt’s house (it’s never crowded and there are always sales!).

MADDY: It never really feels like Christmas is here until the night of Thanksgiving! Since I was a kid, after all of the kitchen clean up has been done and we’ve all woken up from our tryptophan/turkey-induced naps, everyone’s settled in to watch a holiday movie. For the first decade or so of my life, that movie was always “The Santa Clause.” Eventually, we began to cycle in some other holiday classics—from “It’s A Wonderful Life” to “Elf”—to keep the tradition fresh. Once we’ve watched that first festive movie of the Christmas season, it truly feels like the holidays!

SARAH: My favorite Christmas traditions include:

  • All of the kids in my family get a new ornament in their stocking every year
  • Decorating the tree as a family, and placing our angel on top
  • Christmas baking—mostly almond brittle and Puppy Chow
  • Being with my family on Christmas Day, eating breakfast, opening gifts, and then driving to cousins/aunts/uncles’ places to celebrate all together

LIZ: My favorite part of the holidays is binge watching Christmas TV episodes and specials!

 

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