We are nothing if not sentimental. Each member of the Elsie Green family has their own set of traditions they have collected over the years, like the ornaments we have been collecting to adorn our homes. We are all looking forward to these moments with a joyous glow for the holiday season, and when compiled, these traditions read like a how-to guide for the month of December.  

Some of us are nostalgic for the years past, as we try to recreate previous holidays with loved ones, and other traditions are new in the making.

One thing we can all agree on is warm twinkly lights. Not much makes us feel as warm and cozy as the soft glow from flickering candles and the smell of traditional baking, whatever our culture may be.

A spiked holiday cocktail and festive corners within our homes can make even the most grown up feel dreamy and merry and bright. And while the glow of the outdoor lights may hit a little differently here in California without snow, I'll admit that I still get a thrill as I pass by homes decorated for the holidays. Some things do not change as I age. 

As much as I intend to turn toward brown paper packages tied up with string and a more simplistic approach to the holidays, I will inevitably unwrap all of the eclectic ornaments and decor that has been lovingly passed down from our families and collected with my own children, and be reminded that there is no one right or wrong way to decorate, as long as it invokes the feeling that this season should offer. Glad tidings.

This season is a reminder that there is magic in all of our hearts, and beauty in all things.

Follow along for our favorite traditions that make our hearts go pitter pat.

Holiday Car

| photography by sara tasker |

Laurie & JP

We always open new PJs on Christmas eve, then change immediately into them.  Rather than matched pajamas, each of the three kids gets something that is suited to his or her own personality.  I give myself a set that complements the rest of the crew.  JP doesn’t love matched pajama sets, so he’s excused.


My favorite tradition is definitely jingle jammies. Every year my mama buys each of us kids a new pair of pjs, and we get to unwrap them together on Christmas Eve all together. Then we lounge in them until December 27. And it is my favorite 3 days of the year.

Holiday Garland
| photography by kelly brown |

| image courtesy of home sweet homestead |

I change the wrapping for our gifts every year. i love picking a theme and sticking with it. Also, every year, as a family we get one new ornament, writing the year on the bottom of it. it is so cute each year to line them all up and think about all our holiday seasons past! 

This year we are starting a new tradition of going to my dads to cut down our own Christmas tree. 


Decorating throughout the house in small vignettes is my favourite thing, but the thread of commonality is dried citrus. Every year my kids and I take citrus from our backyard and slice and dry them to make citrus garlands and ornaments. We tuck them into our homemade wreaths, string them onto the tree, and wrap them into our evergreen garlands. 

My other favourite tradition is stuffing stockings. Finding all of the perfect tiny little gifts for everyone and then wiling it all to fit into their homemade felt stockings is a delight.   

Berry Wreath

| image courtesy of rurally yours |


My husband's birthday is Christmas Day. I always find myself running around, struggling to make his birthday feel special amidst the holiday chaos. A new tradition of ours is cooking eggs benedict for breakfast and making fresh squeezed orange juice from our tree. It's simple - but special to us. 

Last year we welcomed our daughter, Magnolia, and we can't wait to form traditions as a new family of three.

Growing up, my sisters and I were like most other kids...very impatient. It was torture to wait until Christmas morning to shake, rattle and sometimes peek at our holiday gifts. In an effort to keep us from nagging her all night, my mother always let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. And to get us to wait as long as possible, she made a big deal of Christmas Eve dinner. I love Christmas Eve even more than Christmas morning. The emphasis is on gathering, cooking, and being together. So much love has gone into the preparation! I love that energy!
Noel Door

| image courtesy of marie claire maison |


In more recent years, my favorite holiday tradition is visiting a beautiful local shop with my mom to pick out a special new ornament for our Christmas Trees. Every year we add a special piece to our growing collections.

I love the holidays! Every winter I look forward to all of my yearly traditions...spending the day in my cozy Christmas pajamas, watching holiday movies and playing boardgames with my kids. And I make my all time favorite traditional dinner of marinated Dungeness crab! Yum!
Holly and Ivy

| image courtesy of the paris apartment |


Christmas is always filled with lots of activities, family and friends coming and going, but the one calm pause for me is knowing that on Christmas Eve we are going to sit down together and have Crab Cioppino and sourdough bread. It doesn't get anymore San Francisco than that. It has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

I grew up next to a Christmas tree farm, so each year, I eagerly awaited the day my family and I would walk down the street to pick out our tree. My brother and I would go to the shop first to pick out one new ornament to add to our collection, along with hot spiced apple cider. My favorite thing was walking through the rows of Christmas trees, smelling the fragrance from the trees, and sipping on apple cider. After we chose our tree, we would come home and take out all of our ornaments to decorate our tree. We make spiced cider on our stove and look at ornaments from years past. The smell of pine and cider filling our home has always been the perfect way to end the night, filling us with warmth and excitement for my favorite holiday.

Joyeux Noel Elsie Green

Meet the Team
November 15, 2023 — Sarah Guenter