Notes on Tradition | Joyeux Noël
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.
| photography by sara tasker |
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.
| image courtesy of home sweet homestead |
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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.