buying guide/giveaway/words

2015 Holiday Giveaway

Posted December 14, 2015 by Stephanie
2015 i am a food blog giveaway

It’s giveaway time! It’s a massive one guys and I’m pretty excited! For the past week or so I’ve been featuring recipes using Staub, Shun,, Finex, and Kitchen Aid and now’s the time to finally bundle everything up and give it all away. Well, not literally, because you’re actually going to win new items, so there’s no real bundling, just figurative bundling.

braised chashu pork shoulder recipe -

win this staub!

I hope you’ve been following along – so far I’ve made Slow Braised Japanese Chashu Pork, Mini Puff Pastry Roses, Caramel Corn and Rice Krispie Mix, and Mint Snowman Marshmallows, but with these giveaway items you can make pretty much anything, which is perfect for the holiday season.

mini puff pastry apple roses -

win this shun knife and boo’s block!

I love food – as I’m sure you know – and one of my favorite Christmas memories is of me, my brother, and Christmas chocolates. As little kids, come the first of December, we would get chocolate advent calendars. I still see them around now: those thin cardboard drugstore boxes featuring a Christmas picture with tiny numbered windows and chocolates hiding behind them. My brother and I lived for that moment at the end of the day when we got to pry open the cardboard for our long awaited treat. Our eager fingers would melt the chocolate ever so slightly as we tried to eat our chocolates as slowly as possible.

festive christmas popcorn and rice krispie mix -

win this finex cast iron pan!

One year, we got it in our heads that we didn’t want to wait. We snuck our calendars down to the basement – it was cold and dark down there and I didn’t like it but my brother convinced me it was the best place to hide – and ate every single chocolate. We ate the entire month of December. And the thing is, we did it in a gentle, artful way where we could close back the windows so that at a casual glance, you couldn’t tell that the calendar was ravaged.

mint marshmallow snowmen -

win this kitchen aid!

Maybe it was the sugar-high making us crazy, but we totally thought we got away with it. That is, until it was time for our nightly ritual with our parents. Needless to say, there was no chocolate treat that night. Or the next night, or the next. But, it was okay, because come Christmas morning, there were still presents under the tree. Apparently, our chocolate binge didn’t leave us on Santa’s naughty list, which was a huge relief, because, presents.

These days I’m more into giving than receiving so I couldn’t resist putting together this giveaway for you! I wish I could send everyone a Christmas present but since I can’t, I thought I’d do the next best thing and giveaway some of my favorite things. So, let me know your favorite holiday memory and maybe you’ll be the lucky reader who wins! Good luck!

Giveaway: I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite brands to do a massive giveaway. One lucky reader will win:

Staub 4 Quart Round Cocotte
Shun 6-inch Dual Core Utility Knife Boos Block Walnut 20×15 Cutting Board
Finex 10-inch Cast Iron Pan
Kitchen Aid Artisan Design Series 5-Quart Stand Mixer w/Glass Bowl in Pearl Silver

To enter: Leave a comment on the blog with your favorite winter holiday memory. I want to hear ALL the details! I’ll randomly choose a winner and notify them through email. Open to US residents only. (Sorry international friends, only American companies agreed to this one!) If you’d like some extra entries use the widget below to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Contest ends December 21st at 12pm PST. Good luck!

The giveaway is closed! I’ll be announcing the winner in the next week or so after reading through all of the comments. Thank you everyone who entered! There are some beautiful memories here!

Update: Congrats Chelsea, you won! Look for an email from me shortly!


  1. Jana de Libero says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the action of my big family opening presents. Even though we are all adults, my wonderful stepmom still labels our presents under a pseudonym, use in case we want to try and figure it out. :). Every year, without fail, she forgets who was named what. We each open an incorrect gift and then she has to reorganize. At first, it was annoying. As I have gotten older, I realize that I love it, specifically because of the warm fuzzy memory. And knowing that she enjoys it as well.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ll do 2 memories, one is a holiday one and one is specifically a winter holiday one.

    First: I grew up in Hawaii, so winter was never really winter… But my favorite holiday memory is actually a tradition I try to keep up when I can even now. On New Year’s morning, we wake up before the crack of dawn and take a thermos full of hot chocolate (or coffee) and some kind of snack (usually my mom’s kimbap…these days, I’m more likely to make–or buy!–cinnamon rolls) to the beach, and then we’d jog and jump around to shake off the cold (it was still kinda cold early in the morning, even in Hawaii) while waiting for the sun to rise.

    The second memory is during my time living in LA (I know, still not very wintery, but more wintery than Hawaii!). We had a series of orphan Christmas parties on Christmas day for all of our friends who were staying in the area rather than going home for Christmas. I started the day at my Malaysian friends’ home, attempting (and failing) to make Martha Stewart’s croquembouche (the choux pastry puffs were great, the stacking them with spun sugar part, not so much), a wine-poached pear dessert, and some other fancy things, went to an Australian friend’s house and helped make pavlova, and finally ended out the day eating grocery store sheet cake that said “Happy birthday Jesus!” on it. What a fun day.

    following on pinterest as well :)
    also i follow you on instagram!

  3. David Webber says:

    Getting up at the crack of dawn to open our presents so we could THEN go to granny’s and open presents, THEN go to grandma’s to finish the afternoon out with dinner attended by all of my close family… GOLD!

  4. Ottilia Schafer says:

    When I was little my parents let me and my best friend open 1 gift on christmas eve. When we were about 9 years old we opened the best gifts ever – Spice Girls headset microphones. I love that I still have a polaroid picture of us singing into our new mics and throwing up peace signs :)

  5. Sophia says:

    I was born in Taiwan so perhaps because of the culture we didn’t really celebrate “the holidays” or “Christmas”. But I remember when I was around six, my parents brought home a little artificial Christmas tree (that stood maybe 4 feet tall) so my sister and I could have a real Christmas for the first time. Our apartment at the time was not very large so the tree was squished into the corner and we decorated the tree with some cheap lights and a cardboard star I had made as the tree topper. My sister and I were so excited that we actually had a Christmas tree. Then my parents surprised us both Christmas morning with new toys! Needless to say, I was over the moon with my first “real Christmas”. Super thankful and grateful for my parents who put in the effort to create such a magical morning for us. It wasn’t much but it’s definitely my favorite memory.

    P.S. I follow you on Instagram! Your time in Europe and (especially) London looks amazing. I’ve also been to Sketch and had their afternoon tea as well. London is one of my favorite cities. Enjoy your time there! My Instagram username is iamsofaaa. :)

  6. Lisa Brown says:

    My favorite memory as a child was going to the lake one year for christmas. We always went to the lake in the summer, never the winter, so I was a nice experience. It was my first time seeing snow. It was nice to have a white chirstmas.
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  7. cori says:

    I loved going to my cousins house – it was a huge white house and they always had a big buffet and an enormous white christmas tree in their kitchen. It reminded me of the movie home alone for some reason.

  8. Veronica says:

    Favorite holiday memory would probably be putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it every year – the way the yearly tradition transitioned from something I watched, to something I participated in, and then to something I helped my younger siblings with really demonstrated how life was changing every year.

  9. carly g says:

    My favorite holiday memories all include helping my Mom make huge batches of latkes and then eating them faster than she could get them out of the pan.

  10. Hey Yoo says:

    Favorite holiday memory, it’s probably my earliest Christmas memory but I remember my mom waking me up and saying “There’s snow on the ground!” I jumped up to go outside and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Everything was covered in a beautiful white snow and it looked like it came out of a fairytale. We made so much food and sat by the fire watching Christmas movies. This is one of my favorite memories with my family and everything was just perfect that day.

  11. Leslie says:

    Making & eating a Yule log is one of our favorite traditions

  12. Kim says:

    I always loved making holiday cookies with my mom when I was younger. She’d find a bunch of cookie recipes from magazines and rip them out and then let me choose which ones to make. She still makes a lot of the ones we used to make each year and gives me a batch.

  13. Julie B. says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies with my Mom. She always goes all out every year, baking a ridiculous array of goodies, including sweet and chewy biscotti, savory crackers, and unique delights from her childhood. She taught me everything she knows about baking, and had infinite patience even through my teen years. I remember distinctly hovering around as she worked on a batch of chewy chocolate chip biscotti, wanting to snatch pieces without helping (a total no-no). Of course, the secret to biscotti is the double-baking, and I simply couldn’t wait that long and drifted back to my room. Soon enough, my mom popped into my room and without a word dropped off a bowl of end pieces (my favorite) and went back to the kitchen. They were warm and moist and amazing. I’ll always remember that as I do my own holiday baking every year, using both her recipes and mine.

  14. Kathleen says:

    Mine is a memory of a tradition more than a single one. It’s my favorite now because it ended, and is one of those things where you never know ahead of time that this time is the last time, although there is one time that stands out – whether it was the last or not, I have no idea.

    On Christmas Eve my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom’s side would all come to our house for a huge turkey dinner, and then we’d all open presents together. My great grandma would always cry at dinner when she saw all four generations around the table. One year my sister got Dance, Dance Revolution as her gift, and after wondering for a while why the living room was so empty I went downstairs to see my mom, her brother, my grandfather (!) and my aunt attempting to follow the dance instructions on the pad. My grandfather gave up and danced a jig on the platform, and my aunt and uncle gave up and just did a two-step around the basement.

    After all the cousins left, my grandparents would stay for the night and my parents would stay up late wrapping presents from “Santa”, while my sisters and I pretended not to know that’s what they were doing. (As we got older, we were conscripted into this – each of us in a separate room wrapping Santa’s presents for the others.) We’d open presents first thing in the morning, and then my dad would make waffles and sausage, and then start on Christmas Day dinner, which was always ham, and turkey bone broth from the bird the night before. This tradition still persists, somewhat, although now that I’m older my family usually falls asleep right after dinner, and I go out and meet friends for drinks and presents (usually homemade cookies or liqueurs) with their families.

  15. J. Wagner says:

    It’s silly but I always remember my mom making chili for Christmas Eve dinner. Our family opened gifts on Christmas Eve so it was a quick meal with pretty simple clean-up so the kids could get right to the good part!

  16. Zach G says:

    I remember staring out at the colored lights across the street, listening to the rain beat against the window as the smell of fried potatoes filled the house. Surveying the homes along my block, I remember waiting for Christmastime’s heavy white blanket and the soft jingle of sleigh bells I’d seen in Home Alone. But even the red and green bulbs lining my neighbors’ houses couldn’t enliven a world overcast by the low-hanging iron grey clouds of the Pacific Northwest.

    If that dampened the Yuletide cheer, I couldn’t tell. Because we’re Jews, which meant that rather than trees and mistletoe, we went for simple things. We lit candles, spun dreidles, and bit down on latkes.

  17. Maureen says:

    Hi Steph,

    First and foremost, I just want to tell you how much I absolutely love your amazing blog! You are such a rare talent! Thank you for sharing all your wonderful treats with the world!
    So my favorite winter holiday memory starts off a bit sad but there is such a wonderful silver lining. When I was in my mid 20s, my father was very ill with lung cancer. He died on Christmas morning and I believe that was his Christmas gift. He was finally not suffering anymore. His very favorite meal was always braised short ribs and my tradition for the last 25 years has been to make braised short ribs for Christmas dinner. It is such a wonderful way to honor and remember my amazing daddy. It’s quite interesting how sometimes very sad things can turn into a wonderful traditions.
    I would be absolutely thrilled to win all of these amazing gifts. My daddy would be thrilled to know that I was making his favorite dish in one of those gorgeous Staub Cocettes! 
    Cheers for a very happy holiday!

  18. Barbara Bush says:

    My favorite holiday memories are all in the kitchen. All the baking and bonding with various relatives over the years. Learning new recipes, and spending time with my mom, aunt’s, grandma, and most of my son. I’m the master of all things sweet in family, but only because the love of baking has been passed on to me over the years. I can’t wait to start my holiday baking spree this Thursday & make new memories with my family while doing so!

  19. Gal F. says:

    My favorite winter memory is learning how to cook all of my mom’s Hanukah recipes with her! She doesn’t follow any recipes so I was basically following her around writing things down. It was so fun for her to spend the time with me because her own mom was very sick growing up and died young so since her teen years she’s longed for a warm, close family. I love learning from her.

  20. Hannah Parker says:

    My favorite holiday memory was going to my grandparents house for Christmas. We didn’t have a large family so when we all got together it felt like we did. Now my grandparents have passed. My husband is in the army and we aren’t going home for Christmas this year so it will be very different than previous Christmas experiences.

  21. Jade says:

    My favourite Christmas memory was when my family along with 2 other of our family friends went to Hawaii together! Before Christmas day we would prepare and shop for secret santa gifts for each other and then on Christmas open them. It was so fun to see everyone’s reactions and most of all to spend time with our close friends and family!

  22. my favorite holiday memories were those spent with my parents and brothers on a cruise every Christmas. Growing up Jewish, Christmas always consisted of Chinese Food and Movies; coincidentally, my parents also got married on Christmas Day- our Cruises over Christmas became an annual tradition and it was a time my family bonded and celebrated together and really got to enjoy the holiday season

  23. Kim ngo says:

    Being from an immigrant family, we had our best Christmas in 1981 , when we didn’t have anything and our church sponsors brought us our Christmas tree. Was so appreciated by my family in this new country. The true spirit of brotherhood and love. love your blog Stephanie!

  24. Dana says:

    Just like my grandma did 40 years ago, I tell my kids my hands are old and dry when they ask why the (Italian) S-cookie dough doesn’t stick to my hands but it does theirs when rolling it out. Wow. It really is a full circle.

  25. Morgan Arritola says:

    My favorite memory is coming home after a day of skiing on the mountain, snow, lot’s of snow, and hunkering down with family for dinner while Christmas music hummed in the background.. My mom doesn’t cook, let me repeat, DOES NOT COOK but luckily I have adopted a love of cooking. I don’t have food memories as a child but rather being with family and the laughs that that undoubtedly brings. I think the best part of the holidays is embracing past traditions, weather that be food, movies or games and mixing that with the new changes that life always offers. Living in the present but remembering the past. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  26. charj says:

    My mother used code names on our presents instead of our real names. My favorite memory is us kids trying to guess the which code name stood for us.

  27. Chloe N says:

    My favorite holiday memory is pretty general—Christmas at my grandma’s. Nothing beats the spread of Italian food and the house filled with family. I’ll miss it this year, spending the holidays with my husband’s family!

  28. Shilpa Amaram says:

    I loved decorating the Christmas tree – from untangling all the lights to gently unpacking each ornament and being reminded of all the memories behind each one!

  29. Ashley says:

    When my sister and I started getting older my mom transitioned to decorating our full-size tree with beautiful themed decorations. My favorite holiday memory is getting to decorate the small (1-2′) tree with my sister using our handmade or other silly ornaments. We got to make that tree our own.

  30. P.J. says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory demonstrates my grandfather’s love of pranks. Christmas was his favorite time of the year and his only request was that the girls wear red and everyone be together. My family would go to their house after opening presents at our own homes to have brunch and open gifts with them. Each year, my grandmother would put $50 in our stockings. That year, my grandfather took out the $50 bills after she went to bed and replaced them with $1 bills after she went to bed. We all opened our stockings and saw the money, but no one complained and everyone said “Thanks!” One of my cousins quietly commented that things must be hard this year. After we were all finished opening presents, my grandfather told us that our grandmother was very cheap that year, but he had gotten us some extra cash and handed out the $50.

  31. Lindsay says:

    My husband proposed to me on Christmas day six years ago. He told me he had one more present then popped the question. That was my most memorable holiday memory to date. Now that we have two kids, I am sure there are more to come

  32. Jan Quarles says:

    My favorite memory is being a tiny kid, at church for the annual children”s program. We always had lines tonsay and I was always frozen in fear, but performed because we always got that mystery brown bag after…it was filled with oranges and gums and candy and when you are five that is such a bounty! My other favorite memory is of my last Christmas with my parents,
    hadnling the onraments we had collected over the years, eating the same meal we cooked for more than 50 years

  33. Meg Lacasse says:

    As Chrstnas memories go it’s a small one but one that hasn’t faded over time as so many memories do. Each year our mother would decorate the Christmas tree with the help of my brother and I.

    On Saturday the two of us would follow dad as he towed our sled across the field behind our house and into the woods.

    There was a dirt road left over from the years the property had been a working farm but was now only used when my dad took the car and trailer back there to dump brush up in an old overgrown pasture that now was home to hedge hogs and rabbits. We followed this road and across the bridge over the brook – down the hill to the brook and then up again to the pasture. We’d cross the pasture and go in tot woods where we would help scout for nice tree. It couldn’t be too tall – our house was built in 1754 and the ceilings were about seven feet high! (Dads friend who was 6’5″ had to duck to go through our doorways!)

    When we found a tree dad would cut it down and we’d haul it back on the sled. The two of us would be cold by then and more than ready for this part of the process to be done so we could get warm and have cocoa while
    Dad wrestled the tree into the house and got it into the stand (not without some cursing under his breath and my mother fussing as she held the tree up for him!)

    Then the tree has to rest and get warm in the house so the beaches would relax and fall nicely, my mother would turn it a lot until she had the best side facing out of the corner and dad would wire the top to a hook in the window casing – we had cats and we had lost ornaments in the past when one of them decided he wanted to sleep up on a branch and tipped the tree right over!

    Only after all these steps were complete could the lights be out on the tree. This was my mother’s job no one else did the lights – our part was to test the strings and replace bulbs. No led lights, no miniature bulbs, these were the now old-fashioned bulbs, large and breakable, but they made such beautiful light and I remember them with some nostalgia!

    Now finally my brother and I could help with hanging the ornaments. They were a varied lot. Glass ones and ones we had made in school and the stars we got each year at church. Each year a different design, handed out after the Christmas pageant to all the children. I don’t know where they went all these years later but I wish I had them still!

    When every thing was on the tree the final step was the placing of the angel in the top of the tree. It was the first ornament my parents had bought for their first tree as a man and wife and my brother and I would compete to be able to be lifted up to place it in the spot of honor at the very top of our tree.

    I still have that angel – yellowed now from age and it’s dress and wings of delicate fabric showing its years but my sons used I fight to be able to place it on our tree after my mother had left us, and one of these years soon my grandson or granddaughter will do the same when they help me decorate my tree.

    That tiny angel has seen a lot and been held by many grubby hands but it’s the prettiest angel I’ve ever seen.

  34. Chiara says:

    My favorite memory is from last year Christmas dinner because it was the last one with my nonna, who unfortunately passed away a few months later. We did not do anything special, it was just a big lunch with everybody in my family. Due to travels, work schedule, health issues and other stuff we hadn’t been able to throw a family party in years, and in retrospective it was a perfect occasion to celebrate life and the love for each other one last time because my nonna passed away. We decided to spend Christmas all together every year (if possible) to honor our memory of her.

  35. Cody H. says:

    One of my favorites is similar to yours.

    I woke up on Christmas morning, rather hungry, apparently, and decided that the bowl of Hershey Kisses on the side table in the living room would be the best breakfast. So, I sat underneath the table and ate all of them. All 40 of them. I also thought I was rather sneaky, so I thought putting the wrappers into the trash would be the best thing to hide my sin. I guess 40 missing Kisses doesn’t go unnoticed, though. Especially when you have a tummy ache for the rest of the day. My parents thought that was punishment enough!

  36. Joanna Roesnberg says:

    Latkes! Latke! Latkes!

  37. Kelly Deen Morse says:

    Fav Memory – Drinking cocoa in the snow

  38. stefanie says:

    Wow. This is the holiday giveaway to end all holiday giveaways!

    My favorite holiday memory is the first time I experienced a real snowstorm. My cousins and my family all drove for hours up to Vermont and everything was so white and beautiful! The pine trees looked like they were encased in glass and everything was sparkling in the sun. The next morning, it had snowed a couple feet and we spent an hour just rolling around in it. I remember just being unable to comprehend that all this white stuff had appeared overnight, that snow could be so deep that it was impossible to find the ground underneath. To this day, I am still in awe of snow, of its ability to completely alter a landscape overnight.

  39. Robin says:

    My favorite holiday memory is going to my grandma’s for Christmas. She always had the front room table filled with every kind of sweet and every room of the house was decorated to the nines. It always reminded me of what i though Santa’s house looked like!

  40. Missy says:

    Christmas morning stockings! There are 22 people that sleep in my house and get up at the crack of dawn. Each family member (no matter age )is greeting with their own knitted stocking full of special little gifts.

  41. Lindsey B says:

    I used to always get up extra early on Christmas morning so I could beat my little brothers and see their faces when they first saw all the presents.

  42. Jaime says:

    This isn’t necessarily a “good” memory, but now that I’m older, it’s become a funny one.

    Right before the Thanksgiving that I was five and my brother was nearly three, my mother left my dad and moved in with her parents . My dad worked nights, and we loved our grandparents, so it didn’t seem that strange to us at the time. We didn’t see my father until he came to visit on Christmas Eve. In an attempt not to draw things out, or have to be in the same room for too much longer ever again, they decided that Christmas was the best day to let us know that they would be getting a divorce. I started to cry, and when my parents tried to comfort me, I yelled, “NOW I’LL NEVER GO TO COLLEGE.”

    I did.

  43. Jennifer says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is the three of us kids on the stairs waiting for Mom to get the camera. We weren’t allowed down to the tree until she took the picture. She always had to go find the camera and get set up while we waited impatiently! We could see the presents under the tree, but we couldn’t get down to them. Every one of those pictures cut off at least one of our heads. We do not have a single “stairs picture” from Christmas where all three of us are whole. We go back through the old photos and laugh. She made us do this picture until we were in our 20’s and come home from college. We finally convinced her we were old enough to just get a picture around the tree. Now we finally have all heads accounted for!

  44. Kelly says:

    My favorite winter memory is making Christmas cookies with my mother. On Christmas eve we would leave a big pile of cookies for Santa with some carrots for the reindeer. It’s something I can’t wait to do with my children one day :)

  45. Alex says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies with my grandma. She liked to make thin sugar cookies and decorate them with sprinkles. Every year I try to roll them thinner and thinner, as a personal challenge to see how thin I can go. Now that she is older, I am baking them on my own but she comes over to watch and sometimes does the sprinkling.

  46. Allyn says:

    My mom makes this odd savory french toast-ish casserole only on Christmas morning. It’s called Christmas Ho-Ho (that’s even the title on her recipe card), and it’s made with crustless white bread, milk, eggs, cheddar cheese, S&P, and I think ground mustard? I love it so much, haven’t had it in years, and it’s probably the thing I’m most looking forward to this year since we’re actually spending Christmas in my home town for once.

  47. Maddy Oliver says:

    If have to say this year is my favorite holiday tradition! Both my brother and I have graduated, so we told my parents to forgo buying us Christmas presents so we can go somewhere fun as a family. We found a cool lodge up in northern Minnesota where we can ski, snowmobile, stock up on board games and good food and have a great time. I’m so excited!! Not to mention the snowman marshmallows are absolutely on my list to make over break! Happy Holidays!!

  48. Jessica F says:

    Going to my boyfriend’s Italian Christmas Eve each year – his family puts out a full table of the seven fish, as is done traditionally, and it’s just so jolly and warm.

  49. Seth says:

    Pizza hut and driving around to look at holiday lights on Xmas eve.

  50. Hilary says:

    I think one of my sillier holiday memories is when I was 7 and asked for a basketball hoop. My parents somehow brought it inside and under the tree and its sheer size and weght had me convinced that it was Santa. There were many happy free throws under it later (never mind that my Dad managed to installed it himself).

  51. My favorite Christmas memory was when I forgot to tell Santa what I wanted. My family and I had went to the mall to visit Santa and, in a panic, I forgot what I was going to ask for (which was a black Britney Spear’s backpack with a purple locked diary included.) After a few days passed, I came home from school and there was a message on our answering machine from one of Santa’s elves! She said that Santa knew I was nervous and forgot, but he’ll definitely work on trying to get me the Britney Spear’s backpack. Sure enough when I woke up on Christmas morning the Britney Spear’s backpack was under the tree, diary and all. My parents still to this day don’t know how they elves got our phone number

  52. Tarah says:

    I’m the oldest of four children, and we would often wake up prior to my parents getting up, sort all of our gifts into piles, and wait for them. This isn’t how my parents wanted the mornings to go so my dad came up with a riddle for us all. Each of the four kids had their gifts labeled with a riddle. We all had to crack the riddles to figure out which gift was for which kid. I think it was more fun to work together and figure it out than to actual open the gifts!

  53. Maya says:

    My dad has this fruitcake that he makes every year, usually a couple of days before Christmas, sometimes on Christmas Eve itself. I hated the cake when I was a kid, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to both love the cake itself as well as the tradition of helping my dad make it (now that I’m actually old enough to not just spill everything on the floor!). After graduating from grad school, I suddenly no longer had the luxury of being home for 2-3 weeks in the winter, and the first Christmas after graduating, I couldn’t make it home until a couple of days before Christmas. My dad had decided that he didn’t want to make the cake that year since I wouldn’t be home to help (and the rest of my family wasn’t as into it as me), but I managed to get him to do a frantic, last-minute shopping trip to gather up the ingredients we didn’t already have at home, and we ended up getting it all together in time for Christmas; it turned out to be one of the best batches we’ve ever made, too! I still have to convince him every year that I’m going to help as soon as I get home, but I think deep down he knows that it’s a tradition that I’m never going to abandon :) Now I just need to get him to translate the recipe so that I can actually read it…

  54. Brenton Pahl says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is of when my family would go over to my Grandmother’s. Her house would be absolutely filled with Christmas decorations that were brought down from the attic. Many of us had to make multiple trips just to bring them all down. She loved her Coca Cola polar bears. She would buy so many gifts for my cousins, my sister, and I. I was big into the Cleveland Indians at the time and she would always gift me memorabilia that she got signed at the mall. We recently went back and watched some old tapes and the piles of gifts were so much larger than ourselves, had our parents not rushed us we could have been there all day opening gifts. The food wasn’t anything spectacular; we had turkey, egg noodles and other midwestern fare. The holiday spirit though came in the decorations and the crazy amount of gifts. What is nice about it is that when she passed, some of us took a few of her decorations so now everyone has a piece of those holiday memories.

  55. Hannah says:

    Helping my mom set out all the gifts on Christmas Eve so that my younger siblings would be surprised when “santa” came! :)

  56. Chelsea says:

    When I was studying abroad my mom came and visited me and we went to the north of Scotland for Christmas weekend. It’s one of the few white christmases I’ve ever enjoyed and we got to eat lots of delicious food and drink lots of amazing wine, etc. It was also really special being just my mom I’m from a large family (which I love!) but to have that Christmas with just us is a great memory! The next year it also made me really appreciate my large loud family even more.

  57. Ellen says:

    My favorite memory is waking up to a WHITE Christmas on the gulf coast of southern Texas in 2004. Our extended family was in town and celebrated the 5 inches of snow by building a snowman on the beach (complete with a bikini outfit) and having a good old fashioned snowball fight. It truly was a Christmas miracle!

  58. Heidi says:

    My favorite winter memory is the start of my favorite family tradition and that is Fondue on Christmas eve. We have since grown the tradition to make it our own but I will never forget that first year drinking far too much wine and figuring out how to get 8 people around a hot oil pot and how to get the cheese fondue away from my dad!

  59. Lubov Grigoryeva says:

    Definitely, the year it was just my immediate family (my sister and I full grown). We had a duck cook off and it snowed enough for us to have the best snowball fight with our dad.

  60. Arlene says:

    My mom told me Santa was calling to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I was like why does he sound like Uncle Rico?

  61. My favorite holiday memory is Christmas Eve when I was younger. We would go to my grandparents cozy log home in the woods and get together for food, music, presents and just being together. Ever year, “Santa” would magically show up with out presents and pass them out to all the kids. It was always so much fun that I still like Christmas Eve even more than Christmas.

  62. kyrosion says:

    When I was about four years old, I was (understandably) EXTREMELY excited about Christmas. I was just old enough that I could really anticipate the coming of that special day, and I absolutely could not wait for Christmas morning and the glorious present opening that would surely follow Santa’s visit.

    So, naturally, I was so excited that I could hardly fall asleep on Christmas Eve. And when I did finally fall asleep… it wasn’t for long. I woke up again very, VERY early in the morning, tiptoed out to the Christmas tree in the living room, and proceeded to tear open EVERY PRESENT UNDER THE TREE. Every. Single. One. All my presents. All my little sister’s presents. All my parents’ presents. Truly, it was every bit as glorious as four-year-old me had imagined Christmas morning could be.

    My parents found me, around four in the morning, sprawled out in the kitchen playing with the dancing Barbie toy that Santa had left for me. And, of course, they found the tree surrounded by the absolute carnage of a way-too-excited child who wasn’t really old enough to know about gift tags or the concept that all the gifts weren’t for her.

    Of course, no subsequent Christmas could possibly rival that kind of childish hedonism.

  63. Hannah says:

    Sitting around the tree with my family on Christmas Eve, reading “The Night Before Christmas” together. We have this illustrated version from the 50s that has different scenes from a house, each with (we insist) a hidden cat, which we always race to find, even though we’re all adults now!

  64. Amy says:

    Favorite holiday memory–opening one gift on Christmas Eve and spending all day deciding which one to open :)

  65. Cindy McL says:

    My favorite memory was when my dad built us a swingset and managed to make it a surprise for Christmas morning. He is very handy, and loves working in the garden, so he told us he was building a grape arbor (I’m still not entirely sure what that is), and for some reason all of us kids believed him. We even found out recently that my older brother had been recruited to help the evening of Christmas Eve, still under the belief that he was helping my dad finish up the grape arbor. Come Christmas morning there was a big red bow on our new backyard swingset, and all of us were surprised that he had pulled it off, and that we hadn’t suspected sooner!

  66. Paula says:

    Every year we scramble from one set of grandparents house to the other and, for some reason, both sets of cousins were really into talent shows. So every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would always have to prep for two shows in a day, but as the baby of both families, I’d usually get stuck with the grunt work. But it usually worked out in the end and I only ran away from the stage in shyness once!

  67. Kristin U says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking raspberry thumbprint cookies with my mom and sister. Living on the West Coast, we’d pretend it was snowing as we sprinkled the powdered sugar on top. Its not necessarily a holiday cookie, but now its the only time we really make them and something I completely associate with the holidays!

  68. Sharon says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory was the first time I saw snow in south Louisiana and it was right before Christmas. I was in my 20’s and felt like a kid. We’d just bought our Christmas tree and it had snow on it when we got in the house, a true novelty to me!

  69. LaTanya says:

    My son wanted a Sonic the Sega Geneis console. His godmother got him the gift and gave him to early since she was visiting out of town. He was so happy, he could even get the words out is his mouth. He shrieked and was screaming. I was just glad that I was able to capture that moment on video.

  70. kelli says:

    Growing up in Texas, we didn’t see snow very often. There was one winter that as we were coming out of the Christmas Eve service at church, it started to lightly snow. I remember my brothers and I talking about it being a Christmas miracle and wanting to hurry home to build a snowman. Granted, it ended up being no more than a foot tall, but it was such a great night.

  71. Amanda Hoffman says:

    I remember one year getting to go into our garage to see our real gift from my parents. It was bicycles!

  72. Melody says:

    My family usually does a simple Christmas. I remember one year when my brother and i woke up, we couldn’t find our parents. I believe they went out to buy gifts (or at least I think they did. don’t know how they did that). We were quite confused since at there were no gifts in the Christmas tree. Suddenly they come storming through the door, bearing gifts! We were so surprised and loved our gifts. Totally worth the few moments of confusion

  73. Brian Sanker says:

    My favorite memory is just of my big family getting together–my father’s side of the family opening presents late into the evening on Christmas Eve, and my mother’s side of the family opening presents across town on Christmas Day. Sleeping on sleeping bags in the basement of my grandparents house that was full of people in every room!

  74. Hailey Esch says:

    Man o MAN. It’s dang hard to choose a favorite… Well first, When I was 4, my sister was born a few weeks before Christmas (today is her 18th b-day!!!) and it was the best gift I could have ever gotten. I thought she was a real life baby doll that I could play with 24/7. Literally, my 4-year-old self would somehow drag her out of the crib to play with her (momma didn’t like that..). My second favorite memory is from about 4 years ago. My fam didn’t have much money at the time, so gifts were slim to none. I was working though and was able to rescued an American Eskimo dog (look up a pic, they’re freakin cute) from a shelter to give to my 4 siblings on Christmas morning. Seeing their faces was seriously the best feeling ever! Last of all, COOKIES. I mean what amazing holiday memory doesn’t involve cookies somehow? I mean amiright or AMIRIGHT?!

    Thanks for a chance to win awesome stuff Stephanie. You rock!! Enjoy this season and all the warm yummy things that come with it :D

  75. Christine says:

    My favorite holiday memory is cooking Taiwanese dishes with my mom. We would cook so much and eat all day. It’s amazing!

  76. Aaron says:

    My favorite memory is building gingerbread houses that didn’t fit together. So we bridged the big gaps with candy and frosting!

  77. Alexander Craig says:

    My favorite holiday memory is jumping into the ocean each year (in New York City, it is cold!) on January 1st at the end of the holidays. It is cleansing, refreshing, and how I enjoy to start each new year after the busy holidays.

  78. David says:

    It was all about Christmas Eve in may family – tons of meatballs, cheese and fudge. What more do you need?

  79. Barbara says:

    I used to try and stay up late on xmas eve with my sisters, listening for Santa. We never made it up too late, but it must have driven my parents crazy. We also would wake up super early in the morning, and run downstairs to see the stockings before my parents got up. We weren’t allowed to touch anything until 7 am (and when my Dad had his coffee). Christmas breakfast was always cinnamon rolls and fresh squeezed orange juice.

  80. Hannah says:

    I must have been four or five (important background detail, we always opened presents on the 24th) and I opened a few little presents then I opened a little box that had plan tickets to Disneyland, my parents had already packed everything (I was itty) and put me in the car/plane and I woke up at Disney Land on Christmas morning. It was super magical and v v v well planned.

  81. Kate Wildman says:

    My favorite memory is the same each year–my family (cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents) competes in a three-day Reindeer Games amongst ourselves to win a quilt my grandma has worked on throughout the year. The quilt is beautiful, but the competition is the main force for these games (which get BRUTAL!), as my family is ruthlessly competitive. We start with minute to win it games, always have some kind of scavenger hunt, have a day of minute-to-win it games, and finish with Bozo Pots (close to bozo buckets…but with dutch ovens and roasters and saucpans all lined up by size). Each game has a point value assigned and the winner gets the quilt. I’ve yet to win, but my family has won a total of seven quilts collectively, which we all love snuggling with throughout the year. It’s so much fun and makes for wonderful memories!

  82. being with my mamaw (enola, whom my blog is named after) & papaw on their farm every christmas growing up, and having the privilege of learning to cook in the most southern of ways from both of them! and having my hands & pockets shoved full of little debbie cakes & candy when it was time to leave their farm. ❤️

  83. Jeanette says:

    i think my favorite memory is my first memory of Christmas. I was in the first grade and I was extremely sick with the chickenpox. I was home for a week with a high fever, confined to my upstairs bedroom. The first night I was able to get out of bed, I walked half way down the stairs and I saw this giant tree in the corner decorated in blue lights. Turns out my fever must have been high because we really had multicolored lights, but that is still my favorite memory.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  84. Laura says:

    My grandfather died right before I started culinary school. We were heartbroken for all of the obvious reasons, but I was especially sad that he wouldn’t be there to share my new food journey. He was the one who always cooked for us, and he definitely inspired my love of cooking. The first Christmas without him, I spent days in my kitchen trying to recreate one of his classic holiday dishes — inexplicably, sweet and sour chicken livers (think crispy livers, pineapple, sherry). I finally got it JUST RIGHT, and brought it to Christmas to share with my family. It was like having him there with us for another year. AND, now I’m crying.

  85. Dominique says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is spending the holiday in Germany with my Oma and Opa. My parents would have Saint Nicholas and Krampus visit prior to the holiday to check if we made the good list (my cousin regularly broke down and confessed her wrong-doings from the year). On Christmas eve, after a amazingly DECADENT dinner, we would head out for a walk to spot Santa in the sky. Upon our return, we would discover he had already visited and we ‘just missed him’.

  86. Jcw Chau says:

    My favorite holiday memories is waking up to familiar scents of the Christmas tree, food, seeing the bright Christmas lights. Being surrounded by family and friends laughing and talking about past memories. Feeling like a child again with the excitement of opening gifts and seeing people’s reactions when they open theirs as well. Finding ways to stay warm while your nose is cold and bright red. Over the years you grow older and meet new amazing people in your life but the little details of the holidays never change. You never forget the familiar taste of a gingerbread cookie, the smell of pine needles, and the warmth of being wrapped up close to your loved ones watching your favorite Christmas movies. Those are all of my favorite holiday memories.

  87. Tala says:

    My fav holiday memory is actually only from two years ago! It was my son’s first Christmas. My brother’s, sister’s, and my family always go to our parents’ house for Christmas. There’s a big Christmas light festival in the town they live in. We always go, but this time my generation all had their babies to bring. It was really special, my cousins came with their kiddos as well. We danced and looked at lights and ate crappy festival food.

  88. Sarah says:

    My favorite holiday memories include baking hundreds and hundreds of cookies every year with my mom, aunts, and grandma. We use all of my grandma’s old handwritten recipes on tattered and stained recipe cards. It is an all day event!

  89. Angelica M. says:

    My best holiday memory involves my siblings. We’ve all been living apart since I was 9 and my brother wasn’t even born at the time so my sister and I had shared some Christmases before but never involving my brother. Last year, my sister decided to come and visit my brother and I for Christmas and after 17 years, my siblings and I spent our first Christmas together as adults. Presents were not important so long as we could finally celebrate the season together. I’m not normally emotional, but when it finally happened, I couldn’t hold it back and I made my sister cry. Finally I knew what it was like spending the holidays with my siblings. It’ll always be special and I’ll treasure that time with them always.

  90. Sandy says:

    My family doesn’t celebrate any winter holiday (I’ve been working on getting them spirited during the holiday season though!) but I loved one year when I was little, we just walked outside in the snow for hours and enjoyed the crisp and quiet air while everyone else was inside. I guess we celebrated in our own way. :)

  91. Becca C says:

    cooking a big chanuka feast with my family!

  92. Erin Zieske says:

    Well, I grew up not celebrating holidays but I remember sledding parties fondly in the winter in Deadwood, SD. A far cry from the gunslinging past of the town but what a wonderful place to grow up!

  93. My favourite winter holiday memory is of my first white Christmas. I’m from Sydney, Australia, so my Christmas has always consisted of scorching sunshine, seafood, and afternoon swims at the beach. But my first white Christmas was in New York in 2013. We arrived at my boyfriend’s grandparent’s huge, white house in Westchester. The entire yard, which is full of trees, was covered in glistening snow. We baked pies and drank mulled wine in front of the wood burning stove. We went for a stroll in the snow-covered woods after lunch. It was the first time I’d had a white Christmas, and it was magical.

  94. Stevi says:

    My favorite part of Christmas is cooking in my pajamas for my family. I make a filet stuffed with lobster and we drink champagne in our pjs. It’s the only holiday that I get to cook for, so I make the most of it. On Christmas Eve I cook Daniel Bouluds red wine braised short ribs. It’s always a hit.

  95. Ellie says:

    When I was little, we always celebrated Christmas at our cabin in northern Minnesota. It is a traditional log cabin which my dad and grandpa built, has no indoor plumbing (only an outhouse!), and one small stove that heats the entire place. My grandpa would start a fire in the stove three days before my family was going to arrive, just to make sure it was warm enough. But the real kicker is using an outhouse in December… we would literally have to scrape off ice from the seats and hope our butts wouldn’t freeze!

    My sisters and I would bake all kinds of cookies with grandma. And grandpa would hook up the toboggan behind the snowmobile and pull us all over the frozen lake. It was truly a winter wonderland!

    xo, Ellie
    Hungry by Nature

  96. Erin says:

    Eek! This is so exciting, Steph!

    My favorite holiday memory centers around, of course, food! Christmas Eve has always been the biggest day in our home – we plate hundreds of beautiful Christmas cookies for our neighbors and deliver them, prep our cinnamon buns for Christmas morning, and make a heaping tray of two strombolis to enjoy Christmas Eve night while we watch a Christmas movie. Our movie selection varies now, but when we were younger, it was always a Muppet Christmas (and I stand by it being one of the best Christmas flicks to this day). Waking up to the smell of homemade cinnamon bun deliciousness on Christmas morning is one of the best presents ever!

    Happy Holidays!

  97. Amanda Shaver says:

    Once, when I was about six years old, my family was poor around Christmas and we were struggling. My parents didn’t talk too much about it, but as a child you overhear some and my parents had a discussion with me about how we weren’t going to afford to do a tree this year, but that Santa knew and he would still come and not to worry. My father was a preacher at the time, and I remember just a couple days before Xmas we were coming home from church and when we got there, all the lights in the house were on. We were confused but I squealed, “Santa!” Sure enough there were huge boot tracks leading up to the house in the snow. Inside, there was a tree all decorated and lit with ornaments and a few presents underneath. I lost my six-year-old mind. We discovered later that another poor family from the community had gifted us the Christmas tree and put it up while we were gone. It’s my most cherished memory of giving, and I hope to do the same for someone else someday. <3

  98. Miranda says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is waking up and eating oysters Baltimore with my family! After opening stockings of course…

  99. Joylyn says:

    My favorite winter holiday is Christmas! I enjoy seeing family and friends, eating festive and delicious food! And of course relaxing at home, watching Christmas movies.

  100. Nikki says:

    I think my favorite winter memory might be the few years I had as a kid where my Arizona cousins would come to visit for a few weeks to hit the slopes. There were 6 of them and it was an absolute blast to have extra kids in the house. We’d spend lots of time playing in the 3ft deep snow all around my house (the perks of living on a mountain!). We’d dig out snow caves and go sledding on the hill a few houses down. At night we’d play in the basement, us younger kids being relentlessly teased by the older cousins. It’s a memory I hold very dear because as we aged, we grew apart and many of us chose different paths in life.

  101. Caitlin says:

    I’m moving and am in desperate need of kitchen supplies – I’d be building new memories with these!

  102. I will always, always hold onto the memory of the year our budget was SUPER tight. Our daughter had asked us to help her save up for an American Girl doll. We decided to scrape up everything we could to make it happen. Knowing this, our older two boys brought us allowance money and begged us to let them pitch in. The pure anticipation and joy on their faces Christmas morning, expecting nothing themselves, was something I will always treasure. We were able to spoil them too because of answered prayers, but they didn’t know that at the time. All they knew was pure, unselfish and giddy joy at someone else’s gift, and their sacrifice was worth it to them.

  103. Christine says:

    My favorite holiday memory is not completely related to the holidays but always told me the holidays were near.

    My dad owned a Chinese restaurant from the time I was 4 until I was 20. Every year, for the restaurants anniversary on December 8th, he held a giant party at the restaurant, which could hold close to 150 people. I always got to help put up Christmas lights around the windows. We blew up hundreds of ballons to cover the entire ceiling. There was a raffle for people to enter the few weeks before the party, where they could win prizes ranging from gift certificates for meals up to a vacation. We got to dress up for the party too.

    The restaurant would be packed the entire night, with champagne and cider for everyone. All our regular favorite customers were there, and new ones joined us as the night went on. Raffle winners were drawn throughout the night, and I got to help carry the box around to let customers reach in the pick names. It was always exciting when the winner was present to scream and celebrate. I remember one year the mayor of our city was there and he drew the grand prize winner that time. The night always ended with Chinese sheet cake being cut and passed around.

    There was usually pictures that my mom would put together on a poster for customers to see after the event was over, and she would place our own copies in a photo album that we still have today. They are treasured memories of some of my dad’s happiest times and oldest friends. And they are precious memories of my childhood growing up in a restaurant.

  104. Marie says:

    My favorite, albeit sad , holiday memory was Christmas 2007. I introduced my then fiancé( now husband of 7 years) to my lovely grandmother. We flew thousands of miles to celebrate the holidays with her. We lost her a week after. God bless her soul. It was heartbreaking but I was happy that they were able to bond and get to know each other. Happy Holidays everyone xx

  105. phoebe says:

    those crazy spritz cookies from the old betty crocker cookie book… baking with mom

  106. Lisa says:

    I really love my family’s annual Chanukah party. We’re not very religious, but we do a little gift exchange that involves a lot of stealing and cheating. There are friendly rivalries that have built up over the years and it’s always ridiculous. Sometimes you even end up with something good! We got a set of nice drinking glasses this year.

  107. Mindy says:

    My dad and I cook a giant roast with yorkshire puddings every Christmas and I look forward to it all year. It’s my favorite part of the holiday season.

  108. Mae Ecalnea says:

    My favorite winter holiday memories is when my first born daughter opened her first ever Christmas presents. It was her first year Christmas spending us together us a family. She was sooo excited because there were a lot of presents for her. The second one when she was 2. Oh boy she woke up early in the morning went downstairs and opened some presents. The third one was when she was 3. She told me the night before Christmas thwt she’d put a video camera so she can record Santa when he dropped by. It was soo cute to heard that from her. Kids will be kids. Those precious memories would last for a lifetime. Simply because it carved in my heart. xo

    PS: I hope i will be the the choosen one . I’ve been wishing to have like those stuff especially the mixing bowl its more easier and very useful when i bake something for my daughter Jazmine cause we love to bake and do some stuff in the kitchen.. :)

  109. Lizzie says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is caroling barefoot in California as a kid :)

  110. susan says:

    we used to spend our holiday in florida (grew up in Ohio) so on christmas day, we’d take a nice long walk on the beach as a family. hours long. and we’d get back to our spot on the beach starving and beat and eat sand filled turkey sandwiches on old broken beach chairs. presents had been open. new jellies were on. it doesnt get much better than that. its just so simple.

  111. Kelsey says:

    Favorite memory — Cooking the Christmas dinner for my family a few years ago for the first time. It was the first large dinner party I had cooked for (35 people) and I’ve been cooking dinners for large groups ever since!

  112. Emily Fette says:

    My favorite memory was when my sisters and I were in elementary school and we heard a clatter on the roof top on Christmas morning. We ran to find my parents and they said Santa had just left. There was a note from Santa and he had eaten the cookies and drank the milk we left out. The reindeer had even eaten the carrots too!

  113. Hillary Gozigian says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making Christmas morning brunch with my sisters – being in the kitchen together with our parents, hearing Andy Williams Christmas playing in the background and drinking coffee as we created a meal for our extended family. I look forward to creating this memory each and every year.

  114. Cheryl says:

    Piling into the family van with snacks and hot cocoa and driving around to see Holiday lights!

  115. Suzanne Mooney says:

    I always loved Christmas Day after dinner. We would always take a nap after dinner, watch a movie or so, and then at about 6 or 7 pm all the aunts and uncles and cousins would come over to my parents house and we just had a ball. There were games to be played, food to be ate, a little alcohol to be taken, and it just went on until about 2 am. There were all ages there, from 2 to 75 and it was just so much fun.

  116. Molly Freihofer says:

    When I was little, we often read from the Little House on the Prairie books. In them, Laura makes maple syrup candy with Ma and Mary. That’s what my mom, sister and I would do with the first good winter snow! We would get a large baking dish, fill it with the clean fallen snow and bring it inside. There, we would be boiling the maple syrup to just the right candy consistency. We didn’t have a candy thermometer so we compared how Laura described how the texture of the syrup should be in the books. When it seemed just right, we would pour long, thick strands on the snow. Some we would let harden like that. Others we would wrap around a fork when they were still pliable enough and then eat them right away like lollipops on the forks. When we got to make these, we knew we were officially in winter – it was one of my favorite days of the year and when the good snow came before Christmas, these candies welcomed in the holiday season in the best way for me.

  117. Rowell says:

    My favorite memory, after all these years, was when I was a child. It was Christmas Eve and we were with family and friends. Like all Filipino families, we feasted. I remember running around with the other kids, being crazy. I was probably 5 or 6 years old. We went to midnight mass and upon our return, Santa ate our cookies and drank the milk we left him. On the wall was a handwritten letter from Santa on parchment paper. Written with calligraphy and all. I don’t remember what he wrote but when I recall that memory I can see the writing and looking up at that letter. It’s that moment you know that Santa is real. I want my son to experience the same thing but even better.

  118. Ivana Boskovic says:

    My favorite holiday memory is definitely Christmas 2014. My family road tripped from Philadelpia to Toronto and had a great time. As my brother and I are in our 20s, the holidays take on a very different feel. The trip to Toronto was one that we took many times as children so it was really nice to relive it with our parents as adults. 8 hours is much different as a 7 year old than as a 27 year old- that’s for sure! It was perfect, slightly snowy winter weather and driving through upstate NY was as picturesque as it could get. Stopping to get lunch at a cute lodge- complete with many taxidermies – was the icing on the cake.

  119. Jackie says:

    We do a Chinese style Christmas dinner, so every year my extended family gathers in our cramped little house for hot pot! Imagine 30+ people smushed together in a small living room, all gathered around plates of raw meat,veggies, and fish! It feels like being in Hong Kong because of the density of people per square inch! But nothing says holidays more to me than being with my family, warmed to the core by love and fish balls :)

  120. Melissa Miles says:

    My favorite memory is the year before my Grandfather passed. It was the most beautiful Christmas eve ever. My grandma and grandpa on my moms side came out (they live in NJ and we live in central PA) and we had a big Christmas eve dinner. All sorts of food – crab cakes, seafood pasta, sausage and peppers, antipasto platter, etc. were had by all. Afterwards we opened our presents and played games until 3 am. I remember my grandpa dancing around the kitchen, kissing my grandma, and making us all laugh. I still look back and think about that as my favorite Christmas because it was so special, and after the fact we are able to look back on how amazingly beautiful it was as a final Christmas with my hero, my grandpa.

  121. Ryann Ruggg says:

    sledding and building bonfires in Montana are the best times during the holidays!

  122. Felicity says:

    Christmas in New Zealand in the height of summer with my grandma always insisting to cook a traditional British dinner, which meant the house was sweltering hot as she had an old wood burning AGA. I’m sweating just thinking about it. The food was always amazing, but better suited to a winter Christmas!

  123. Bonnie says:

    My favorite holiday memories always began the day after Thanksgiving. As my dad was stringing lights outside, my mom and I would start to make the batches and batches of Christmas cookies. Russian tea cakes, spritz cookies of all shapes and sprinkles, chocolate cookies with a walnut half in the center. And every year we would pick out some new ones to try from the holiday magazines (no internet then!). Oh! and fudge, some with walnuts, some without. Being with my mom as she baked; helping, of course!, were the best times of closeness and learning, of sugar and butter and spices.

  124. Heather says:

    My favorite memory has changed over the years… It used to be opening presents with the family. Now that we are all older, we tend to just get together for the holidays. That in itself is the present. So now I have memories of us going on vacations – Mexico, France, Colorado… Which I much prefer!

  125. My favorite holiday memory is when I would watch my grandma cook everything by herself for Christmas dinner. I loved sitting on a little kitchen stool while my siblings and cousins watched tv. She did it with such ease and made it seem so effortless. She stayed calm most of the time, but occasionally would say Hungarian cuss words under her breath when something went wrong. I was so young and didn’t fully realize my love of cooking and baking at the time, but I enjoyed helping out with the smallest of tasks. My grandma passed away about 6 years ago, just as I was finding my way around the kitchen. I’m 23 now and I’ve started cooking all of her hand written recipes to the best of my ability, hoping she would be proud if she was here to taste it. In the past 2 years, I’ve now taken on the task of cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for my whole family. I like to think that she’s watching me and that she’s proud.

  126. Jon says:

    One of my fav memories was driving my family all over our new town in VT and not finding the church for Christmas Eve service. Dejected, we all drove home, stood outside while holding hands and singing carols. It was a nice evening.

  127. Jennifer says:

    My favorite holiday memory is decorating our house with my dad. We always make sure our home is holiday ready!

  128. Lauren says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is easy! It’d definitely be Cheistmas 2008! You see, I grew up an only child. It was just me and my mom, my father wasn’t a part of my life. Sure I had my grandfather who lived with us part time, my two amazing godfathers and my uncle to be the male influences in my life. But I didn’t have any contact with my father, that is, until January 2008. Right before New Year’s Eve 2007, the idea of my father had been heavy on my mind and I had mentioned it to a friend of mine. He suggested that maybe it was time for me to finally reach out to my father and let him know that I was thinking about him. I took his advice and sent him a certified letter. On Super Bowl Sunday 2008, I received the most wonderful email response from him and was set to meet my father for the first time on Easter Sunday, during my next trip home. That visit was amazing and crazy all at the same time! Looking at my father was like looking at the mirror….and the missing pieces finally clicked! I learned that I was no longer the only child. I learned that not olny did I have 3 brothers, but I also had 2 sister-in-laws, a stepmother AND a nephew! Because I was living in Atlanta and the rest of my family was in DC, I wasn’t able to meet everyone until my trip home for Christmas. On December 23rd, 2008, I met my brothers, stepmother, sisters-in-law and my nephew (who ran up to me and greeting me with a huge hug!) That was THE best Christmas present ever! And was more than I could’ve ever hoped for! Sadly, less than 6 months later, my father passed away from pancreatic cancer, but I still cherish the year and a half that he was in my life and I’m thankful everyday that he shared his side of the family with me!

  129. xiao says:

    My favourite holiday memory is waking up early with my husband last year on Christmas day at my parents house. We prepped a classic family breakfast (eggs, bacon, instant noodles), ready for all my younger cousins and brother when they woke up to open presents, and then go straight back to bed.

  130. LARISA PETERSON says:

    My favorite holiday memory is being with my family on the December 24t and 25th. On the 24th my mom (she is a chef) and I would always prepare a lot of food. We would make lots of dishes with pork meat (I am Romanian and we eat lots of pork) and all kinds of salads. Back them probably i didn’t appreciate those moments but those very moments made me love food and cooking. And just by helping my mom I learned the joy of cooking for your family.
    On the 25th we would always have kind of a potluck with the rest of the family. We would gather to our place or over to my grandma’s house and we would all eat together like a huge, hungry family. We would all bring containers with food that we prepared the other day, and would end up with tons of dishes on the table and we would eat, laugh and spread love. Happy Holidays!

  131. Colleen says:

    My Mom’s side of the family has a tradition where a white almond is hidden in a pan of a rice dessert. All of the family members put a dollar into the pot for the winner. The last Christmas that my Grandma was alive, we planted the almond in her helping. She had never won the pot o’ money before. The look on her face when she found the almond is one that I’ll never forget.

  132. Farisia Thang says:

    My favourite holiday memory was the one I spent with my boyfriend’s family. I’d only been dating him for a month and a half, and I was leaving the country to visit my family for Christmas. But my boyfriend’s mother really wanted me to celebrate Christmas of some sort with them and so she threw an early Christmas family dinner, where we did all the traditional things. Growing up, Christmas was never that much of a celebration in my family, as much as I wanted it to be, and my boyfriend’s mother knew that and so she planned the whole night with the “typical” traditions. We made a gingerbread house and decorated the tree, there was Christmas music playing. It was something like a dream because it felt so foreign to celebrate it in this way, but also amazing because I felt so loved that she would want to plan something like this just so I could be a part of it.

  133. Julie says:

    On Christmas Day my family used to make meals and we spend the Christmas together. We didn’t do anything big but being with them was the best thing and spending it with them is the most memorable thing. The love and joy all together. We also go watch the lights at the la zoo. The bright colorful lights were so pretty all around and sitting all together in the car gave us warmth as we watch the lights driving through.

  134. Cormac says:

    As a kid, watching my mom in the kitchen on Christmas Eve prepping stuffing for dinner the next day. Unaware she was being observed, humming happily as she tore bread apart and diced herbs; following the unwritten, unmeasured recipe handed down to her by her mother, and her mother before her. And that is the magic ingredient, the best gourmet stuffing in the world can never compete with a simple family recipe made with loving hands and a warm heart.

  135. Mallory says:

    One of my favorite, and especially funny, holiday memories was the year it snowed so much that they cancelled Christmas church service! Of course, everyone wishes and hopes for a white Christmas! Yet no one really anticipates so much snow that we can’t even make it out of the house to get to church! My siblings and I were raised on Catholic church services not only on Christmas day, but also every Sunday of the year. It was always such a struggle to go to Christmas service because all we wanted to do was stay home and open gifts, duh! But even worse, mom & dad made us wait until AFTER church to open the Christmas gifts. Well, the year it snowed so much that all church services were cancelled on Christmas day, we were ecstatic! Except we soon found out that mom & dad fully intended on having us sit on the couch and watch a church service being televised!! It was a painful hour and it was so difficult to hold back our giggles. For every laugh that we let out, we got death glares from our parents. The upside was that we were still in our pajamas and able to eat pancakes DURING church. It turned out to be awesome and it was sure a year to remember ;)

  136. Erin Ellis says:

    My favorite holiday memory was a yearly event. My grandmother always made waffles on Christmas eve and I looked forward to that dinner every year. Now I continue the tradition with my own family. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.

  137. Melissa says:

    There is one special memory that comes to mind. I grew up with 17 cousins on my mother’s side of the family. When we were kids, we would always have cousin gatherings. One winter, we decided to go ice skating together. We packed into multiple cars and drove to the ice skating rink. We warmed ourselves up throughout the day with hot chocolate and just had a good time. We are all much older now, some with our own families already, but I miss those childhood days!

  138. Yumiko says:

    We had a “christmas village” of simple hollowed ceramic houses that we kept adding to each year, and we would light a tealight in each of them every night in December, and it gradually became sort of a nightly ritual for my family over time. Now that I’m married I’ve started my own village, and it brings back all the happy memories each night, along with all the new ones we’re creating.

  139. Connie says:

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is actually a very recent one! Three years ago, my boyfriend and I spent our first Christmas together in Wichita, which is where all of his family lives. I didn’t know if they’d like me (a little Chinese gal from California) and I had no idea what to expect – I grew up having hot pot on Christmas!

    On the way to the airport, he warmed me that Christmas with his family hasn’t changed in decades. Every year it’s the same thing.

    On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at grandma’s, where we sang carols, looked for the plastic baby Jesus (whoever finds him wins!), lit the advent candles, and enjoyed grandma’s ham! Christmas Day was spent in Little River, population 500 people. This is where his mom is from. Everyone on his mom’s side is goofy and hilarious! We went around opening gifts, and I was so surprised to see that all of his cousins, aunts, and uncles had a gift for me. The funny thing is – the gifts were addressed to Carol – not Connie – because Karl’s mom mumbles over the phone :p

    We go to Kansas for Christmas every year now, and I just love spending the holidays with my new family!!

  140. David says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my family met my wife’s family and we enjoyed Christmas together

  141. Jamal Stokes says:

    Best story I have is when my 3 yr old son ignored all of his gifts. We make a big deal out of opening presents and always get the kids a ton! He grabbed his first present and proceeded to open it, when he saw it was one of his favorite toys, he stopped. He completely ignored the other 10 boxes he had under the tree! He lay out refused to open any more after that. His siblings had to open them for him and he still just glanced at them like whatever. One of the funniest moments I’ve seen.

  142. Alissa Larson says:

    My husband proposed to me on Christmas Eve, as my entire family was sitting down to a nice turkey dinner!

  143. Amanda says:

    Going to my grandmas where my whole family would gather, and we would finally be allowed to eat he candy canes on the tree that had been off limits the whole season

  144. Erin Roy says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies with mom as a kiddo. We would fill the dining room table with goodies to gave away to friends. The smells and the ability to help me mom and give away gifts are very happy memories.

  145. pamela says:

    as a young child i was in love with the christmas tree. when everyone was asleep, i would quietly go to sleep under the christmas tree, under the multi-colored lights that where shining down on me…every year now the tree seems to be getting put up later and later, but still sneak away late at night to sit by the quiet glow of the christmas lights and balsam sweetness..(i no longer fit under the tree, not surprisingly!) …ps. i’m also following on instagram and pinterest (love your blog!)

  146. David C says:

    My favorite holiday memory is back when I was a kid and still believed in Santa Claus. I always tried to see him and stayed up late with my family eating his cookies.

  147. Karin Jackson says:

    My favorite holiday memory is of a huge Christmas party we hosted while stationed in Bermuda. So many families and delicious foods from all but the highlight was seeing all the children’s faces as Santa walked in the back door with a huge sack of presents for each of them. (You could hire a Navy Chief to come to your house dressed as Santa, and if your children left their shoes outside Christmas Eve they’d also fill them with candy.)

  148. Jennifer says:

    My favorite holiday memory is of a Christmas tradition from when I was much younger. We would all go over to my aunt’s house for Christmas- she’d always make a HUGE dinner. Then all of my cousins and I would open up gifts under the Christmas tree. My favorite uncle always wore a Santa hat and handed out all the gifts. He’d sometimes trick us and pretend to hand us a gift but then quickly pass it to the person on our right/left. We all always had a great time and loved every minute of it.

  149. Emily Love says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from last year, going skiing for the first time in the Swiss Alps with my boyfriend and his family. I was really nervous about skiing but I ended up skiing on some of the harder slopes by the end of the week! Obviously enjoyed loads of cheese fondue, gluwein, and Christmas markets!!

  150. rachael says:

    My favorite holiday memory has to be the first time I saw the christmas pudding lit on fire at my grandmother’s house. Then the supreme satisfaction of eating it smothered in brandy butter.

  151. Stephanie Thomas says:

    My girls were about 5 and 6 and would NOT go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I had a door bow with bells on it that I wasn’t using. I took it around the back of the house where their bedroom was, and rang it like a crazy person. I then snuck back in the front door and went upstairs to “do laundry”. They came flying out of the room telling me they heard Santa!!!! I said well he can’t come if you’re awake so you’d better go to sleep so he can come back! The insane excitement and belief of 2 little girls was SO much fun to witness!

  152. Jaclyn says:

    My favourite memory would be trying eggnog and baking the Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake Christmas cookies with my older brother for Santa. We’re an Asian family – Vietnamese, like yourself – and so our folks never really subscribed to most of the Christmas traditions, including Christmas lights up around the house, drinking eggnog/mulled wine/cider, or leaving milk and cookies by the chimney for Santa Claus. However, one year my brother and I begged to simulate some of these, so we were allowed to buy eggnog and make cookies. My parents were, of course, the ones who had to actually eat the cookies, and they weren’t very fond of Western confections, so that was a pretty significant sacrifice on their parts. I remember feeling like it did bring us all together, though.

  153. Jaclyn Reynolds says:

    A fond memory I have is all the ornaments that were on my tree when I was a child. Loved looking at them all and even though it was a small table top tree, it seemed huge to me as a little kid.

  154. Emma says:

    My favorite holiday memory is my parents’ annual party on Christmas day-we always have posole and chile rellenos, and the entire neighborhood gathers to light luminarias! It’s the best.

  155. S.A. Kieny says:

    Travelling to Canada last year and having a beautiful white Christmas for the first time was an excellent memory. Despite the fact I got snowed in during the Polar Vortex and missed four days of work, it was still really special.

  156. Sarah Kaminsky says:

    One of my favorite holiday memory that usually happened every year is baking cookies with my mom and grandma. My grandma always used to make us hot chocolate while baking, and we would watch funny Christmas movies. We would end up baking into the next morning, and make breakfast as a treat for all our hard work.

  157. Angela Zhu says:

    A couple years ago, my family and some family friends went to Las Vegas and spent witer break there. We spent all the days going to the different places around and exploring every corner. We ate at many great restaurants and have a lot of fun. I never wanted to leave but when we finally did, I remember that it was the best Christmas I ever had.

  158. Casey Brennan says:

    Our Christmas is an all out party. Each year we rotate houses & have a sit down dinner for our immediate family which tallies in over 60 people! Last years Christmas at my sisters proved to be one of the best with a Christmas photobooth, Shotski, flash mob during dinner led by my parents & a dance party with young and old alike til 3am. Blessed!

  159. Kayla says:

    “Fishy Pet” appeared under the tree at Christmas when I was 3. My parents had set up and plugged in a fish tank with a motor filter under the Christmas tree, complete with my first pet! It would have been much easier for them to set up the tank somewhere else, but it was pretty magical to think that Santa had hand-carried “Fishy Pet” and carefully placed the tank under the tree.

  160. Danielle says:

    When I was little, all my siblings and my mom would spend one weekend just where we would bake a massive amount of cookies for ourselves, our classrooms, and my parent’s work. We would take over the entire kitchen and dining room getting things together, mixing, adding sprinkles, packaging, etc. And we were always sure to make fun of whoever did the worst job at using the cookie cutters or adding the sprinkles. We would also spend the same night decorating the house for the holidays. It was always nice because no matter how many other things we had going on or holiday parties we had to attend we would always spend that day together.

  161. Tracy Arai says:

    My favorite holiday memory was being surprised by a Nintendo gaming system when I was a little kid.

  162. Ray says:

    My favorite holiday memory was spending it in Tokyo while I was studying abroad there. Getting to experience the holidays in a different country is something I’ll never forget. I hope one day I will be able to go back and share the experience with my kids.

  163. Zoë says:

    My favorite memory is that first glimpse of the glowing tree and presents early on Christmas morning. My younger brother and I would always sneak out the earliest and admire the sight, waiting anxiously.

  164. Bekah Inouye says:

    My favorite holiday memory was from Christmas in 2000. I was only 6 at the time, but that was the year I got the best present ever, but one that I never, ever really wanted. That year my sister kept asking for a pony, but seeing as that would have been ridiculous for our family, my parents got us got us a dog. I had been “attacked” by a couple dogs prior to this and was terrified of them because of that. My parents knew this but they also thought that the best way to get over this fear was to get me a dog and they were so right. I am absolutely obsessed with dogs now and my dog, Maddy, was the kindest, gentlest, funniest, sweetest dog there ever was. She passed away this past June and so this year will be my first Christmas without her in 14 years, but she will forever be the best present ever and my favorite holiday memory.

  165. Laura says:

    When we were little, my parents would make my siblings and I wait upstairs on Christmas morning until they had showered, dressed, and made coffee. The wait was practically unbearable for the four of us and we would sit at the top of the stairs so that we were as close to Christmas morning as we could possibly be without getting into trouble. As we waited, inevitably one of us would creep down a few stairs to peek through the banister at the Christmas tree to make sure there were presents waiting. At the time it seemed like torture, but now I look back fondly at the four of us kids huddled together on the landing, speculating about what our presents would be, and desperately waiting for the moment we could run down the stairs and start the day.

  166. Mimi Chau says:

    Every year my church has a Christmas Ornament Exchange Party and usually it is at my house. Everybody comes and there’s sweets and snacks at music! Also the grown ups are supposed to bring a handmade wrapped ornament to exchange. So two years ago a college student came with a unusually heavy ornament. And when someone opened it up for the exchange it was a rock with ribbon on it! Everybody thought it was super funny and the next year he brought a this huge pine one with ribbon for an ornament!

  167. Kaitlin says:

    My favorite memory of Christmas is making chocolate crinkle cookies with my mom and sister. We did it every year!

  168. Jazzi says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the year my parents put the Christmas tree in plain view from my bedroom. I thought to myself days in advance about how awesome it would be to see all the presents Santa brought first!! Before my sister and my brother!! I kept this thought myself thinking if I told anybody they would move the tree back to the original spot, where you had to go all the way downstairs and turn off the alarm system which was totally against the rules! I woke up Christmas morning around 5am, my excitement never let me see in. I ran out of my room to see the tree, first. A huge bed sheet was hung from the ceiling to the floor that said “Merry Christmas Jazzi!! I hope you weren’t planning on seeing the presents first!! Love, Mom and Dad”. I was shocked, I laughed so hard and layed back in bed until I was allowed to go downstairs with everyone else.

    Merry Christmas!!

  169. Carolina says:

    My fave winter holiday memory is going out to cut down our Christmas tree with my family and my best friend when I was 9 years old. My Dad was busy cutting down the tree while me and my bud were goofing off on top of a dirt hill nearby. Suddenly, I tumbled down the hill in a roar of laughter, causing me to pee right through my pants. And I’m talking 90’s stirrup pants. Of course this made us laugh even harder. And now I laugh even HARDER when I think of how I couldn’t just go clean up because we had taken a canoe ride across a lake to get this tree and would have to take that whole ride back in sticky cold stirrup pants.

  170. My favorite memory from Christmas is that when I was younger, my family would always go to my aunt’s house in Seattle, and it would just be my parents, my sister and I, my aunt, and my grandpa. We would either have a big Christmas turkey dinner or just order Chinese food in, but I will always remember getting to hang out with my grandpa and talking to him about school and laughing and eating pistachios. There were presents too, of course, but that wasn’t the most important part, even as a child. We also always went to the huge Asian market, and bought fortune cookies to munch on later. We would always drive home late, and I would fall asleep in the car while we drove on the freeway in the rain.This tradition went on my whole life, up until when my grandpa passed away.

  171. Kristen Linardos says:

    My favorite holiday memory, besides the magic of opening the presents, is helping my mom in the kitchen the whole week up until Christmas day. She and I would bake cookies, and bread and plan the menu for Christmas dinner. I remember sitting on the counter as a kid and “stirring” (really eating) the cookie batter all while getting coated in flour. And of course, putting sprinkles on the cookies was always my job. We would wear Santa hats and listen to every Christmas CD we had, and when Jingle Bell Rock came on, I would run around the house dancing and singing. It’s what made Christmas special to me. And to this day, now that I’m older, I still enjoy sitting at the kitchen counter while my mom bakes, stealing pieces of whatever she happens to be making. It will always be my favorite Christmas memory.

  172. Laura Gahren says:

    My favorite holiday memory was planning the Christmas meals with my mom. We would find recipes we’ve never done before and spend all day destroying the kitchen. Since our English wasn’t great at that time, most of the recipes turned out to be a disaster! It was such an adventure for us and we would laugh the entire time. The first time we tackled flan making, we ended up with something that consisted more of a cheesecake flan but it turned out to be such a hit we make it every year now!

  173. Natasha says:

    My favorite holiday memory is recreated every year when I fly home to Florida from NYC to spend about a week with my family. I love waking up on Christmas morning to my little brother running to the Christmas tree. It’s amazing to whiteness the true innocence and happiness of Christmas through a child’s eyes. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  174. Jody Docksteader says:

    My fave holiday memory is baking and sharing delicious qouian amans on the skating rink my brother made on the lake in front of my parents’ house. We played a round of shinny and the losers had to gulp down a swig of whiskey while the winners took a time out with the buttery pastries. Afterwards we drilled a hole in the ice and did polar dips between sauna sweat sessions. Every year we try to recreate the magic. This year qouian aman will be replaced with my attempt at cruffins. :)

  175. Natalie B says:

    My favorite holiday memory is opening a gift with my son Christmas Eve night.

  176. Chia says:

    My favorite holiday memory was going to Oahu with my fiance. It was nice to have time away from all the hustle and bustle and get some quiet time in before the wedding.

  177. Madeline says:

    We alternated celebrating christmas between my parents house in PA and my aunt’s house in MA, so every other year we would drive half way up on Christmas Eve night and then finish the trip Christmas morning. My mom, dad, sister and I would read christmas books in the hotel bed, and then when we got back in the car christmas morning to finish the trip, there would always be two huge stockings in the back seat of the car! Opening and playing with the goodies would keep my sis and me occupied for the rest of the trip :D

  178. Eva says:

    My favourite winter holiday memory only happened last year when my Australian family (mum, dad, and sister) suprised me by flying over for the holidays. They wanted to spend my daughters first Christmas with us as a whole family, enjoying some Texas USA Christmas traditions. We had a wonderful day opening presents, eating amazing food, and enjoying the cold(er) weather. Back home in Australia its summer time at Christmas so seafood and the beach is on the agenda for the day. Here we had a fire outside and enjoyed some hot chocolate. Family near and far is what makes the holidays such a very special time of year.

  179. Danielle says:

    I love making cookies with family during Christmas. We make lots of cookies, so much that we end up giving most of them away. It is just so much fun spending time with my family making something so simple as cookies.

  180. Nicole says:

    Everyone always remembers their parent telling them “no” “it’s not safe” or ‘that’s a bad idea” – so my favorite holiday memory involves the time my parents threw caution to the wind. I grew up in suburban NJ, which meant snow, but not a lot. When I was about 10, we had a major snowstorm – there were no cars to be seen and everyone was bundled and tucked away. We had a Blazer with 4 wheel drive. Somehow, and I don’t even remember how it came about, my parents were totally ok with my sister and I attaching a sled to the back of the car, and they dragged us all over the neighborhood for what felt like hours! I can still picture my sister beaming from ear to ear and hear our shrieks of laughter.

  181. Chloe says:

    My family always celebrates christmas multiple times with different parts of the family. This would usually involve driving on Christmas day from celebrations in northern Ohio to our home in Columbus. But every time we got home, the presents were already under the tree, as if Santa had laid them out! As I got older I found out my mother enlisted helpers to do this while we were gone, but it was always fun as a kid.

  182. Sarah says:

    My favorite holiday activity is doing NOTHING! Except sitting in front of a fireplace with a hot mug of coffee or tea and relaxing with the people I love. I am recently engaged and am looking forward to spending holidays for the rest of my life with my fiance. He is so loving and enjoys doing the exact same thing over the holidays. So many fun memories to be made!

  183. Greg Lum says:

    Every year, the plan was to eat at 1:00pm. Usually, someone is late and the adults would still be cooking anyway. And my aunt would come with only half of gifts wrapped, so she would recruit my mom and my other aunt to help her bring things in from the car. It was always a quirky Christmas, but great to be with family!

  184. Corie says:

    I got to go with my husband and our then two babe’s to surprise his sister and her family in Alaska Christmas day.

  185. Michelle T says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when my brothers and I woke up to a ton of Christmas presents under the tree on Christmas Day. We all ran to the tree in our PJ’s and started ripping our presents up as our parents whipped out the camcorder and camera!

  186. COLLEEN GEASEY says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the Christmas Eve dinner. Every year, after a candle-lit Christmas Eve church service we have dinner at a family friend’s house- a tradition that has been going on for most of my life. They are my favorite dinner party partners because they are as interested in the process of cooking and good, interesting food as my family is and every year we share a wonderful meal that is even better than the year before. One year was apricot and plum stuffed pork tenderloin, one year a table-scape of tapas and a beautiful paella that was practically a work of art, one year a decadent seafood lasagna (my favorite). Every year our hosts keep the entree a surprise- the big reveal is just as fun as opening presents on Christmas morning! Even though the entree is always a surprise, the night is filled with many traditions that we strictly uphold every year. Appetizers are always a warm and gooey baked brie with fig jam and a bowl of fresh cherries (which is always a welcome change in the dead of winter). I always bake a batch of cranberry orange scones as a gift for our hosts (which has become a staple of their Christmas morning breakfast). My traditional role in this feast is the dessert- a buche de noel. Making the dessert is one of my favorite parts of this tradition because I love that magical place where food intersects with art- tiny meringue mushrooms dusted with coco powder, making textured faux-tree bark out of chocolate, adorning the plate with pine boughs- the process is just as fun as the final product. (Unfortunately, I had to remove the espresso powder from my recipe because it kept everyone up all night!)
    This is my favorite because the meal is so deeply rooted in family, friends, good food, and tradition (the best things in life!) but there is always something new and different every year to surprise us.

  187. Greta says:

    My favorite holiday memory is decorating the Christmas tree and then making my boyfriend hold my hand as we wrap our arms around the tree and sing Oh Christmas Tree (we just repeat the same lyrics over and over) to it while looking up at the star on top. He acts mad that I make him do it every year but I know he secretely enjoys it.

  188. Kit says:

    When my husband finally got his green card and flew to NY to move in with me on December 23, 2013!

  189. Amber M says:

    So excited to share my favorite holiday memory! One of my favorite memories ever was the year my sister and I came out into the living room Christmas morning then walked into the kitchen to see if Santa had eaten the cookies & drank the milk. We noticed that Santa did indeed eat all the cookies! BUT – to our excitement – Santa also left us a note! It said ‘Go into the garage, there is a present out there for you!’ So my sister and I ran to the garage, saw a box, looked inside and saw a puppy! Both my sister and I were so excited. We played with her all day long, shared the story with all our friends and other family members, and enjoyed 16 amazing years with that puppy.

  190. Kelley says:

    one of my favorite holiday memories is when my family and I had a tour of the REAL A Christmas Story house in Cleveland. We got to see AND touch the real leg lamp. We also met the mean elf actress in person! I’ll never forget it.

  191. Mary says:

    My favorite winter memory is making gingerbread houses with my mom…she would make miniature, kid-sized ones with us and then we would go nuts decorating them with all sorts of candy! Sometimes we made enough for a miniature village of houses. :-) So much fun! It’s especially meaningful since we really weren’t allowed sweets as a kid, but all of a sudden there were loads of every kind!

  192. Marissa Perales says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when we would make reindeer food! On christmas eve no matter where we were (military), my mom would get a bag and fill it with oats and glitter and shake it to mix it up. She would tell us that the reindeer could see the glitter from the sky and that’s how they would find our house! We would then throw it on the pavement, or make a trail from the mailbox down our driveway. Of course when we got older we would just give our mom the “really, are we still doing this” look, but now this is something I can’t wait to do with my future children:)

  193. Trish says:

    My favourite memory from Christmas?
    Would have to be the last Christmas I spent with my dad before he passed away and after our mum left the family home :-)
    I was 10 and our Dad, although kind, beautiful and loving (bless his soul) had no idea about wrapping presents! So all our presents that year were wrapped in a mix of fabric, newspaper and and electrical tape, and proudly placed beneath our sparsely decorated tree :-)
    I have one photo of my sister and I standing happily next to our tree and in the back ground, you can see those gifts. That year, my daddy bought me my first camera, a little brownie that I took to school camps for many, many years. I still smile with that memory so thank you for again bringing it to mind x

  194. nima koliwad says:

    My favorite holiday memory is my daughter’s 1st christmas in 2005. She was 8 months old and we were lucky to have both sets of grandparents around from India for the holidays. This was the last time we were all together. My daughter was showered was showered with so much love that day. And of all her presents she loved the big box her grandma pulled out of the garage to store all the saved wrapping paper from the day. Every time I bring that box out my eyes well up remembering the fond memories of the day!

  195. Alexandra robertson says:

    I fell in an ice fishing hole!! It was hilarious looking back, but I remember being scared.

  196. Christmas dinner! My family gets together to spend an entire day playing board games, hiking, cooking and enjoying the lovely dinner we would’ve cooked. It’s always nice to spend time with family! These memories will last forever. ?

  197. Diana Ngo says:

    My favorite holiday memory is quite recent within the last few years. My then boyfriend/fiancé/now hubby have created our own Christmas tradition. We would spend Xmas eve with his family and on Christmas morning I would make us a wonderful breakfast and then we would open up our gifts.

    Him and I never had Christmas stockings as a kid so I started this tradition with Us few years ago. We would fill each other’s stockings with little gifts whether they were homemade or bought. It’s so exciting to see his face light up when he opens up his little stocking gifts. It’s the best feeling knowing that you put your heart and soul into the tiny gifts you’ve made or bought. It’s been such a great 5 years of us doing this together. Now that we have a lil baby, I can’t wait to start this tradition with him.

  198. Sarah Swift says:

    Our friendly chimney sweeper came every year to get our fireplace ready for action. The December I was six, he retrieved a patch of red felt from the chimney. I treasured that proof of Santa, and tucked it away in my stocking. It still makes me hopeful and jolly.

  199. Hillary R says:

    I think my favorite thing about Christmastime was shopping for the tree with my Dad, who wanted spectacular height and width. Once we drove far away and stopped at a lodge for hot cider. It’s a feeling I try to recreate for my son every year, not to mention my favorite way to remember my Dad!

  200. Flannery says:

    I’m going to go with a recent holiday memory. For the last couple of years, I’ve bought crackers for Christmas dinner that included sheet music and whistles. Each person gets a whistle and the conductor helps coordinate some hilarious renditions of Christmas carols and other classic songs. We usually do this after plenty of food and wine. Here is the kind I bought last year:

  201. Sam says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is opening presents as the smell of gooey caramel pecan monkey bread filled the house…and then it was quickly devoured with the oranges from our stockings.

  202. kim says:

    Going to my aunt Marys house. Ohhh she made homemade noodles and rolls. Most of the adults were sauced and laughing and telling inappropriate jokes. The night always ended with Mary on the organ with a dangling cigarette!

  203. alicia szemon says:

    my favorite holiday memory is when we got my grandma a wii and she was so happy so cried!

  204. Thalia says:

    My favourite holiday memories are the ones when the whole family (extended and all) got together. For the past few years Christmas has been a lovely few days of hanging out with my cousins, playing board games and finishing the giant christmas crossword before being woken up at the crack of dawn by our youngest cousins to open up presents. The best part is the fresh croissants that we bake to go along with it!

  205. Kiera says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my family goes to chop the Christmas tree down every year. The Saturday morning after Thanksgiving we all drive to a little tree farm, argue over which tree is calling our name, and then cut one down. We spend the entire rest of the day decorating the tree while the grinch movies play in the background. Such a festive little tradition that I’ll never forget!

  206. Kristen R. says:

    I’m not sure what year this happened, but I was just old enough to start doubting Santa existed, but my little sister (three years younger) was still very much a believer, so it was always more fun to play along, putting out milk and cookies for Santa, making sure we got to bed on time, etc. I want to say 8 or 9 years old. My doubting questioning nature was thoroughly challenged when my parents woke us up bright an early to come downstairs. A little background – my dad is very organized and clean; the house was always kept very nice and orderly and was full of antiques since I was small, so we were always careful. Well, imagine our surprise to find the fireplace grate knocked over, the mantle and all its knick knacks a mess, and tracks of soot across our living room floor to the tree and the plate of cookies, the milk drained and crumbs all over. We talked about what a mess Santa made for years to come, and I can still remember how proud of himself my Dad was (and still is) about the convincing scene he created. I will always remember that as the year I kept believing a little longer.

  207. Amanda Murray says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from when my daughter was 3 years old. I had a little extra time when she was at her grandmas so I hung the stockings on the chimney and when she came home she was so excited she could barely stand it. She had a little bit of a speech delay so I couldn’t understand her at first but when I calmed her down I said “Layla what has got you so excited?” She said “Santa mom SANTA!! He put the stockings on the chimney!!” And I realized she thought he came and brought them to her, so I went with it of course. And she squealed and laughed and was the happiest I’ve ever seen anyone over a stocking. It was the most precious thing. She said “Santas going to bring me Cannndyyyy!!” That’s all she wanted for Christmas that year.. A stocking full of candy! HAHA being lucky enough to spend the holidays with the little ones in my family has made each holiday so much brighter. ❤️❤️

  208. Kellie A says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking sugar almond crescent cookies with my Godmother when I was little. Getting the dough everywhere and the powdered sugar sprinkling over everything like sweet snow.

  209. Shannon Senne says:

    My favorite holiday memory/memories were driving down to Tampa every Christmas to see family and go to the beach and do summer type things! It still felt like the holidays even though we were in warm weather.

  210. Malisa Durongphant says:

    My favorite memory was when I was with my nanny’s family for christmas. They treat me like I’m theirs. They had a Christmas party and while everyone else got presents the grandfather felt bad for me and gave me all the money he had in his pocket that christmas. It was the money that I remembered, it was the fact that he felt bad for me and wanted me to feel like I was one of theirs.

  211. Cynthia Kwok says:

    Coming from a Chinese family where both parents never adopted the American traditions made me one that longs to feel whatThhanksgiving or Christmas is like. Growing up, Thanksgiving meant ramen or left overs because nothing would be open and Christmas meant wait till Chinese New Year or a gift that was randomly given at an earlier date. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are great, loving, caring but just not ones that adopted the American traditions. As I got older, my mentor from high school that I’ve kept in contact with has adopted me into her family traditions. In the past during this time I become numb and ‘a grinch’ during the holidays.But since she has adopted me to her family traditions I begin to understand the meaning of holidays. I look forward to the Christmas celebration of all the delicious homemade yumminess. The multiple home-made pies that are made. Cheese balls covered with almonds and of course the ham, the prime rib, the whatever goodness that will be at the center. Now as I begin to explore the culinary world, I too want to help my parents understand and experience these holiday traditions. Having the mixer or anything else would be a good excuse to get them started on building our holiday memories. It’s never too late!

  212. Kaela K says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is decorating the tree with homemade popcorn garlands!

  213. Elisabeth says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is decorating the house for Christmas. I get so nostalgic around this time of year and its so much fun pulling down our boxes of decorations, remembering where we were in our lives when we got that specific piece, and reflecting on how much has changed (or stayed the same!)

  214. Nelly says:

    Every year since I could remember, finding a present for my Dad at Christmas was the most difficult. He was a frugal man who loved sunflower seeds and moon cakes. He couldn’t imagine going anywhere but McDonalds for 99 cent coffee. We approached 2011 and I had just married in Nov when my father, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Eating and cooking was what he enjoyed but fell weak and he could do neither. I remember he would make my favorite vegetarian dish at Chinese New Year full of woods ear, mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, tofu and veges. My most memorable holiday memory albeit sad one, was my last Christmas with my Dad. After all the years of getting him clothes he hardly wore, coffee mugs he probably only used once and electronics appliances that he didn’t need, I finally gave him what he really loved. He was too weak to get out of bed, I fed him blueberries and I assembled pictures of our family and sat in the bed and we laughed and talked and hugged. He passed away 3 months later. I would love to win this getaway so I can make all the wonderful dishes my Dad use to make me so I can pass them on to my family. Thank you for letting me share my story.

  215. grace says:

    i always loved making sugar cookies with my mom and brothers. they were thick and cakey, and we made colored frosting for them too. looking back, it was one of my favorite family times. :)

  216. Malisa Durongphant says:

    It wasn’t * the money I felt was special, it was the act – that he wanted me to feel like one of them, and not left out.

    P.s. I was about 5 or so

  217. Ellie says:

    I love singing Christmas songs as a family when my uncle plays the guitar

  218. eve says:

    Growing up, my family did not make a big deal out of Christmas. I only remember plugging in the tree and watching the bubbles flow on the built on lights. Oh, and spraying fake snow onto the fake tree.

  219. Tracy says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my daughters make cinnamon rolls the night before so my husband and I wake up to the amazing smell of them baking Christmas morning

  220. Danny says:

    I treasure the tradition of making waffles together for breakfast every Christmas Eve

  221. Bethany says:

    My most vivid (not sure it counts as a favorite) holiday memory is the Christmas when my older sister spoiled Santa for me. She knocked on my door late Christmas Eve and we snuck out to the top of the staircase and spied on my parents putting the presents under the tree. I don’t remember being all that upset– just a little confused by the ruse, I suppose!

  222. Ashley says:

    The entire season is about family and friends. Magic and wonder. Old traditions and discovering new ones. But, my favorite thing is the day after Thanksgiving- getting our Christmas tree, taking out the decorations and just that anticipation of the start of something. It’s the best- it was when I was a kid and it is now, as an adult and mom.

  223. Darcy Kickey says:

    One year, my siblings (sister and brother) and I asked for a Nintendo for Christmas. We all asked for it from Santa. During the day, we were home alone. Me, being the oldest decided to search for the Nintendo. I must have been around 15. So, I searched and searched and searched. Finally, I see it. A box. Wrapped. Hidden under sheets at the top of my parents’ closet. I must have debated about one second before getting the step stool, climbing to the top and retrieving the box. I brought it down the floor and screamed for my sister and brother. They came running. We sat, surrounding the box. I finally made the decision to carefully unwrap the box, just enough to see if it was our new Nintendo. I opened just the end, but I couldn’t tell. So, I opened it a little more, then more. Until, there is was. It was our Nintendo. Yay! We jumped and screamed with excitement. Shortly after, I realized that the gift was now unwrapped and none of us really knew how to wrap gifts. Horror. So, I did my best to follow the creases and return the re-wrapped gift to its hiding place. I think our parents realized what has happened later that same day. We got in so much trouble. We were grounded from the Nintendo before we ever got to open it at Christmas.

  224. Amanda says:

    We used to sneak out of our room to look at our stockings at like 3 or 4am. We’d sneak them back to our room being careful to hold the bell on my sister’s stocking still so it wouldn’t ring and give us away and then we’d look at everything, have 1-2 pieces of candy and then put it all back in the stocking and sneak it back. Then when the first light showed in the sky, we’d wake everyone up and go through it all again!

  225. Renee says:

    Every winter holiday is typically the same, where my family goes to my aunt’s house to have dinner together and then exchange gifts. One of the few times it was different was when my sister and I traveled across the state to another aunt’s house by car, with the aunt’s family that I first mentioned–it took a couple days. Needless to say, that trip was full of awkward sleeping positions, sketchy rest stops, quick fast food funs, but it was nice to bond with my cousins. Namely, I watched my first Korean drama ever (shout out to Full House) and from there on began my Kdrama addiction…

    As for the holiday itself that year, I don’t actually remember much, but ‘since I have a million cousins down there, I spent a lot of time playing board games with them, and I swear, every second someone would accuse someone else of cheating. It was fun, and now our family has a tradition of calling each other cheaters, but I’m glad I got to spend one Christmas differently.

  226. Katrina says:

    Fav memory?! There are so many!! Let’s go with last year though – my husband’s parents dog peed on the Christmas tree. It was so flipping funny!!

  227. Hahaha, I’m pretty sure I did something similar as a child, although mine was with gummy bears, not chocolate. As for a favorite holiday memory… I always liked giving more than receiving, even as a kid (I mean, I loved getting gifts, don’t get me wrong, but I LOVE loved coming up with / making / wrapping / getting to see the look on other people’s faces when I gave them things). One year my older brother had this fancy decorative sward that I thought was the coolest thing ever, so I decided to make a fancy decorative sheath for it using the cardboard tube from an empty roll of wrapping paper (okay, I was like, five, I thought it was a good idea). So I cut one end to a point, smooshed it down, taped the pointed end, and then painted it black with gold stars all over it like the night sky. I was so. freaking. proud of this thing. Then I wrapped it and put it under the tree, and I’m pretty sure my brother knew the whole time what it was because I was terrible at keeping anything a secret, but I remember bouncing up and down with excitement on Christmas day because I couldn’t wait for him to open it. He was a very sweet older brother and acted very surprised and appreciative of the gift, but that excitement I had just to give it to him is pretty much the ONLY thing I remember from that year, and to this day it makes me smile just to think of it. :)

  228. Shawn says:

    My favorite holiday memory is getting home from college right after the first semester Freshman year. I had just finished driving the 10 someodd hours home and when I entered the house, my whole extended family was in the kitchen cooking. I was completely taken aback and elated to see everyone after being gone so long. That surprise has held up over the years and I look back on it fondly.

  229. Allison says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is making potato latkes and baking up a storm with my mother and grandmother…and then eating and opening presents with my extended family. We always played games and had loads of fun together. We have extended those same traditions into the next generation. This year, I had the pleasure of making potato latkes and baking up a storm with my daughters and loads of cousins. Being with family, laughing, giving gifts, cooking and baking fill me with so much pleasure and gratitude!

  230. Tiffany says:

    my favorite is decorating christmas cookies!

  231. Chloe says:

    My little sisters and I used to always make “reindeer food” out of cereal and glitter and sprinkle it on our lawn when we were younger.

  232. TLC says:

    The Christmas my step father dropped a box of decorations through the attic floor into the living room! :)

  233. Nikki says:

    When I was a kid, probably close to 12 or 13, we went to my grandmothers house as we did every year. This year was the year that all of the grandchildren were born and present. My grandmother was number 3 of 4 girls, she had 3 girls of her own. I was born to the oldest who had one child (me, a girl,) my aunt who was the second born had 2 children (both girls,) and my aunt who was the third born had 3 children (all girls!) My grandfather stood no chance, bless his heart.
    Anyway, that made a total of 14 people in attendance for Christmas. My grandmother was a fantastic cook but when she and my grandfather built their house she didn’t want to cook much. So in a three story home, the kitchen was about 10’X10, had 3 sets of cabinets for all of her canned goods as well as plates and pots and pans, and only TWO droors! She cooked up a storm every Christmas in that kitchen and out of it came mimosa’s in the morning, breakfast country ham sandwiches and sausage balls to tide us until lunch.
    Once everyone had given hugs, taken off coats, set the presents under the tree, and had their morning snack, the mayhem began. Now you might think there would be a limited number of presents under the tree. We certainly weren’t a wealthy family. Each kid had one of course, but no. Christmas was my grandmothers favorite time of year and she shopped all year long putting presents back in closets and nooks and crannies so we wouldn’t find them. EVERYONE had a minimum of three presents and the kids had more of course because she adored her grandchildren. So there was a tree stuck up against a beautiful bay window and the presents spilled out into the middle of the living room. Everyone would take a seat in whatever spot they could find. The grandchildren would sit by their parents on the floor.
    I was the oldest grandchild and got to play Santa handing out all of the gifts. This usually took some time because of how many presents were under the tree and they were never grouped by family. Plus we unpacked our full stockings first. Someone would say go! and the paper would fly. Every time someone opened a gift you would hear them yell “oh my gosh I love this, thank you!” then there would be kids yelling, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” until acknowledged then whoever it was would show their parents what they got. My grandparents would just laugh and laugh. Dads would take pictures, mom’s would try to keep their families stuff all together and then after it was all over and everyone was in a joy induced euphoria, my grandfather would come through with a trash bag and we would pick up the aftermath of wrapping paper.
    Next came lunch. Lunch consisted of a giant turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, home made macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, rolls and more rolls, cornbread dressing (From the south so you know that recipe has been around for generations!) Then for dessert that would be chocolate pie, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and I can’t remember what all kind of cookies. Everyone would sit at the table with my grandparents at either end and my uncle would usually say the blessing. Then the room became very quiet. There is something about living in a southern family where we can be the loudest bunch for blocks but when you put food in front of us, we savor every bite. The kids table where I thankfully didn’t ever have to sit because I was so much older than the rest would always start making noise first. They’d finish then start giggling until they couldn’t be contained anymore. They’d get to pick one toy and go play with it somewhere in the house. The adults table would remain and slowly everyone would eat way too much and my dad would make a “time out” sign with his arms like they do in football and then one uncle would drink one more drink and then another uncle would just sit back and sigh a huge sigh. My grandmother was always the last to finish and we would all sit and wait for her. Then there would be the richest conversations take place. I always just sat and listened. I wasn’t really an adult so they didn’t ask me questions. But I’d listen to people say how their jobs were, or how my cousins were doing in school. Everyone was supportive and loving. It was the most warm and joyful time of my life.
    In my family the men (minus my grandfather of course) would clear the table and my uncle would always help my mom and my aunts with the dishes. Then the fathers would help put together a complicated toy or gadget and then retire downstairs to watch a game and nap. My mother and her sisters would tell stories of their growing up and they would laugh until someone pee’d their pants. The remaining hours of the day would be spent quietly talking and playing, drinking wine (adults) and eating dessert as we got hungry (usually the kids.) Then about 5:30 or 6:00 pm we would all go home. My grandparents would turn on the christmas lights on their house and along with the tree in the window it was always the best sight to see.
    I had a really great childhood and that is my favorite Christmas memory.

  234. Amanda says:

    Gosh, so many great holiday memories to choose from. One that comes to mind is Christmas 2012 when my family and boyfriend went to Kauai for Christmas. My birthday is on the 22nd, so we did a helicopter ride around the island as my big bday gift (it was amazing. If you’re ever there, definitely worth the $$$). The next night my wonderful boyfriend took us all out for a fancy fish dinner right on the ocean, and then afterwards took me on a beach walk and proposed! The next day was Christmas eve which I think we spent kayaking and me trying desperately not to drop my new ring into the river. We bbq’d and ate rice and poke for Christmas dinner that year with lots of champagne and birthday cake. Such an amazing trip. And now we’ve been married 2 years! This year we’re all going to New Zealand together, and I’m looking forward to making more Christmas memories. Thanks for letting us share these moments with you! I totally had those advent calendars growing up too. :]

  235. Ashley says:

    My favorite Holiday memory is from the Christmas of 2000 (I was 10). We had just moved into a new house and gotten everything settled on Christmas Eve! I remember getting our (my sisters and I) bedrooms set up, the Christmas tree put up and hanging all of the festive decorations. It was a crazy day but my family worked together and by the time we went to bed, the house was ready for Christmas morning guests and for Santa! We have a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve night but my parents told us that since the day had been so crazy that we were just going to spend time together that evening and not open any presents. We had a fire going and I remember I was dropping marshmallows in my hot chocolate when the doorbell rang. My sisters and I looked up at our parents questioningly and they told us to go see who was at the door. We opened the door and there was a puppy in a box! It was the sweetest little poodle mix and it was wearing a collar with a bow and bells. We were all so surprised! We named her Bella and she was our family dog until she passed several years ago. We spent the rest of the night playing with her. The next morning we woke up and our whole family came over for Christmas breakfast. We were so excited for everyone to meet Bella and to spend that time with our family.

    I’m getting married in March and every year I tell that story to my fiance. I can’t wait to make these same kinds of memories with our (future) children. The Holidays are such a wonderful time and some of the best memories I have :)

  236. Tania says:

    My avorite winter memory was watching my three-year-old sister open her presents on Christmas morning!
    She was SO happy and totally enchanted with the idea of Santa!

  237. Sarah says:

    My favorite holiday memory is an old tradition my sibilings and I would do, every Christmas morning… and I mean EARLY morning. We would set an alarm around 2/3 am, well after Santa was supposed to come and then sneak downstairs with flashlights to look at all the presents! We would never touch anything but loved guessing what was inside all the boxes. Our parents truly loved us because then we would wake them up at 6am and get to open the presents after my dad made the coffee! Now that we are all older, (there are 5 of us total! the youngest is now 15), we have stopped waking up in the middle of the night but STILL get up early (7am) to open all the presents :)

  238. Emilie Ritchie says:

    My brother and I would always go through our stockings early on Christmas Day, before everyone else got up. The deal was whichever one of us woke up first, we would go wake the other. We would go into my room, unpack or stocking then replace everything and go back to bed. My mom could never understand why we were not very interested in opening our stocking.

  239. Pam says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when we all sit down for Christmas dinner. My mom always makes the best cha su pork, butternut squash soup, milk bread, and mashed potatoes. It’s the best combination of both the American and Chinese sides of my home. We always end up having such a fun time just talking and eating for hours, joking with each other (my family is pretty large). We would usually then retreat out of the dining room to play mahjong and sing karaoke to finish the night. It’s really entertaining to watch everyone make a fool of themselves in front of the television or get super mad when they lose as we play mahjong. Oh, I forgot another important part: we always drink the best tea (most of the time it’s pu er) after dinner. It really helps the food settle down! Anyhow, I hope that this year can be similar, though my dad can’t spend it with us. Even though my family isn’t complete this year, I hope we can still raise the roof like we always do :)

  240. Jackie says:

    My favorite Holiday Memory is from when I was 12. I have always relished discovering the hidden cache of Christmas gifts. My parents after several years figured out that I had the uncanny ability to discover their hiding places. I’d go from room to room over several days exploring every closet, cubby, crawl space and box I could find. This year after removing every room in the house from possible hiding spaces except the closet in my father’s office I was becoming antsy. My parents must have realized that I had located their hiding spot due to my obvious covetous glances, and with only two days left until Christmas and all of us kids home from school realized that they had no option but to guard this room from the time I awoke until the time I was fast asleep. This was a truly unfortunate time to be me. My dream of ruining Christmas was only half fulfilled, I knew where the gifts were, just not what they were. The anticipation was killing me. Which as it turns out was a benefit as it allowed me to wake up at three in the morning and creep past my ever vigilant parents’ bedroom and down the stairs to my father’s office. The absolute glee I felt upon opening that closet door and seeing the gifts made it the best Christmas. I’ll never forget the first gift I saw , a green Furby.

  241. Kathy Liu says:

    Every year I go to my grandparents’ house in Southern Illinois. Their area is so peaceful and different from the noisy city and I am always so excited to go there every year. Usually, I’ll get my white christmas and a quintessential American Christmas Day. Also, I’m used to having younger cousin who are so much more excited than I am and it is such a joy to watch them open presents and be amazed!

    Really… my favorite part of the year!

  242. Lydia says:

    my first white xmas in america!

  243. Kristina M says:

    Three years ago, my boyfriend surprised me and came home for Christmas break. He had been living abroad for 6 months and I hadn’t expected to see him for another 3 months. Best Christmas present ever!

  244. Rei says:

    My favorite holiday memory is watching fireworks in the Philippines when I was 15 on New Years

  245. Jen says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from a few years ago, the first Christmas where I was in charge of cooking my family’s Christmas dinner after so many years of my mom doing the cooking for us. It felt really nice to be able to give her a break and experience the joy of putting together a special holiday meal for the most important loved ones in my life! It was a little daunting because I made a huge prime rib roast, but it came out awesome and was just a nice family milestone – being able to give back to my mom! I’m looking forward to more Christmas dinners, especially ones where we can both share the love through our cooking. :)

  246. Whitney Y says:

    My favorite holiday moments are during our big family/extended family Christmas every year in Alaska. We have Christmas dinner around 3pm and then gather around the tree and pass out presents. We don’t get to see each other often these days, but we can at least get together on Christmas day for food, gifts, and catching up.

  247. Evana says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is when we had a white x’mas one year. I live in Dallas and white x’mas’s don’t happen often. I wished for a white x’mas that year and it just happened to snow on x’mas eve when i was at a friend’s x’mas party. We all got out of the house and started playing in the snow. It was a fun party & great x’mas :)

  248. Chanel says:

    Growing up, I had a single mom that made every Christmas as special as she could with the little that we had. My brother and I always had gifts under our tree although it was not the gifts that we really wanted. One Christmas this all changed. My favorite holiday memory was when I was 10 years old waking up on Christmas morning to a colorful blinking white tree, the smell of banana pancakes and bacon and tons of newly wrapped presents under the tree. There were only a couple of gifts when my brother and I drifted off to sleep in anticipation so this was a shock. As I opened present after present in excitement, I quickly realized that I was having a BARBIE CHRISTMAS! My mother had purchased multiple different Barbie proffessionals, her friends, her sister Kelly, and even Ken. I had the Barbie camper van, Barbie’s dreamhouse and a her red corvet. I even had the Barbie car that I could drive! My mother passed away a few months later, this was the best Christmas Ever!

  249. Miya says:

    I studied abroad for a year in college so it was my first Christmas away from home. As the holidays approached things were a bit sad. Then I was invited to stay in Heidelberg with an elderly woman. She and her family were incredibly warm and welcoming. We visited the Christmas market, attended Handel’s Messiah at a cathedral and decorated her tree with candle holders. It’s shocking that we used real candles but the tree was so lovely when we lit them each night. I can still taste the Weihnachtskuchen that we baked together.

  250. Kimberly Sailstad says:

    I was just talking about this with my Mom on our weekly phone call… She’s making gingerbread men cookies this morning.. One year, we were in the kitchen doing the same thing. We cut, re-rolled the scraps, cut more little men out, re-rerolled the scraps, cut again…. We laughed because that dough seemed to never end, and we ended up spending hours in the kitchen – until the wee hours of the morning. Cutting, rerolling, cutting, laughing hysterically like you do when you’re punchy tired. Super great memory for us.

  251. Jenny says:

    Mine would have to be eating my mother’s famous holiday strata before opening presents at my grandparents’ house on Christmas morning. My sister and I almost couldn’t wait to start tearing into our gifts, but that once-a-year treat was so good it was enough to keep us at the table!

  252. Alana C. says:

    my favorite holiday memory has to be going to pick out our family Christmas tree with my father, it’s a memory of a tradition we did every year but I always loved that it was just me and him, especially since I come from a family with 3 brothers

  253. Kelsey says:

    Favorite holiday memory – after we open gifts, and go for a dogwalk (with my 2 basset hounds and my parent’s lab) we make an epic eggs benedict. Everyone helps out so everything comes out ready – I do the hollandaise, my dad poaches the eggs, my mom and sister heat up the ham and toast the english muffins. It’s so wonderful. The dogs may or may not get to lick a plate or two once we’re finished….love your blog! Happy Holidays!!!!

  254. Cat says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when my family is all together. WE would open presents, bake cookies, and watch movies together!

  255. Laura says:

    Growing up, Christmas was crazy busy for our family. So in order to get some special family time in, my mom let us all play hooky from school and go Christmas shopping. We still carry on this tradition today and it is one of my all time favorites. And tomorrow is actually the day we get to do this!!!

  256. Angie says:

    We didn’t have alot growing up , my mom was a single parent , still new to this country and she worked alot sometimes 2 jobs to provide for me and my brother and she was paying for us to go to private school , I don’t know how she did it . We didn’t expect much for Christmas especially since me and my brother searched the entire house the month of December for any gifts she may have been hiding , we checked every where and nothing. So fast forward to Christmas morning our Christmas tree was surrounded by soo many gifts, she bought us bikes! I still Rembert mine to this day , it was a pink bmx bike and my brothers was red .. we were soooo happy , I don’t really remember what else was under the tree except for this chalk board with a box of colored chalks to go with it .. I loved that board . My brother and I swore it was a Christmas miracle lol.. the real miracle is my mom , I still don’t know how she pulled it off ..

  257. laura says:

    every winter my family used to ship off to bonaire for scuba diving and relaxing fam time. one year i must have been 12, and we managed to get our hands on a huge box of fireworks. the house we stayed in had a big patio on the water so we thought we could set them all off back there. unfortunately it was a super windy night and all of us were terrified to light the fireworks because it meant sitting near the fuse and making sure it stayed lit until it went off. the only one brave enough was my grandfather! i’ll never shake the memory of him shuffling back and forth on the patio tiles with a big prayer candle (our best bet for lighting the fireworks) and all of us screaming at him to run away before the explosions.

  258. Jessica says:

    My favorite holiday memory is my family’s “Jewish” Christmas Eve. We go to PF Chang’s for Chinese food and then a movie fueled with tons of popcorn. It’s the silly way we celebrate the holidays, but it works for us and keeps us all connected!

  259. will says:

    I remember the first time I baked sugar cookies with my family. I have the scent of the cookie dough on my mind whenever this time of year comes around. Rolling out the dough on the kitchen table and making the difficult decisions about the right cookie cutters to use (Rudolph or Santa?), then eating the scraps when my mom wasn’t looking even though she cautioned me about getting salmonella. Good Times!

  260. morgan says:

    I remember being about 4 and making snow angels in the yard with my brother in the winter. Then coming in to have my mother take my snow boots off and sitting by the fireplace to thaw out!

  261. Janice says:

    ….ice skating on my frozen ABOVE GROUND pool when I was a kid in the 60s!

  262. Carrie says:

    It’s a tie between our annual surf-and-turf Christmas Eve dinner and the crazy, loud gift exchange in my granny’s too-small-to-fit-the-30-plus-people house.

  263. Rachel Owh says:

    My favorite holiday memory is watching my mom make batches of banana bread for all of my school teachers. She always baked them perfectly and wrapped them to gift to to teachers, relatives, and family friends. We always knew that time of the year was here when we could smell the sweet banana fragrance throughout the house.

  264. Madeleine says:

    My favorite memory would be the Christmas Eve gathering my parents had every year. Our house would be filled with over 100 guests all happy together in a beautifully decorated Victorian house eating and drinking and being merry!

  265. Angelina says:

    My fave holiday memory is coming downstairs with my Xmas PJs and waking everyone in the house up to gather around the tree! We just sit there for a bit, chatting and taking in how nice everything looks and how lucky we are before diving into presents.

  266. Jessica Fu says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories was at Disneyland! Our family grew up going away every year for Christmas. It was usually back to visit our grandparents or to Disneyland. After hours upon hours at the park, our family was tired and ready to head back to the hotel. On our way out we managed to find a spot in front of the castle to watch the fireworks! After an impressive display (Disney sure knows how to put on a show!) we along with hundreds of other people were eager to get to the shuttles. People were hurriedly pushing past us to get out of the park and then the music played. Like out of a movie everyone stopped on Main Street and waited listening to the music. Then it came…the fake snow! Everywhere you turned you suddenly saw people laughing and trying to catch the fake snow. It only lasted maybe 10 minutes but for those 10 minutes everyone forgot the chaos that is Disneyland sometimes and stopped to enjoy some snow!

  267. Janelle says:

    When I was 7, we moved into a new house in a new city just 4 days before Christmas. I remember waking up on Christmas morning and bring so surprised (and relieved) that Santa was able to find our new home and bring us our goodies!

  268. Blair says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the first time I went to Colorado with my SO. We took a hike on Christmas afternoon into the hills (mountains) around his parents’ house and when we reached the crest of a hill I turned around and was blown away by a breathtaking view of Pike’s Peak and the Rockies. I just stood there and cried, it was the most magnificent vista I’ve ever seen.

  269. Sonja says:

    My favorite holiday memory has to be the Christmas I got engaged to my best friend in Costa Rica! My boyfriend’s (now husband) parents moved to Costa Rica to be near his brother and we flew out to see their new dwellings. It was incredible, the amazing people of Costa Rica, the food, the scenery. We were having the time of our lives. On Christmas Day after opening our gifts we started picking up the wrapping paper Ben called me over and said he had one last gift, surrounded by our family he told me how much he loved our life together and he asked me to be his wife. I accepted and then we set out to make the best, most collaborative meal with our new friends we had met there. Everyone who came to dinner was from a different country and brought something to the table that was important to them. We had traditional dishes from Costa Rica, Italy, Argentina, and the United States, it was incredible and something I’ll never forget! Best Christmas ever!

  270. Becky P says:

    It’s always the same memory–after we get up obscenely early to open gifts (even now my sister will rouse us all at about 6 AM, when every other day of the year you can’t get her up before 10 on weekends) there’s a gentle lull as we bask in the glow of the lights on the tree, our morning fire snapping away, and Christmas music playing as we all read our new books or open packages of trinkets to examine more closely. Then, of course, a nap before a cinnamon roll breakfast. Cozy to the core.

  271. Doris says:

    My fave holiday memories have always been whenever we were all together as a family.

  272. valerie says:

    my favorite holiday memory is from last year when I told my parents that I was pregnant. I have a small family of 4 (parent and little sis) and the rest of my extended family lives out of the country and cannot afford to travel. So as a tiny close knit family of 4, adding one more to the group was a huge deal! My husband and I surprised my parents by making them open presents at the same time. One was a kids book and the other was a pair of baby shoes in the shape of tennis balls (dad plays tennis). The reaction of my parents and the tears to follow were incredibly memorable. After the big surprise my mom spent the next hour calling relatives and crying from excitement. This will always be one of my favorite memories :-)

  273. Jessica says:

    My brothers and I would all sleep in the same room and then wake up early (suuuuper early) on Christmas morning. In order to preserve some sleep for my parents, we were allowed to open our stockings, which had snacks (usually both an orange and a chocolate orange) and toys (usually a tiny Lego kit and other small things), and play and talk and be excited for a few hours in the early morning. It was such a magical, in-between time, just for us kids.

  274. Ah, such a good giveaway!!! My favorite holiday memory is really a mishmash of all the past Christmases before my dad passed away. For starters, my dad always said “we’re not getting a real tree this year.” and then my sister and I would whine and complain until we went to the tree farm to hunt down a real tree, which my dad meticulously draped in tinsel. Xmas morning, my sister and I would wake up running around the house like maniacs yelling “santa came!!!” and then my parents would slowly drag out the morning… having us bring them coffee, feed the pets, etc… driving us crazy. Finally we got to open presents, then we’d all OOOH and AAAH no matter what the gift was, even for the socks and slippers. Then, my dad would make his butterscotch pecan rolls with cream cheese frosting. After my sister and I moved out, we still carried on the exact same Christmas tradition. Dad would say we weren’t getting a real tree, then we’d say we weren’t coming home for Christmas unless they did. We did the running around like maniacs, the slow moving parents, the oohs and aahs and butterscotch rolls. It was really magical!!

  275. Nicki VanDyke says:

    My favorite holiday memories are of my Mum making all kinds of fudge and candies to give away to our neighbours and friends. Making sweet treats during the holidays is still one of my favorite things to do.

  276. Lexi says:

    My favorite holiday memory, or should I say tradition, is a thing my family likes to call candy deal. My entire family gets together in a circle and has a candy trade. Yes, we are all adults, but it makes everything so much more interesting. It started as an innocent passing out of simple candies and then offering others to trade what you don’t want anymore. Over the years, since we have become older, there is now essentials included. We pass out tooth brushes, travel tissues, chips, snack packs, and of course there is still loads of candy. We fill up an entire grocery bag with these goodies, and then fight over who trades with who for what. Then we end the deal picking envelopes with about 10+ scratch off tickets, and scratch them off. It’s some of the most enjoyable times that I have had with my family over the years!

  277. Kristina says:

    Favorite holiday memory — every year my siblings and I do an ornament “draft.” We take out all of the ornaments (a very eclectic assortment) and lay them out and pick one by one until we’ve chosen them all. Then we decorate our individual sides of the tree.

  278. Kaitlyn McAlarney says:

    My favorite Christmas memories always involved my little brother, but one year when I was I believe eight and he was five always stands out. We went to see Santa as we did every year and told him what we wanted for Christmas. I told him I wanted glow in the dark Barbie shoes (because really, what ’90s baby doesn’t want something for their Barbie?) and my little brother asked for Cinderella’s castle. I remember wondering why that was what he wanted, looking back on it he may have wanted to go to Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld. Christmas morning came and “Santa” brought me probably 100 pairs of Barbie shoes and glow in the dark paint so I could decorate them all myself. And my little brother got the most awesome Cinderella’s castle ever. It was all Polly Pocket sized, but it had all of the characters, Cinderella in rags and a ball gown, and a pumpkin was built into the wall that then opened up and had the carriage behind it. The entire castle opened to reveal a dance floor, and on the back side there was a smaller house with Cinderella’s kitchen. We both played with it for hours, and my little brother is still better at picking out gifts than I am.

  279. Molly says:

    While I have lots of fun childhood holiday memories, it’s the adult ones that I really cherish! Particularly the first year I hosted Christmas for all my friends. I made myself frantic trying to collect things for everyone’s stockings, make the perfect dinner/breakfast/snack platter/drink bar, find cozy linens and set up beds, and get the best playlist ready for board game night. I even made homemade eggnog. I was exhausted and frazzled by the time everyone arrived! But the memories of delicious food and happy friends was enough to make me do it year after year- I love the looks on everyone’s faces when they tuck in for a feast or are just napping on the couch!

  280. Caitlyn Moody says:

    No doubt my favorite holiday memory is baking overnight French toast covered in eggs and cream and pecans with my mom. It’s been a Christmas tradition for as long as I can remember!

  281. Kelsey says:

    My favorite holiday memory is always decorating the tree at my parents’ house with my grandma Betty. Once we had up all of the ornaments, we would sit on the couch and just admire all the lights. We still do this, but now my mom, my sister, and I drink champagne while we admire our hard work! Thank you for the giveaway!

  282. Nicole says:

    My favorite winter memory is more of a tradition. Each year my mother makes homemade baked ziti and lasagna for Christmas Eve. We only get it once a year, which makes it very special. One year as teenagers, my siblings and I were being particularly troublesome so my mom bought a store-bought lasagna as punishment. Boy, did we learn our lesson having to wait another year for the dish. On Christmas Eve we all gather around to enjoy the warm dish until our bellies are singing with joy, and then we go drive around the neighborhood with hot cocoa and look at holiday lights. Afterwards we do a pajama gift exchange. Everyone gets new pajamas to wear as we gather and watch “the Grinch,” which reminds us to be giving and that change is possible.

  283. Leili says:

    When I visited my 100 year old Great-Grandmother for Christmas, she would insist on doing everything the way it had been done when she was a girl. Along with insisting that our entire family sing ancient Christmas carols, this meant she required REAL CANDLES on the Christmas tree. We would always arrange several buckets of water near the tree in case anything caught fire, and my fire-phobic sister would sit as far away from the tree as possible. One year, my young cousin accidentally bumped into a candle and it fell sideways onto a delicate paper ornament, which immediately erupted in flames. While the rest of us panicked and my mother ran for the fire extinguisher, my uncle (who was closest to the tree) quickly grabbed the flaming ornament with his bare hands and dunked it into a water bucket. After a few stunned moments, my entire family broke into laughter, including my great grandmother. She then made a joke reprimanding whoever thought it was a good idea to have real candles on the tree. She’s no longer with us, but memories of big family Christmases spent with her are some of my fondest.

  284. Kyle Johnson says:

    My mom wasn’t the best cook so our Christmas dinner would consist of either delivery pizza or take out fried chicken. Either way it was my favorite meal of the year as I knew I would be able to open presents immediately after we finished cleaning up.

  285. Victoria Tam says:

    My favorite holiday memory is decorating my living room with my little sister when we were kids. We had posters of Santa, dusty pinecone lights, expired candy canes, snowflake window decals… it was a blast hauling the big cardboard box from the basement every year.

  286. Jen Erickson says:

    My favorite holiday memory in the recent past is hopefully not too materialistic, but it was the year that I got my first Cuisinart food processor! For years I would pass over making certain recipes that called for using a food processor. I was missing out on so much deliciousness! If I won this giveaway, I could add some much needed pieces to my kitchen. Thanks for the opportunity, Stephanie!

  287. One of my favorite traditions has to be our yearly Christmas brunch with friends. We rotate houses and eat delicious food and we’ve been doing it ever since I can remember. Now the kids are 5 out of 7 graduated, nearly 6, and boyfriends and girlfriends are present! It’s such a blessing to celebrate together even though we barely see each other throughout the year due to changes in lives and busyness and all. I love being family with friends.

  288. Stefani Lowe says:

    I live 2500 miles from my family…on top of the distance, I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific! I love it but being away from family is hard. My favorite winter holiday memory was last year when my family flew out to spend New Years with me island-style. It was so nice to have everyone around!

  289. Mareike says:

    My favorite holiday memory, is finally, after all the exams are over and everyone in the family is off work… my sister and I would spend hours tobogganing. We would hike out to this one huge hill at the local golf course and spend all day there. And then come in for hot chocolate :)

  290. Irene C says:

    My favorite holiday memory is every year making cinnamon rolls for my family on Christmas day and then having bagels and smoked salmon as well – with some capers to top all of it off!

  291. Sarah Quail says:

    The chimney fire at my parents’ on Christmas Eve. My mom frantically on the phone with the 911 operator while my dad calmly reacted and took care of the fire. My mom screaming “everybody out! She (the orator) says ‘everybody out’!!!!!!” Dad:”well she’s not here!” …mom went outside by herself.

  292. Mathilda says:

    Since my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I will do a Chinese new year one! My favorite holiday memory was basically eating a massive banquet with the extended family (usually 20+ people) on new year’s eve, the adults will be drinking and having tons of fun, and we were be at the kids table doing silly kids stuff, and there will be so much food and it will taste amazing, and you are completely stuffed when you are done…and afterwards the adults will play mah-jong into the night, and since it’s new years, the kids get to stay up late too, so us kids will literally play until we pass out, which will always be like 2am or something haha. Anyways good times :)

  293. Laura says:

    My sister and I have a tradition of traveling to my mom’s house and making fudge together the night before Christmas. For some reason, it always such a stressful process that we end up snipping at each other the entire time so that’s also now part of the tradition. Two years ago, I was sick and not in the mood to accept my sister’s invitation to “go make fudge and get in a fight” so I opted to sit on the couch in the same room while she did the entire process herself. After grumbling to “herself” for me to overhear the entire time, she finished the process only to realize an hour later that the fudge hadn’t set yet. Turns out she forgot to add an ingredient to it was essentially ruined (edible but more of a raw chocolate dip). She stopped grumbling after that.

    I know that probably less warm and fuzzy that you were looking for, but it never fails to put a smile on my face!

  294. Kate says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is making cookies at my grandmother’s house with all of the other grand kids. We each had our own apron and would ice and decorate cookies…or eat them :) It is one of my favorite memories!

  295. ali says:

    one of my favorite winter holiday memories is when my husband and i went to cut down our own christmas tree for the first time. being jewish (but not very observant) i never had a REAL christmas tree so when we bought our first house i knew we had to have a real one. we were living in vermont, it was a snowy, cold day and we drove to the tree farm. i must have spent a half hour walking around looking for the perfect tree and then my husband cut it down. then we went inside the barn and had hot chocolate, hot cider and donuts! then we put it in our pickup truck and drove it home.

  296. Lamisa says:

    My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but years ago we lived next door to an elderly Italian woman who called herself my honorary grandmother. She gave me little presents and such all year, but at Christmas it was especially a lot. She would also cook dinner for my entire family, teaching us how to make ravioli from scratch and how to cook polenta. We would all cook dinner Christmas Eve, and then the next day we would all head over to her son’s house for dinner. Although we moved and we don’t see her anymore, I still remember how included she made us feel when we were just an immigrant family who didn’t celebrate any winter holidays.

  297. Coby Matthews says:

    My most memorable Christmas moment was when I was about the age of 7. It was Christmas Eve and my parents had put me and my sister to bed. After they went to sleep I got up and went to the living room where the Christmas tree was. There were so many presents!! I was so excited, I thought all of the presents were for me. I began to open all of the presents with my little flash light I was holding. After I had opened almost all of the gifts my parents come walking in And saw me painting a picture with the new paint set Santa had brought me. I said to my parents ” look at all the stuff Santa brought me ” The only thing they could do was laugh. Meanwhile my little sister wasn’t to happy that I had opened her gifts too!!

  298. Andrew Brotherton says:

    My favorite Christmas memory was while I was in the Air Force that weekend I drove down on the 23rd from South Carolina and spent the 23rd going into Christmas Eve with my mom in Mississippi, then drove from Mississippi to Florida to spend Christmas Eve going into Christmas with my sister and my niece and nephew. Finished Christmas and came home and went back to work on the 26th. Crazy weekend of driving but was worth it to see my family.

  299. Elise says:

    I remember staying up WAY too late for little kids and watching the front window of our house that was perfectly aligned to reflect the Christmas tree and seeing my parents place all of the gifts. My siblings and I thought that we were so sneeky. Laying on out bellies, telling each other to shut up as we audibly gasped at eat present being brought out and arguing who we thought the biggest box was for.
    Of course, we (almost) always got caught and were yelled at to get back in bed.

  300. Cathy Zhu says:

    Favourite holiday memory is putting up the tree! We have a tradition of adding a new ornament to the tree every year– usually it’s something from a trip far away or something unique we found. Every christmas is like going through a little memory box.

  301. Suzie says:

    Growing up, my parents had a rule that we couldn’t wake them up on Christmas day until the sun was up. Needless to say, wintertime in North America doesn’t exactly make for early sunrises. So my siblings and I would wake up early and go sit on the couch in the living room and just stare at the tree for a while and then go back to bed. One year, my youngest brother woke us all up at 4am and we snuck downstairs and took apart our stockings. Toothbrushes, nuts, Andes mints, and oranges as usual, but it was so exciting. And then we tried to put them all back together exactly like they were before and snuck back to bed. Sitting there with my siblings in the light of the Christmas tree is one of my favorite Christmas memories.

  302. Claire Miller says:

    When my sisters and I were little (before our brother was born), we’d do everything we could think of to stay awake long enough on Christmas eve to catch Santa in the act! We could never make it past about ten without falling asleep, despite poking each other and asking over and over “psst….are you awake?….”
    Much to our mother’s chagrin, one of us would inevitably wake up around four o’clock in the morning and wake the others. We’d all sneak downstairs and stare in awe at the pile of presents under the beautiful, sparkling tree, picking up packages, shaking them, and trying to guess the contents. We knew we couldn’t wake Mom up yet, so we’d spend the excruciating three-or-so hours coming up with a game plan of opening presents in a particular order, and sneaking just a few candies from our stockings.
    Once seven o’clock rolled around it was okay to wake Mom, so one of us would start the coffee (she taught us young!), and the other two would try to coax her out of bed. Then the mayhem could begin! I’m sure she was relieved when, by noon, we’d all be napping, giving her a brief break from squealing girls, and a moment to catch her sanity before supper.

  303. Ace says:

    When we were little my mom would make a huge batch of sugar cookie dough and pull down all the cookie cutters and sprinkles and candies and we would go hog wild cutting and decorating sugar cookies to give away as present. I’m fairly certain we only ever made 1/2 the batch, since the remaining dough was snuck continuously through the day long event. We’d be covered in colored sugar and our teeth and fingers would be stained. The kitchen was a mess and we probably used an entire roll of wax paper trying to roll out the dough. But it was awesome. I would give anything for one of those sugar induced bellyaches again.

  304. Kaitlin says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies and making homemade wreaths with my mom every year. I wish I had more time to do crafts now, but I do still bake and make other treats for the holidays every year.

  305. My favorite holiday memory, or rather tradition, is one that started as we ushered in a new member of our family – my wonderful stepmom. Every christmas eve since she joined our family, we each open up one present together – a fresh set of pjs. Then we all change into them and make Irish coffees to sip on while listening to christmas music. It’s a simple traditional that’s been a perfect addition to our christmas celebration.

  306. jaime says:

    One of my favorite holiday memory is watching my grandma make cinnamon rolls. I used to love watching the soft dough being stretched and stretched. She used to make the best sugar cookies too. She never used a recipe card and I was so amazed at how natural she was in the kitchen.

  307. Katie says:

    My favorite holiday memory is that after all of the presents had been opened and the wrapping paper cleared away, my dad and I would spend the whole afternoon building something epic: K’Nex ferris wheels or roller coasters, Lego space monorails, Marbleworks towers or elaborate slot car race tracks. Even though I’m 27 now, if we’re at my parent’s for Christmas, every few years we pull something out again – we’re just a lot faster now. :)

    (Favorite food memory is eating my dad’s hashbrowns – golden and buttery, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle – they’re pretty time intensive and therefore were usually a once or twice a year treat and my number one request on Christmas mornings.)

  308. Allie says:

    So, this was Thanksgiving, but still wintery cold outside! It’s tradition in my family that we celebrate Thanksgiving in my parent’s old barn (no animals, just parties). Usually around 70 people come and its tons of fun. Despite the cold, my cousins (8-18 yrs) take advantage of every opportunity for fun while at the farm – being urban-raisied, they don’t get that chance very often. One year, they had the 4-wheelers out, riding all over the property (it was FREEZING btw), and one of them landed himself, and the 4-wheeler belly up in the pond. Thank god he was okay, and my parent’s, the whole family were very understanding and forgiving and all of that because again, thank god he was okay. But the 4-wheeler? My dad decided it could wait until after we’d all eaten to take care of it.. it wasn’t going anywhere. Well my brother (in his 30’s with 3 boys himself) thought differently. He went up to my parent’s house, put on a pair of my dad’s shorts and dove into the freezing pond (IMPROMPTU POLAR PLUNGE!!!) and tried to pull the 4-wheeler out himself.. lol. Well long story short, it ended up taking about 14 grown-ass men, another tractor and a winch to pull the thing out.. but it all worked out and is now an awesome memory for instant hilarity. LOVE!

  309. Jessica says:

    My favorite holiday memory is growing up in southern California, where it never snows, and then seeing snow for the first time when my parents took me skiing. The backstory there is that my parents are immigrants from Taiwan, and when they moved to the US they were fairly broke (not a new immigrant story), but they were very intrigued by skiing so they decided to learn at night because it was cheaper. However, they didn’t have any ski clothes, so they wore jeans and heavy sweaters and were soaked (because of all the falling) and freezing by the end of it! However, they developed a penchant for it and taught my brother and I how to ski at an early age.

  310. Mia says:

    I don’t know that I have one favorite holiday memory…but it’s the time of year I looks forward to the most. The ambiance that surrounds the holidays is unmatched during the rest of the year. I am so looking forward to going up in just a few days now, baking cookies with my mom, reading under the lights of the christmas tree and being with my family.

  311. Twright says:

    My favorite holiday memories are of my family gathered together at my grandmother’s house. Our cousins lived in Georgia but they would travel home to celebrate with us. My Grandmother always had pigs in a blanket for her fancy Christmas Eve Party and at the time I thought it was the most glamorous party food. Her friends would come over dressed up in sequins and holiday baubles, drinking old fashioned cocktails and smoking while the kids hid under the pool table with as many pigs in a blanket as we could sneak away with. To this day I serve those silly pigs in a blanket every year at our Christmas party and think of her.

  312. Dara says:

    Every year on Christmas, my Dad and I volunteer at a church to serve a Christmas dinner to low-income families in the county. It’s a great way to spend time together, give pack, and show off my snow-driving skills as we deliver meals to folks who are home-bound. My favorite holiday memory is probably doing these home visits with my Dad when I was 10, and he let me come with him for the first time. I’m excited to go again this year (and the next)!

  313. Joanna says:

    My favorite holiday memory was on Christmas when I was much younger. I really wanted a doll house and opened all of my presents and did not receive one. I remember silently being kind of bummed about it and about ten minutes after present opening was over, my grandmother and mom came out from a back room holding a large doll house and singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. It was a huge surprise and made for a very magical Christmas moment!

  314. Vy H. says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my mom buys a bunch of dungeness crab for Xmas Eve, and the whole family gets to sit at the table for hours cracking crab all evening. No other sides or food; just crab. I always manage to sneak in a leg or two before actual dinner time. We set up the dinner table in the living room by the fake Xmas tree that’s been decorated with the same ornaments and lights from the last 20 years. My family and I aren’t close so it’s nice when we all get to sit around with each other. Happy Holidays!

  315. Kali says:

    My family isn’t very religious. Growing up my sisters and I all went to catholic school but my sister Lauren is the only one who really held on to that faith. Around Christmas time, however, at midnight mass, I shared this faith with her, and it is one of my many cherished memories from the Christmas holidays. I come from an Italian/polish upbringing so Christmas Eve dinner is very special. We cook a variety of different dishes all focused on 12 different types of seafood. The dishes varied every holiday but my mom always made stuffed calamari because my Dad loved it. After the meal we all digested on the couch
    together, and almost always, I fell asleep. However, at 11:30 my sister Lauren would wake me to attend the midnight mass in our town. Just the two of us would bundle up in our warmest jackets and festive outfits and head out into the cold. No cars were on the streets, and everything was still except for the blinking holiday lights draping the houses. If you’ve never attended a midnight mass on the eve of Christmas it is something truly magical. It is so touching how everyone from the community comes together to celebrate the very moment the calendar jumps to the 25. The town may be quiet but the church is gushing with cheer and love. After the mass my sister and I would drive to a neighboring town and admire the elaborately decorated houses. Some even displaying live animal nativity scenes. This is my favorite memory. merry Christmas

  316. Lois Kim says:

    Because I’m Korean, my family had never had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner until last year. But last year, we decided to try to have a full-on American Thanksgiving dinner, and it was so much fun! The chaos of preparing the turkey and all the sides fully immersed me in the holiday vibes, and my family had a super satisfying, fun Thanksgiving dinner!
    Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway!

  317. Sarah S. says:

    My favorite holiday memory is going on an annual ski trip with a HUGE group of friends and family. It was chaotic, loud, and tiring, but also a great time! We kids would tire ourselves out on the slopes, and then the parents would always welcome us into the lodge with hot cocoa and yummy snacks!

  318. Stardancer says:

    I think one of my favorite things is establishing new traditions with my husband. This is our third married Christmas, and we took care the first time (right after our wedding) to establish that we were going to STAY HOME and that was that. So after the crazy of the Halloween-through-December rush, we sleep in, eat bacon and drink coffee, and open presents as slowly as we’d like. It’s the best.

  319. Crystal hovland says:

    When my sisters and i were very young, my mom would do a themed tree each year. One year she decided the theme was candy. She found lights that looked like starlight mints, ornaments that looked like every candy and dessert you could imagine. A lot of glitter. And candy canes in every flavor. It was the most spectacular tree ive ever seen.

  320. Brynn Houska says:

    my favorite holiday memory is the year I started cooking for everyone. I am an only child, so when I say everyone I really mean my two parents. we moved away from our extended family when I started going to college. being away from family is difficult around the holidays, especially as an only child. I didn’t know how to cope except to spend hours working with what I love: food. my parents do not appreciate food and cooking as much as I do. they would rather order something than cook. that doesn’t scream holidays to me, so I decided to make it fun and take it upon myself to create the spread of dishes. I love it. I love menu planning and creating food for them to enjoy. to me, this small action helps make the holidays more enjoyable.

  321. Sarah Scott says:

    My favorite holiday memory so far is bringing Thanksgiving to my brother at his college campus dorm this year with our family. He has been so busy between military training, volunteering with his local fire dept., personal training for seniors and kids, along with his full-time schedule that we wanted to make sure to spend the day together for for the first time in a while. With the help from my mom and dad, we prepped all the food and brought over everything ready to be cooked so we didn’t have to spend too much time doing that once we arrived at my brother’s. He had made a point to use whatever resources were given to him and still managed to pull of a very beautiful table! Surprisingly, the most fun part of it all was cooking the remaining side dishes together, assigning everyone a job so we really each had a hand in the whole production. I won’t ever forget this enjoyable holiday that was filled with love!

  322. Peter D says:

    My favorite holiday memory is one from years ago. I flew home and New York had so much snow that people in cars were getting stuck or stranded on the highway behind our house. We kept going out trying to shovel people out of snowdrifts or bringing some hot coffee and sandwiches. My neighbor ending up with a few strangers sleeping on his living room floor and everyone in the neighborhood was caught up in the sprit of giving.

  323. Brandon says:

    Every Christmas eve at about 10 o’clock! My father sits everyone down and we watch it’s a wonderful life. We all basically take turns quoting the movie until we all fall asleep. My dad is only one who stays up till the very end and turns it off and tells everyone to go to bed. This is my favorite because every time George Bailey says “I want to live again Clarence”, we all bust in to tears and it just makes us all so happy!

  324. Davena says:

    One winter our family visited family friends in Seoul. We booked a retreat to one of the skiing ranges and all two families packed into two tiny cars and ventured off onto the dewy road. When we got there I, eight-year-old me, realized that no, I didn’t know how to ski. Obviously we did the smart thing, which was to just wing it after a few basic tips on how to ski (that didn’t exactly muster up some confidence). Needless to say, once the ski lift brought me up to top of the crazyfrigginhigh mountain I uneasily slid down, and proceeded to tumble while my friends and sisters skid past me. Because they couldn’t slow down amid the crowd of skiers and snowboarders I was left to fend for myself, which involved me ‘walking’ in my skis down to the finish line. My mother was scared to death that I was missing! But after a few tears and a bit of hot chocolate everything was fine and skiing is actually pretty darn fun.

    And oh – the ginseng chicken soup and hot springs helped to seal the deal on this winter memory.

  325. Dana says:

    My favorite holiday memory was waking up as a child with my brothers to find beer and nachos left out from the night before. We were convinced they were left by Santa and swapped out cookies and milk in favor of beer and nachos for the next few years!

  326. Jessica says:

    As kids, my brothers and I used to make extra special Christmas cookies for Santa, which we would leave out with a handwritten thank you note, a big glass of milk and some carrots for his reindeer. Over the course of a couple years, we noticed that Santa never really drank the glass of milk, but the cookies and carrots were always gone. After brainstorming with my brothers one Christmas Eve for a better drink option, we took it upon ourselves to pour Santa a very, very large glass of whiskey in addition to the traditional note, cookies and carrots. The next morning, we were ecstatic to find that all of our treats had been consumed, and Santa had written us a note in return, thanking us for being such thoughtful children and for being his favorite stop along his holiday route.

  327. Connie says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is actually (if I can cheat a little bit) pre-traditional Christmas season. Around Thanksgiving, my mom, sister, and I would go for a walk at a local park called Pheasant Branch Conservancy on a fall day before the snows come, when the sun is out lighting up the prairie. It’s so beautiful and fresh out there, and it’s become our kind of small family tradition. Most of our family is overseas so having just a small one tradition is really meaningful.

  328. Nikole says:

    I grew up in south Florida so Christmas here is not cold and we don’t have snow. I was the youngest in my family. Even though the rest of the year my siblings and I fought, the tried really hard to keep the magic of Christmas and Santa alive for me. They answered all my questions -like how does Santa get in when you don’t have a chimney. (The answer is through the washing machine or he shrinks himself to door knob size). They would spray our Christmas Tree with fake snow before I woke up so that I would know that Santa had been there the night before.

    But my favorite Christmases are now that I’m a parent and getting to pass on the magic to my daughter. Kids grow up ao fast now and I know that there will come a time in the near future where she won’t believe in naughty and nice lists and the spirit of the season. But for now seeing her face light up when we pass a picture of Santa, or when she looks for her elf, baking, or when we think of something to give to her teacher reminds me of the wonder and joy I felt as a kid on Christmas with my tree and its snow.

  329. My favorite holiday memories are a yearly thing! I love waking up and seeing my family from across the country, having a slice of my mom’s pumpkin bread with a cup of coffee, and then sitting down and watching movies with whoever is up. Once we are all up, we have a bit more coffee and huddle around the tree. Just being with family, in those early morning moments, is the best memory.

  330. Alison says:

    My favorite holiday memories are from our tradition of getting together with our family friends from Maine who would have built a massive gingerbread house. Each year we would get to decorate it with all the fixins, then do our best to stay up until midnight and not eat the entire thing before the morn…both of which were always a challenge, despite the mass amount of sugar we’d consumed during decoration. We’d usually hang out, 4 girls, in PJ’s chit chatting in our room and watching the clock as it got later.

  331. Christy luong says:

    Drinking peppermint dark hot chocolate at home in Singapore with the AC full blast =P

  332. audrey says:

    favourite holiday memory – my first year with my husband’s family, sitting around the christmas tree and opening stocking gifts and presents. My family doesn’t do a lot of presents, so at 27, I felt like a kid again opening up everything! None of them were big gifts – they were all small little things and surprises (i.e. food gifts), but those were the most fun!

  333. Phillipe Galan says:

    My favorites memories have always been when I help my mother cook Christmas dinner. We always tried to make something new every year. Regardless of the out come of the food we always had a great time doing it.

  334. Danielle says:

    Maybe not my favorite memory, but definitely one that stands out — every year, my mom used to get a grocery store birthday cake for baby Jesus (that literally said “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”), and we’d sing happy birthday to Jesus and blow the candles out.

    Coming from a family with some major sweet tooths, I secretly think it was just an excuse to eat more cake.

  335. Simone says:

    My boyfriend and I pick out a tiny christmas tree every year to match our tiny apartment and decorate it together on my birthday (which usually follows thanksgiving). We also exchange ornaments every year!

  336. Lynn S says:

    Now as an adult, I live in Texas, but I grew up in Colorado. I so miss the winters and the snow, but still get to go every Christmas. I have special memories of bundling up to go sledding and drinking hot chocolate and eating chocolate chip cookies when we returned home. Or making a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner to enjoy with Christmas music in the background, and sometimes even snow outside! I get to go back next week – I can’t wait!

  337. Kelly says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory would be two years ago when I successfully made a turkey all by myself for Thanksgiving and it was a bacon wrapped turkey! I remember spending weeks looking up tips and recipes, making a wet brine in a huge plastic bag and it took up half of my fridge for a whole week and then waking up at 4AM to put that sucker in the oven. I was so proud to serve it to my family because we’ve never had turkey for the holidays until I decided to take on the challenge. It was an awesome turkey.

  338. Josh says:

    This one is easy because it’s recent, last Christmas actually.

    My sister had just moved into a big new house, one big enough for all of the children to have plenty of space to play away from us adults while we got things together. My sister and I had spent days and days baking treats and had them all set up on the counters for after dinner, which was late, so the kids kept asking for some. Dinner was small and light since dessert was so epic and after we had gotten over the food coma, we started opening gifts and assembling them for the kids. Somehow this ended up with my sister and I chasing each other around the house on two of those scooters that you move by wiggling the handlebars.

    After that we adults settled in for drinks and board games. Overall it doesn’t sound like much, I know, but it was the first time in a long while that my family all got together genuinely had a good time.

  339. Michael J. Caboose says:

    When I was younger my parent’s owned a second house a couple hours out of town. It was on a lake and backed by woodland. A nearly perfect setting for a winter holiday. It was just my parents, my sister and her boyfriend, and me and my girlfriend. It was planned to be a great 3 days of food and family. But…

    Raccoons in the attic. A deer got in the garage because someone left the side door open. Five of us fell through the ice on the lake trying to take a group picture. The power went out and we only had generator fuel for 2 days. That last one is important because the well pump was electric and it unexpectedly snowed a lot. The only vehicle we had that could get up the snow covered hill was the old 4×4 pickup we kept at the house–which wouldn’t start. Our 3 day holiday turned into a week rationing food, water, fuel, using the outhouse, and playing boardgames and cards around the wood burning stove.

    It was perfect.

  340. derek says:

    Since as far back as I can remember my family would all gather at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. My grandfather, perhaps the kindest, most generous, loving man on planet Earth would fry a very large batch of catfish every year. Hey, I’m from SE Texas, we eat catfish for Christmas. That’s not weird to me. We would have all the traditional catfish sides; hushpuppies, coleslaw, pickled watermelon rind, and hot peppers from his garden. After the meal was complete all the adults would drink coffee (as a kid I found this strange) and we would each have a piece of his “famous” pecan pie. Then it was off to gather around the tree. My grandparents would always let me play “Santa” and pass out the gifts to whoevers name was on the tag, and then one at a time we would open them, to the oohhs and aahhs. I am much older now, with kids of my own in their late teens and early twenties. We no longer meet every year. My grandfather is in his 90’s now and hasn’t been capable of completing that feast of a meal for quite some time, but I still think about it every Christmas Eve and it always brings a smile to my face. Everything seemed so much simpler back then. I miss those times. I miss being a kid without a care. I’m headed home on Christmas Eve this year and can’t wait to give my “Poorpop” (that’s what we call him) a huge hug. I love that man and all the memories he’s helped make for me.

  341. Steph L says:

    I live in Southern California, so Christmas has traditionally be warm and sunny. When my sister and I were little, we begged and begged my dad to take us to build a snowman. Rather than driving up to the mountains or going to the city-sponsored “snow” event, we went on a multi-hour excursion to buy snow spray paint and chase after tumbleweed in the desert. We came back victorious (and full of splinters) with two extra large tumbleweed balls , hosted them onto a stick, spray painted the snowman and propped him up. A few days later the Santa Ana winds kicked up and blew him away, but it’s an experience I’ll never forget. Needless to say, we never asked to build a snowman ever again.

  342. Cassandra Christ says:

    One year I had lost my bunny to a dog and that year my brother got me another one. I spent the whole day caring him around the house.

  343. Dana says:

    My favorite holiday memory is sitting around the fireplace eating mini hotdogs that my Grandmother would make religiously. We called them “Little Frankies” and they were the perfect treat, cooked simply in the oven and served with spicy brown mustard and ketchup. For dessert we would have mini ice cream cups from Friendly’s. Memories from my Grandmother’s simple food makes me miss her and the holiday feeling that we had in her house so many years ago.

  344. Sam says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is making potatoe latkes with my mom. Every year we sit around peeling the potatoes and talking about everything under the sun. We laugh we joke we bond and eventually eat delicious fried potatoes. I’ll always remember these times fondly.

  345. Sarah O says:

    We used to go to a Christmas Eve party ever year at a beautiful house in a canyon outside Salt Lake City. I loved bundling up and staring out at the lights as we were driving through the snow.

  346. Larry says:

    Favorite Christmas Moment – Seeing my father for the first time @ my age of 21.

  347. Becky says:

    My favorite holiday memory: Last year, my sister and her family came home at Christmas for the first time since she beat breast cancer. So everything we did—from the massive appetizer feast (where I literally ate myself sick) to Wii dance battles to everyone failing to stay awake until midnight NYE—seemed a lot more meaningful than in the past.

  348. Heather Taylor says:

    I think my favorite holiday memory was the one we made this year with our kids. I have always wanted to pick out our own tree and chop it down, it’s something I wanted to do as a kid, and this year we found a small farm nearby and picked out our tree and cut it down. It will definitely be a new tradition for us!

  349. Lauren says:

    I remember finding a Super Nintendo with my cousins in our basement the night before Christmas and we were so excited! That was also when we learned there was no Santa but the gift was so cool, we didn’t care!

  350. Brett says:

    Some of my favorite memories are getting to light the menorah and decorate the christmas tree for the holidays. Growing up in a multi-religion household = double the holiday traditions and spirit.

  351. Megan says:

    My favorite holiday memory was always decorating the tree. We did not have a lot of money growing up, so some years there was no tree. When we did have one, putting on the lights, making cranberry and popcorn strings, and putting on the other ornaments was the most fun. My mother was a terrible cook, but we would make cookies and decorate.

  352. Rachel says:

    My favorite holiday memory is simply just being with my family at home. Each year we just keep it immediate family. We wake up and are super lazy, open gifts and make breakfast together. We always make a breakfast pizza. After that we normally make more food, it’s just a day of being together and eating haha. We usually start a puzzle too.

  353. Erin Nishimura says:

    I’m from Hawaii and like many people with roots here our families are spread out on different islands and parts of the mainland. My favorite holiday memory is a tradition from when I was a child. Every year after Christmas my mom and I would hop on a plane and fly from Honolulu to Hilo, where my mom is originally from. My grandma and usually some of my cousins would meet us at the airpot and we’d drive from Hilo all the way to Ka’u. I say all the way but really it was only about a 45 minute drive, being from an island and anything over 20 minutes away seemed like another world, but that’s exactly what it felt like. The drive to Ka’u, being deep in the country, completely isolated really and having our whole family stay in the motel that my grandparents and great-grandparents have owned for years after moving to America from Japan that was the thing I looked forward to the most every year. On the actual day of New Year’s Eve my grandma, aunts and mom would spend all day cooking: rolling and cutting mountains of sushi, making the lucky red fish, preparing all of the little pickles and simmered dishes for New Year’s day breakfast, cutting sashimi…but somehow they still also managed to clean all the rooms and both of the houses on the property! We, the children, were always supposed to be helping but usually we would just dip into the firework stash and try to blow things up. The highlight of the night however came after dinner. Once we had eaten and grown tired of fireworks we would have a family game night. Usually charades, cranium or pictionary, the best part was seeing our stern Asian relatives letting loose just a little bit and having some fun. Then at right before midnight everyone would go outside together and wait until it was midnight which would be rung in by throwing firecrackers for good luck and to scare off the bad spirits. Finally the giant string of firecrackers (around 1,000,000 of them I think) that was either strung up onto a tree or laid on the ground and attached to a ladder would be lit. Then with the night finally coming to a close everyone would go to bed only to be up about 6 hours later for kinako mochi and ozoni. So I guess in summation my favorite holiday memory is the tradition of our splintered family all coming together and being forced to spend copious amounts of time together (no cell service :P) and all the effort the adults put into it to make it so festive and special. Now that my grandparents are older and in need of more medical care they live on Oahu so we still all get together to celebrate the holidays but it really isn’t the same as when we would all go back to the Big Island.

    Hi Stephanie! Sorry for the super long comment, once I got started everything kinda just spilled out. I just wanted to thank you for this oppurtunity and wish you a happy holiday season as well. I’m following you on IG and just added you on pinterest, I love whenever you pop up on my feed, everything you post is either super freakin adorable or looks delicious. My IG is @erinzballbaranz, sorry if this sounds a bit familiar after consistently creeping on your instagram and blog it feels like I know you. Anyway thanks again and have a lovely holiday season! :)

  354. Adrienne says:

    My brother and I hatched a plan to catch Santa in the act, and even drew a detailed map with a minute-by-minute account of when, where and how we would actually achieve this lofty goal!

  355. Susan R says:

    My favorite memory is seeing Dad down on the floor in his pjs, just like us kids, opening presents on Xmas morning, and our crazy pug racing in circles of excitement every time a kid would squeal as a present was opened.

  356. Curtis says:

    One of my favorite memories is when we had a cart named Reverend Howard K. Furbody, we would make him his own Cornish Hen for Christmas. I was always jealous as a kid, that I did not get my own little chicken.

  357. Maria Bartel says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is of me and my siblings as kids passing around a ball as a “hot potato” and when the music stopped, the one who ended up with the ball got to open a gift!

  358. Robin says:

    My favorite memory happened every year. My parents would make my sister and I sit at the top of the stairs while they went downstairs. They would make hot cocoa and coffee and make sure everything was ready. We had to wait until they told us it was ok to come down. My sister and I loved the anticipation of those moments. We were so excited and could hardly stand still and as soon as they called up to us we would race down the stairs where they would be standing in front of the tree with hot cocoa for us and coffee for them and we would all get settled down and ready to hand out presents.

  359. Alex says:

    My favorite holiday memory is probably when I was younger and my grandparents and great grandfather would come over to our house on Christmas morning. We’d get to show off all of our presents and play with them when we weren’t eating the delicious Christmas dinner my mom made for us all. My aunt and uncle and other great grandparents would come over later. It was very cozy and happy.

  360. Denise M says:

    One year my entire family was together at a reunion and we went caroling, horrible singing and all. It was embarrassing and cold but so much fun

  361. Fiona says:

    When we were little, my mom would make Scandinavian rosettes for us and I loved eating those crisp, snowflake-shaped cookies!

  362. Cory says:

    My favorite holiday memory has always been popping fireworks/firecrackers. We could never afford that much but me, my brother, and my sister would always make the most of with what we got. We would do dumb things like see who could hold onto them the longest or throw them as high as we could before they went off. It was fun. Our dad would also always make fresh sashimi from whatever he caught that morning. He would cook on the grill while we played. At the end of the night we would always smell like smoke. The smell of wet red paper and gunpowder the next morning always brings me back. I know it doesn’t seem like much but that’s the holidays for me.

  363. Libby says:

    I’m not going to pretend that I know the details of why there was a pair of crotchless panties on the top of my grandparent’s Christmas Tree one year (I was told that there was a lost bet). I didn’t ask any questions about it even though I had SO MANY QUESTIONS! I figured that my grandparents did this every year and I just now noticed it. I was in the third grade.
    SO… when I went back to school, our teacher asked us to write about the Christmas traditions in our family.
    I couldn’t think of a one!! So I wrote about the underwear on the tree as though this was a normal tradition that happened in our family and other families.
    My teacher called my mom.
    My mom called my Grandma.
    I was afraid that I’d get in trouble but mostly my mom just never wanted to ever discuss this ever again. :)

  364. Carlie Thomas says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when I was in middle and my family was still living in our old house in WA. It hadn’t snowed in a while and my sister and I were wanting it to snow for the holidays. Well, we got the great idea to watch the “epic” Nickelodeon movie “Snow Day”, in honor of our desire to have one. Well it was great, but it still didn’t snow by the time the movie was done (of course). So me and my sister went to bed. The next morning, however, it had snowed. It was awesome! We still had to go to school which sucked, but they called a snow day the next day and we played all day. We then watched that movie every night, and every year since then because the movie is totally magical… (not really but we like to think so). Happy Holiday!

  365. Samantha says:

    Gah–what a generous giveaway! I’d love to win. My favorite holiday memory is one of two: My family’s tradition of coming home from Christmas Eve Mass, jumping straight into our pajamas, and watching Night at the Museum 2 (a family favorite, not at all related to the holiday) as a whole family on the couch. It’s a kid’s movie, and my youngest sister is already 16, so we’re not exactly the intended demographic, but we love it. Or, the tradition my middle sister and I started when we were still young enough to get excited about what was under the tree, but old enough not to bother our parents to wake up: one of us would sneak into the other’s room, and we’d play Spit and War and other card games until the grown-ups conceded that they had gotten enough sleep. We were looking forward to presents, but still patient, and it was always a (rare) moment of sisterly peace. Now we just sleep in like the rest of the grown-ups :)

  366. Kelly M says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making cookies with my mom when I was a young girl. She did most of the making. I did most of the licking the spoons. I would stand on a chair pulled up to the counter and watch her measure, then I got to dump in the bowl. My favorite part though, and it was always MY job, was making the crosshatch pattern in peanut butter cookies with a fork.

  367. Michelle Flook says:

    When I was about 9 (i think) years old, my parents staged our living room to really convince me and my sister that Santa was real. They left the fireplace cover ajar, put some sooty footprints on the hearth, left us a hand written thank you note for the cookies and milk. Pretty sure we both got bikes this year. It was a magical morning!

  368. Jessica says:

    I have a bad habit of trying new dishes out on my family every holiday. I’ve had a few missteps, but it always makes for a good memory!

  369. Nicole says:

    One of my favorite and most vivid holiday memories is making gingerbread houses together as a family. Whether it’s graham crackers and an empty milk carton, gingerbread kits from the stores, or homemade gingerbread cookies, it’s always fun to try to stick the pieces together. Once secure, I like decorating with different colored candies and icing, and sometimes miniature people. We never eat them because they’re rock hard by the time Christmas is over, but it’s always fun to display the frosting icicles, coconut snow, and life saver wreaths.

  370. J. Marie Kysar says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories is going out on Christmas eve for a wonderful dinner with about 10 other families. Let’s talk about a big group with adults and children. Dinner was filled with laughter, singing, presents and of course, delicious food.

  371. janice says:

    My family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas anymore so my fondest memories are from childhood. One year, after dinner, during a really cold winter, we all bundled up and took a car ride into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. What my uncle didn’t account for was that parking in the city, even during Christmas, is not possible. So, while he drove around and around (cause we’re Chinese and cheap and didn’t want to pay for NYC parking) the city blocks, us kids had to run like mad to take photos in front of the tree. Luckily, nobody was out and about so we did a mad dash, took some silly, goofy pictures, and jumped back in the car to go home and drink hot chocolate. It was wonderful and one of my brightest memories of Christmas.

  372. I discovered at a young age that there was no santa claus. I guess it was easier for everyone – no milk and cookies to be made the night before, nor parents needing to hide presents and sneak them under the tree the night before Christmas. One year, I spent Christmas at my cousin’s place and with no curfew that night, we stayed up pretty late watching tv and playing games. Presents were already under the tree, no cookies were placed out and there was no wood burning in the fireplace at my cousin’s place. All was as it was expected to be for our Christmas. But as my cousin and I dozed off late in the morning, there was loud shuffle noise that woke me up in a startle. Figuring it was my aunt, I tried to go back to sleep but then i heard it again. I quietly went outside to the living room to see if anyone was awake but it was pitch black. I went back to bed next to my cousin and figured it was just the wind. outside. But I found myself waiting to see if i would hear the noise again. The next time I heard it, it was so loud my cousin woke up as well. We both laid there thinking what if there were robbers trying to enter the house? We let our imagination run a little bit where we became the heroes when we heard a man’s deep voice outside along with some bells ringing and more feet shuffling. After debating for some time whether or not to go outside to confirm whether it was a myth come true, we convinced ourselves what all children believed. Even if Santa was looking for a chimney and even if Rudolph was making all the stomping noise, it was best not to expose them and stop them from their work. We tried out best to fall asleep so Santa can work his magic but ended up staying up filled with giggles and laughs.

    Of course, the next morning we realized my cousin lived in an apartment building in the middle of rowdy Queens. But even now, we always think back to that one Christmas we believed in Santa.

  373. Barb says:

    I remember going to my grandparents and playing with the toy train that ran around the Christmas tree, until I got my dog and then he chased the train

  374. Claire Hwang says:

    My favorite holiday memory – Christmas parties in elementary school, the classroom festooned with construction paper reindeer and Christmas trees. Chocolate cupcakes with white frosting and red and white Christmas sprinkles. Santa Baby playing in the background (just found out recently what the song lyrics to that song was…when I was in 5th grade I thought it actually had to do with a baby). Candy, so much candy. Everyone working on tennis ball tube nutcrackers filled with candy as gifts for their parents. I filled mine with peanuts, because to my dad, peanuts are the best candy. I think he liked my gift.

  375. Mandisa Charles says:

    My favourite holiday memory is ongoing as it involves the norms of my culture. Cleaning the entire house, shopping for new curtains, furniture and appliances, the hustle and the bustle. The food – sorrel, ginger beer, baked ham, pastelles, black (fruit) cake- which we have every year. The music – both traditional parang and soca parang. Celebrating with my family and friends. Being welcomed into everyone’s homes to celebrate the season. And although I tried celebrating in another country one year, nothing could compare to Christmas at home, the way I’ve always known it to be and all of the work that goes into it.

  376. Mark Lucera says:

    My holiday memory is a very simple one. Each saturday before christmas, I would go over my grandmothers house to bake traditional italian cookies, and prepare the spinach and meat pies for the next week. It was something I looked forward to once December came around. I’m happy now I can continue that tradition with the younger family members that are starting to appreciate cooking and the holiday season

  377. Jannell says:

    My favorite holiday memory is getting together with family: lots of people in a tiny, overheated house!

  378. Grace Cheng says:

    When I was little, my family and I used to work together to decorate the house, put together the Christmas tree, and have family parties. We no longer do this because we’re all separated now but I remember one Christmas, I was hanging the lights around the window near my front door when my mom asked me if I wanted to put the star onto the top of the tree. I was overjoyed! My dad lifted me up on his shoulders (by picking me up on my elbows then lifting me over his head & onto his shoulders) and I topped the tree with a big yellow star. Unfortunately, the tree was unstable and began to tilt… to the point where the entire thing almost knocked over!! It was so much fun and I would do anything to go back and relive that moment.

  379. Jessica says:

    My favorite winter memory was spending time with my grandma before christmas without my parents or my brother. She would pick me up and we would bake and cook and eat all of the tasty winter treats and I got to spend all of the time alone with her, which was a huge treat! I wish we still got to spend time together.

  380. Connie says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the one year we decided to cook a giant pot of pho, forgoing all the usual holiday ham and fuss. It was my first semester after medical school, and I all I wanted was to go home and do absolutely nothing. The simplicity of that year was enriched with swapping family stories as we refilled our bowls for seconds and thirds. Not only was my stomach warmed from the spices, but mostly from the love. Rather than spending the next day in a food coma, I felt rejuvenated.

  381. Julie says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories is what Christmas Eve was at our house. Tomato, green bean, cheddar dumpling soup (tastes way better than it sounds!) served with buttermilk biscuits. Us kids had to clear the table, do the dishes, and dish up dessert for the adults prior to being able to go in to the living room. Once there, dad had the slide projector and screen set up and we would watch boxes and boxes of 35 mm slides pictures that he had taken over the years. Time in Korea for the war, in Australia visiting friends, us kids growing up. I loved this tradition in our family – and now that both parents are deceased, after 10+ years of having the slides, projector, and screen, my older sister has passed these to me. As the youngest I am now honored to revive this tradition and plan to do so this year!

  382. Danielle says:

    A memory that has popped up this year was part of the “getting ready” for the big Christmas day. My family used to tape Christmas specials when they were on live TV (Frosty, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, all the classics) instead of actually purchasing them. So, every year we would pull out these VHS tapes that had anywhere from 1-3 different Christmas specials and movies and we would watch them in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The shows and movies were of course all great, but the best part were the commercials. Now, you may think that commercials are the worst, but once they become “vintage”, they take on their own nostalgia. The old 7-UP mascot? The hot new mini van from Chevy? The cast of ER wishing you Happy Holidays? Once you see these commercials 15+ years later, it brings you back to that age you first watched that show and how you felt as a child. Those are some of the best memories. Now to find some VHS tapes…

  383. Crystal says:

    Favorite memory is of Christmas when I brought by boyfriend, now fiance, home for the first time. My dad told all embarrassing stories about me. My mom just made tons of food to feed everyone. My brother and I binge-watched some anime. It was nice to have him welcomed into the family so easily.

  384. Yoojin says:

    my favorite winter holiday memory is going home every year to my parents’ and making homemade dumplings for the new years. the mix is made with soft tofu, veggies, and noodles and we all gather around a round table with wine and make them all night!

  385. Janice H says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from when my sisters and I were kids. We went to Vegas every year, so our tradition would be to all climb into the car on like the 23rd or 24th, we’d pile the seats full of blankets and pillows, and then head out at like 3am (my dad liked to start early to avoid traffic lol). We’d even take our presents with us so that we could open them in our hotel room on Christmas day. I know it sounds a little weird, but I loved it and I’ll always cherish those memories.

  386. Eva says:

    My favorite winter memory was when I was about 4. I had been playing in the snow all afternoon and my mom finally managed to wrangle us in. I went to the bathroom to clean up and I realized that my cheeks were red. I didn’t realize they were rosy from the cold. I just thought they were sorry! i tried to wash my face but soap want working. I started to cry and my mom found me furiously scrubbing my cheeks! I definitely learned something new that day!

  387. Holly says:

    I remember driving veeerry slowly in the snow out to my grandmother’s house in the country for Christmas at her house every year when I was a kid. She always made great food and spoiled us with lots of presents under the tree :)

  388. Kristin Gaffney says:

    I served in Peace Corps Senegal, and one of my favorite Christmases was there! We would all gather at the regional house with other volunteers for holidays. This particular one we had an abundance of volunteers who came. We all cooked tons of food all of which was surprisingly good considering what we had to work with. Of course we didn’t have enough plates so about half of us were eating off of (cleanish) frisbees. We ate (and drank) late into the night. Although I missed my family and friends back in America, there was something so special about being there that day sweating and laughing together as a “family.” I must admit I do enjoy the luxuries of cooking with good quality kitchen appliances now, but I also miss the innovativeness I possessed in those Peace Corps days!

  389. Suzanna says:

    Oh man, my best holiday memory was finding out I was pregnant with my daughter. My son was just 11 months old, and I took the pregnancy test in the bathroom of Toki Underground before eating my ramen on Christmas Eve eve.

  390. jillian says:

    My favorite winter holiday memories are of the Philly New Year’s Parade! Struttin’ in the streets to the brass bands and singing along with the string bands as they came down 2nd Street and hanging out all day and nights with the entire family- running in and out of houses to eat and stay warm. BEST TIMES EVER!

  391. Jessica says:

    We used to celebrate christmas with the families of my parents’ best friends and in an effort to escape from the tone deaf karaoke, the “kids” would sneak out the movie theaters after dinner.

  392. Vanessa says:

    My favorite holiday memory involves trimming the tree. Every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, my mother and sister and I would trim the tree. My mother has an incredible ornament collection, each with its own unique story and history. The tradition would start with my mother baking a frozen, store-bought coffee cake. Even though she was an incredible cook, and I have hundreds of memories of wonderful meals that she and I made together, I would still look forward to that cheap coffee cake every year. It was so comforting to wake up to cinnamon wafting from the oven, and it felt so deliciously naughty to eat big wedges of moist, warm cake for breakfast. She would even steam milk for us with a dollop of coffee so we could feel like adults. After coffee cake, we would start the ritual of the ornaments. Each person would take a turn carefully unwrapping the bright colored tissue paper from an ornament, and then tell the history and lore of that piece. It was better than Christmas morning, because we got to open dozens and dozens of little presents, and laugh over the memories it brought up. By the time I was an adult, the process took hours and hours. But it was always such a pleasure. Everyone was happy and full and surrounded by the ghosts of all the Christmases past.

  393. Katherine says:

    Probably my favourite holiday memory is the year I found out that my parents were”Santa” – I was probably 5 or 6, I couldn’t sleep for the excitement, and so snuck down the stairs and saw my parents hard at work filling the stockings. It was one of the first moments where I began to realize that there was a whole bigger world around me, that I wasn’t the centre of it. And also that this was something that was important to my parents, to do this for me and my sister. To this day, we have stocking gifts, which are, ostensibly, from Santa.

  394. Olivia S. says:

    My favorite holiday memory dates back to a particular time during Elementary School. It was an extremely treacherous winter with storms that knocked down trees, electricity lines, and light poles in our neighborhood. As the snow was so deep that we could not drive anywhere, I specifically remember embarking out into the snow, which was so high that it came up to my waist, with my Dad. We walked what seemed like miles at the time to go to the grocery store but, all the awhile, pretending that we were spies, scavenging Siberian terrain.

  395. Veronica says:

    Our Christmas’ always revolve around food! After opening presents we start with Posole or Menudo, and sweets plenty of sweets! Then we start on making tamales, everyone crowds around the table spreading the masa, the youngest are in charge of adding and olive and my uncle will do the folding and cooking! Then while those are cooking we eat more sweets! Lol how we’re able to stay awake past 2pm I have no idea.

  396. Allie camp says:

    I love your blog. I can’t wait to make the braised pork. My favorite Christmas memory is getting my childhood cat on Christmas morning. My parents just let her loose in the house when I was about 7. I was the first one up, so I hopped into my dad’s recliner and turned on the tv. The new kitty jumped on the back of the recliner and scared me, for one part because I had never seen her before and for the other part that my family watched Gremlins the night before and I immediately thought she was a Gremlin!!!

  397. Heather says:

    Waking up on Christmas morning, my sisters and I would put together a breakfast tray and serenade my parents with Angels We Have Heard on High. And then proceed to rush them through eating so we could start opening presents.

  398. Jack says:

    A family trip to Europe in December 2005 is without a doubt my favorite winter holiday memory.

    After landing at Paris Charles de Gaulle and riding the tangle of escalators in Terminal 1, we headed straight for the city center. Soon we found ourselves admiring none other than the Louvre Pyramid and the intricate Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Even though it was a gray, wet day, the excitement of seeing my high school French textbook in real life made me forget the cold rain. Once inside, a brief Da Vinci Code geek-out moment took place at the mini stone pyramid beneath the Inverted Pyramid.

    In the galleries we explored the substantial Egyptian collection, among it the Great Sphinx of Tanis – a monumental work of granite housed in a dramatically-lit archway. Many famous Greek sculptures followed, including the iconic Nike of Samothrace. Standing on a grand staircase in the Denon wing, the winged goddess of Victory dominates her surrounding space and truly earns her status as a pièce de résistance. Just down an adjacent hall we came across a work of equal renown – the Venus de Milo. After many more masterpieces, we finally saw the Mona Lisa – with her mysterious smile (and a surprisingly small canvas). Later that evening, we basked in the full holiday decor of the Galeries Lafayette before taking a train from Gare de Lyon.

    By the following afternoon we were on a snow-capped mountainside in Switzerland. A series of gondolas took us up to 9,900 ft and down to 8˚F. On the summit of Mt Titlis, I took some photos I’ll never forget. That night we stayed in Lucerne, a beautiful lakeside city in the German-speaking part of the country.

    The next day we arrived in Milan, where we covered the Duomo and the neighboring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We then hit the road again to reach Venice on time. In the famed lagoon city we visited a glass-blowing factory, took several rides through the canals, saw the Rialto bridge, and stood among the crowds in St Mark’s Square. A memorable lunch consisted of squid ink spaghetti and a golden, crisp fritto misto.

    From there we landed in Florence and immediately saw one of several David replicas. The Duomo and Campanile carved imposing shapes on the skyline, and up close they were even more incredible – both covered with ornate marble tiles in Italy’s red, white, and green. That same afternoon we made it to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and I captured one of my favorite sunsets to date.

    On Christmas Eve in Rome, we began at the Colosseum and then hit the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and finally Vatican City. Each spot was equally awe-inspiring, but the standout moment of the day was definitely seeing the Pietà – an incredible sculpture by a 23-year-old Michelangelo and the only work he ever signed.

    Christmas Day was spent back in Paris – we visited the Arc de Triomphe and Napoleon’s tomb, took a boat ride on the Seine, saw the Paris Opera House, and climbed the Eiffel Tower. Dinner that night included the quintessential escargots à la Bourguignonne, steak frites, and plenty of good wine.

    My family loves to travel, but we love great food even more. This trip really was the perfect combination of those things. Almost ten years later, I can still vividly recall many of the sights and sounds we experienced during our brief but action-packed vacation.

    Thank you for sharing your favorite winter holiday memory, and I hope you enjoyed mine! Peace :)

  399. Hui Yeung says:

    my favorite memory was when my parents were too lazy to cook a traditional christmas meal so we had hot pot instead

  400. Megan says:

    Hi! My favorite holiday memory is definitely Christmas morning brunch! My mom and I get up early every Christmas morning and start cooking so the house warms up, and the good smells are in full swing by the time we get to opening presents! We’ve varied the menu but it’s usually pretty standard breakfast fare … there’s just something about Christmas that makes eggs, bacon and potatoes taste that much better! Then after presents and while we eat, we all share what we’re thankful for .. even though it’s not Thanksgiving anymore! ;)

  401. Danielle Tran says:

    Favorite holiday memory is the last time my whole family was together including my grandparents. It’s so festive with a full house, a tree, and good food and drink. I’m Vietnamese so any gathering always included homemade eggrolls courtesy of my grandmother who I’d occasionally shadow in the kitchen.

  402. Joanne says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when our neighbors exchange holiday baked goods. We’ve been doing it for around 15 years since I was a kid and love trying new recipes for the holidays. Food blogs are my biggest inspiration for new recipes!

  403. Laura says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from two years ago. I had been studying abroad and hadn’t seen my family for a whole year(!), but when I came home, it was only my mom and me in The house. Before she came to pick me up from the airport, my mom had hung up this reusable advent calendar that I’ve had since I was little, and she had filled it with really nice chocolates, and so because it was three days before Christmas, I got to eat 22 days’ worth of chocolate. And then we put on a Christmas music playlist on reaaally low (because we both hate background music), poured ourselves some drinks and baked cookies all afternoon, just the two of us. And then it started to snow. Most magical pre-Christmas afternoon ever.

  404. Hong says:

    My family never really celebrated, but we did “decorate” my sister one year. Green is her favorite color and she wore head-to-toe green (turtleneck, no less) and we stuck bows on her. We still talk about the time she was our Christmas tree.

  405. Jodi T says:

    My favorite winter memory is Christmas at my grandma’s with all my cousins. A big family dinner followed by us kids opening gifts. Then the grown-ups would gather around the table and play a board game. I love watching my mom with her brothers. It was a very special time.

  406. Lisa says:

    When I was young, holiday memories were all about family. For the first time in my life, I will be celebrating the holiday season with my new family as my fiancee and I head to his parents’ home. Of course, my favorite memories come from childhood. Every year my sister and I would play a christmas song CD in the living room. Together in our candy-cane onesies we’d dance to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree until our brother would run in interrupting with his own rendition of some Rage Against the Machine song. My mom would watch us all from the couch – I think she really loved that time of year. She had all of her kids together in one house (my brother was almost always away at boarding school). The silliness of this tradition with the idea that my mom was really happy makes it an unforgettable memory.

  407. Toni in NC says:

    My three sisters and I would wake very early on Christmas morning and together run to our parents’ room to wake them. Mom and Dad would have us line up by age from youngest to oldest at the top of the stairs, while Dad went downstairs and turned the lights on the tree before beckoning us. The sight of the beautiful tree and many presents was always met by excited oohs and ahhs from us, which I know made our Mom and Dad very happy, especially since they had waited to decorate the tree until we fell asleep on Christmas Eve.

  408. kate says:

    My favorite memory is going to visit family in Australia. They had a big party and Christmas lunch outdoors, it was very festive and very different than my traditional family Christmases. It was also my first warm weather holiday. I love my usual cold weather small family holidays but this was something special.

  409. Jenni says:

    Favorite holiday memory? We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas in my house – so really the holidays last all December. My favorite memory though has to be last year’s cookie exchange. My friends and I are “foodies” so it’s always sort of a ridiculous contest but also SO delicious! From paleo cookies to momofuku spin-offs, there is something for everyone.

  410. Temi Moju-Igbene says:

    My favorite memory is probably one of my last Christmas’s believing in Santa. I had wanted a bike for a while and this year I went all out and wrote Santa a letter and everything. Come Christmas morning there was a bike sitting under the tree. I later figured out it was my parents, but that feeling of thinking Santa read my letter was amazing.

  411. Keiko says:

    My mother’s side of family always get together at my grandmother’s house (now my uncle’s) on either 28th or 30th of December. We make fresh mochi for the new year from scratch. We cook mochi rice outside, make round mochi and also square ones by flattening a large sheet of mochi while it’s hot. After we are done making mochi, we eat some mochi for lunch. It’s the best. We usually make ones with kinako, sweet red beans and karami mochi the one with daikon. Karami mochi is my favorite. I moved from Japan to Philadelphia 9 years ago and I’ve never had store bought mochi before in my entire life. I’m going home with my husband and daughter in a week and I can’t wait to see my family and make mochi soon. and this time, my 3 year old can eat mochi!

  412. Stacy D. says:

    My parents live 2 hours away and when the came to visit for christmas a snow storm hit and they had to stay for a day or so. I really enjoyed it because we rarely get to see each other, they work and I work so our schedules barely ever meet so we can see one another. Maybe this year it’ll snow on christmas again! :)

  413. Danielle Chan says:

    Favorite holiday memory is knocking over the Christmas tree when I was 8. Climbed on the banister and with a flying leap I took that tree down! I honestly just wanted to get near the angel on top of the tree, but after the 3 stitches on the bottom of my lip I gave up. Santa still came!

  414. kaman says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is when my whole family gathered together for a hot pot feast while the snow fell outside. Dressed in pajamas, we cozy around the table for the ultimate hot and spicy broth simmering delicate morsels of everything yummy. After we fill our bellies, we settle down to play mahjong for a few hours and end the night with steamy sesame filled dough balls. YUM!!

  415. Dani C says:

    Favorite holiday memory is getting promised to be able to play in snow with Grandpa on Christmas since it was snowing all Christmas Eve. I was 6 and so excited to show my granddad the snow I ran outside (it was in Colorado) past my mom and basically hit the packed waist high snow with a wumph and doubled over. It hurt a lot and I cried a lot over presents and hot chocolate but my grandpa eventually coaxed me out of the house with cookies. My parents still tease me about it to this day but I always remember it as my favorite for some reason!

  416. Kaitlin says:

    When I was very young, my mom and dad took very special care to leave evidence that Santa had stopped at our house the night before. They left all sorts of tracks in the yard (where we left treats for Santa’s reindeer), and dropped 2 Sega games and a puzzle just off the edge of the roof over the porch – after mussing up the snow, of course!

    Inside the house, they tracked mud from the chimney to the tree across the room. It felt like magic – it was so amazing to wake up to! Looking back on it as an adult, I can’t wait to do the same for my kids someday.

  417. Melody says:

    This is so awesome! :)

    Growing up, my parents didn’t put up trees, garlands or lights but that’s why I ALWAYS loved going to my aunts house every year. They would have a beautifully decorated tree, with a warm, blazing fire, and all our presents for each family member under the tree. While my parents were busy laughing and munching on the appetizers, I was busy trying to find which one was mine – ha! My favorite winter holiday memory though is when we actually opened the presents — my uncle would sit us on his knee. With a smile he’d say, “Merry Christmas” and then, suddenly… I would fall!

    He lovingly dubbed it Santa’s Trap Door.
    Call me naive but I fell for it every year.
    Now they have a son, so the favor is being returned :’)

  418. Grace says:

    My brother and I have a very strained relationship which has been pretty rocky over the years… but I still remember one Christmas morning when we were both in high school when we took our family dog out with our mom to a local park – I don’t know what it was about that morning, but we all had the best time together taking our silly dog down slides, running around the grass, and just enjoying the sheer emptiness of that park since all the families were still inside. It was so great and still gives me warm fuzzies inside when I think about it!

  419. Jennifer Hayden says:

    My favorite winter memory is getting bundled up and driving around at night when I was a kid and looking at the lights. It is such a peaceful thing to do during the holidays. I still love looking at lights with my children.

  420. Rosemary Ford says:

    My favorite memory was one year when my kids were little they wouldn’t go to sleep and there mamaw went outside and shook sleigh bells they jump in bed and went to sleep fast

  421. Tamara says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is about every single Christmas Eve that I spent as a child. My sister and I were the only grandchildren for several years so we got a whole lot of attention from our whole family: 4 grandparents, 12 aunts and uncles, great-grandparents and their 14 children which were obviously my grandaunts and granduncles. We would start the night at my grandparents on my mom’s side with the typical dinner served in almost every single house in Spain: boiled shrimp with green asparagus and mayo, lamb with several sides and the typical Christmas sweets: turrón, mazapán and polvorones. My aunts and uncles at that time were in their early twenties or even teenagers so they would have “great” ideas such as try to get my sister and me drunk or give us cigars to smoke. There was always music and dancing and singing Christmas carols waiting for midnight. Why midnight? Because at my grandparents’ it was baby Jesus who brought the gifts. So at midnight he would be born (placed in his crib in the Nativity scene) and then the presents would appear from out of nowhere. After all that, my grandmother would serve an amazing stock she always prepared and then we would normally go to my great-grandparents. Almost all my dad’s family would be there. Imagine, with 14 kids and almost all of them with more than 3 kids or even 7 like my grandparents, the house was like entering the subway at rush hour. But it was so much fun! Finally my sister and me got to hang out with kids (my father’s cousins) and eat chocolate with bread. And yes, it would continue until 2 or 3 am. What a wonderful time!

  422. Caitlin says:

    Every year my family went to the same Italian restaurant for Christmas Eve. I first began going at two years old. It was and older place with dark chestnut wood, a man playing the a nylon string guitar, red drapery and frost covering the paned windows- truly a memorable quaint christmas experience. Their food way amazing but what was even more amazing was the time shared with family and friends in the restaurant and being able to come back to that year after year. Our last year was when I was twenty-two. I am now twenty-four. My parents have moved and the restaurant is a memory. However I am trying to maintain the tradition that the restaurant came to be but instead of going out to eat my friends and family enjoy my cooking around my table. A tradition lost and a new tradition found. Unfortunately my pasta never turns out as good as theirs!!

  423. Suzi says:

    My favourite holiday memory is the last one I spent with my Papa. I just remember he was fragile but he was so excited to spend the holiday with us. I have a photo of our time together and I got it framed and have it hanging up to remind me of that special time. I love him and miss him tremendously!

  424. Sara says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the year my younger cousin and I got matching everything. We were just over a year apart in age, and both super into American Girl dolls. Our parents and shared set of grandparents got together and bought us each a new doll, handmade a ton of clothes, made matching wooden beds and trunks to store everything in, and surprised us both on Christmas Eve at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. We were both so excited that we never slept that night. We both stayed up and played with our dolls and all their new goodies all night. By ourselves, in our own homes.

    Even today, though I have a strained relationship with my grandparents, I often think back to that Christmas with joy and a heart full of love. And my cousin and I still giggle over how obsessed we were with those dolls, nearly 20 years ago.

  425. Bonnie says:

    Love celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with my family – extending Christmas past December 25th into January. A wonderful way to spend time together.

  426. Nga says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when I was about 8 or 9 and had my first experience with snow. We lived in Louisiana at that time so it was a big deal when it snowed! It only really snowed about 1 or 2 inches but it was enough that we were still able to to make a 2 feet snowman. My siblings and I along with my dad had such a great time playing in the snow. After playing in the snow for hours we were treated to a big bowl of pho by my mom.

  427. Caitlin C says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is from when I was very young. We were staying at my grandmother’s house in Rhode Island, and there was a loft-style landing just outside the bedrooms that overlooked the the living room. My family always waited until after all us kids had gone to bed on Christmas Eve to put out presents (something my parents still do, actually – I’m 30 and my brother is 26…). I went to bed, and stayed up for hours tricking myself into thinking I could hear sleigh bells. Of course, I woke up at some ungodly hour on Christmas morning. The house was dark except for the Christmas tree, and underneath the tree was this impossible, glittering mountain of presents that seemed to spill out into half of the living room. I felt like I was in the Nutcracker, when Clara creeps out of her room – it’s dark and snowing outside and a spell is cast and suddenly magical things start to happen all around her. It was just so otherworldly and surreal to my little child-brain. I always hope I can find that feeling again for just a second every Christmas.

  428. christina p says:

    My favorite holiday memory was with my sister on Christmas Eve when we were little. We were convinced to see Santa that night so we slept in our sleeping bags near the Christmas tree. It was nice to have the Christmas lights on as our nightlight. Of course, we didn’t see Santa because we were exhausted from the day’s activities!

  429. Callie says:

    My family and I always cut down our tree, and when I was younger, my older sister and I couldn’t get along long enough to choose a tree. After many tears and mean words, we finally chose one and headed home. After setting up the tree, my mother, who was trying to dance to some Christmas music (she can’t dance- at all), ran into the tree and knocked everything down- onto our cat. Both of them were fine. I don’t remember laughing so hard at anything in all my life.

  430. Ben says:

    Favourite holiday memory: heading up north to visit the relatives on their farm for Xmas, and being such a city kid that the hair on the skin of the pork put me off.

  431. Iona Gitt-Henderson says:

    My family only puts up our Christmas tree on the 23rd. The grownups (13 and up) put up and decerate it at night, and the next morning the kids wake up to a tree brought by the “pixies”. When I was ten my siblings and I woke up to a small scrawny tree that was not even a proper pine tree, but a stinky ceder. Little did we know that my dad had gone out to by a tree that day and had found that they were literally all sold out. That evening he had to go out in the dark and cut down a tree, ceder was the only option on our property! All us kids complained that the “pixies” had let us down and dramtically held out noises when we walked passed it. But now that I know the whole story, it my favorite tree

  432. Dana S says:

    I decided on a whim to move to Australia s few days after college. I had a big party and said bye to all my people here. then I flew on Christmas Eve and when I got to Australia, Santa was wearing a bathing suit and sunnies. I made a few friends that day and we just celebrated being young and in such an awesome place. it was a great memory!

  433. Natalie says:

    My favorite holiday memory really happens every year. Its putting up the christmas tree with my mom and sister. We put on music, make a fun cocktail or grab a beer, and start decorating. Its always a lot of work but feels great in the end to spend time with them and see the beautiful tree in the end :)

  434. Brenda says:

    My birthday is on Christmas Day, so it’s always an extra special day for me. And I get to share the day with my sister-in-law, who is also a Christmas baby!

  435. Ashley Cook says:

    My favorite holiday memory goes back to being so young that I couldn’t read but found myself reading aloud a very much improvised letter that Santa had sent to me going over my past grievances of the year such as Santa apologizing that I was sick, ect.

  436. Joan says:

    My favorite holiday memory was about 5 years ago when I found an old VHS recording of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I remembered loving that movie as a kid so my family decided to sit down and watch it. It was a little scratchy the whole time and when we got to the part of the movie where the abominable snowman attacks the reindeer and Yukon Cornelius falls off the cliff…it just wasn’t there! I thought it was a mistake in the tape (it was on VHS after all) so I rewound and tried again. At that point my parents informed me that, no actually it wasn’t there. I was so scared of that part of the movie as a little kid that they purposefully didn’t record it. We laughed about the things that scare us when we are little and I really appreciated what my parents did for us kids. Even if it meant forever not watching an important scene in a movie.

  437. James says:

    My favorite memory was when I had my first holiday chocolate from those Whitman’s Sampler boxes, all for me! I used to guess which were the delicious chocolates with the caramel fillings, and the terrible ones with the dehydrated coconut. I may have been less than 50/50 on it, but it was still good fun!

  438. Linda Marshall says:

    I have so many Christmas memories that it is impossible to choose a favorite. You see, I am a mother of six, and grandmother of seventeen beautiful children. We have been able to spend every Christmas Eve together. To an outsider it seems chaotic and loud but it is heavenly music to my ears.
    Singing, laughing, dancing and playing together is our favorite way to spend the holidays.
    Our numbers increase each year with new babies, new spouses, and often some friends, both new and old. We are a family. I couldn’t ask for more. I am so very blessed and grateful.

  439. Caroline Liu says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories was when I was a little girl on Christmas Eve. I’m the youngest of three, and my older sisters (one four years older and the other seven years older than me) have always been careful to nurture my youthful naiveté. So we were all sitting around watching ABC Family’s usual holiday movie marathon on the couches, when one of them made some sort of comment along the lines of “I can’t believe some kids still think Santa exists,” and the other agreed. I, being the little sneak that I was (and understanding that Santa didn’t exist), responded with utter shock and surprise. “What do you mean Santa doesn’t exist?” I said in my most convincing I-am-such-a-confused-and-let-down-little-girl voice. They made panicked eye contact with each other and tried to drop the topic as quickly as possible. To keep up the act, I set out a plate and glass of milk for Santa, too.

    The very next morning, I found the plate was empty (besides some carefully arranged crumbs), the glass was empty, and a little note was left beside it. The handwriting was obviously one of my sister’s, but I’ll never forget how much concern, love, and patience they had for me and for keeping my idea of Santa alive. My parents weren’t around much while we were growing up, but I’ve never felt anything less than loved during the holidays.

  440. Rachel says:

    My grandma’s holiday cookies! She would spend weeks making tons of different cookies and then package them up into tins to give to her friends and family. Each tin was slightly different and had so many wonderful cookies. You could feel her love for cooking, holidays, and the ones she loved.

  441. Nathan says:

    My favorite holiday memory is indeed food-related. I love eating pumpkin pie and/or apple pie (with ice cream) by the fire in the living room. One of the few times where I really felt like I could lay there forever. Super awesome memory and it’s one of my favorite things to do, still. A blanket on my feet and laying on my side in front of the fireplace w/ pie…I like.

  442. Kate Taylor says:

    My favorite holiday memory is my moms traditional English Christmas pudding. When I was kid I loved watching the flames flicker when it was lit on “fire” after being soaked in brandy.

  443. Mary huang says:

    My fav memory was my first Christmas in America. My parents did not have much money because they were students. But they managed to put many presents under the tree for me to experience the American tradition!

  444. caroline k says:

    My favorite holiday memory was not a favorite moment growing up. Every Christmas morning, my dad would BLAST Luciano Pavarotti singing “Oh Holy Night”. That was his favorite singer majestically singing his favorite Christmas song. He loved to put on that record at the loudest volume possible and thought it was a wonderful way to wake up the family. Except when we were younger, my brother and I thought it was just a strange guys singing and the older we got, the more annoyed we got that we had to wake up so darn early instead of sleeping in. Bunch of grinches! But now that were all grown, just hearing the opening notes of that song bring back such a visceral reaction (in a good way). Although I won’t blast the same song to wake up my own kids (not very original), I do play it when we decorate the tree and I tell them the story (every year) and play their grandfather’s favorite Christmas song… Maybe one day they’ll carry this as part of their holiday memories.

  445. Mary says:

    Every Christmas my family would get together at my grandparents house in a small country town. I have countless memories from that place, but one that comes to mind was the year that my uncle hitched his horses to a big trailer and we all went for a hay ride after dinner and opening presents. The stars were out and we sang Christmas carols the whole way

  446. Catie says:

    Snow on Branches!!

  447. The holidays growing up were pretty typical. When I was young, I’d stay up watching A Christmas Story on repeat until I couldn’t wait up for Santa anymore. Once I got too old to wait up for Santa, I continued watching A Christmas Story on repeat because Santa or no Santa, that is a great movie and a fantastic tradition.

    I got to open one present on Christmas Eve (usually the biggest one) and the rest Christmas morning, and while my family only consisted of my parents and myself, it was usually just my mom and me since we owned a restaurant, so my dad was always there; except for Mondays. On Monday’s he’d spend hours in our kitchen at home, trying to teach me how to tie a rotisserie chicken or how to make stock with it’s bones, but as a kid, I showed little interest.

    As I grew older, I formed a passion for cooking, and as my dad got older, he formed a passion for messing with me. After he retired and I graduated college, all I wanted to do was learn his recipes. I’d beg him to teach me one of the classics and he’d promise to teach me after I got back from lunch with my mom or meeting up with a friend. Almost every time I’d come back and he’d be so far into the prep, he’d just respond with, “I’ll teach you how to make _____ next time.” I started to realize that he was keeping his recipes from me! I think it was payback for spending so many years not interested in the art of culinary technique that now that I was ready, pen and paper in hand, eager to scribble down just one classic Chef Paul recipe, he was able to hold it over my head.

    This went on for years, I started following other culinary idols, even started a food blog of my own and sent him the link. That holiday I went home like I do every year, I was sitting in my room, listening to the faint sound of Christmas music playing from the kitchen. Come Thanksgiving our local radio station plays non-stop Christmas music and you can be sure that it stays on our kitchen radio all through Christmas Day. My dad walked in and said, “Are you ready?” I remember not knowing what he was talking about, no context, nothing. “Come.” It was all he said as he walked towards the kitchen, and I knew – it was time! I grabbed a scrap of paper, a pen, and ran after him. When I got to the kitchen he was already grabbing canisters out of the pantry, without as much as a, “Are you ready?” he started. “First you add the flour, 2 cups, then you add the chopped walnuts, sugar, butter..” It was all happening so fast, finally! But wait, how much sugar? “Hold on dad, repeat that.”

    He turned to me with a straight look on his face. “Hold on to what? Chef Paul doesn’t wait. I hate to wait.” And then he continued on. It wasn’t until we were rolling the dough in cellophane that I realized, we’re making his Walnut Sables! Every year now that I come home, he lets me in on one more recipe, it’s become my new favorite Christmas tradition. One might argue it’s even better than A Christmas Story on repeat.

  448. Elizabeth RC says:

    My beloved aunt visited but planned to return home a couple of days before Christmas. But then a surprise snow storm arrived, bad delayed her flight which meant she spent Christmas with us! It was a gift to us both!

  449. Rachel says:

    My mom’s side of the family usually gets together for Christmas and one of my favorite times was when we all stayed at a cabin in Oregon. My cousins and I got to go snowboarding down the slopes and we would always end the nights playing card games with the aunts and uncles.

  450. Dan Sullivan says:

    My favorite holiday memory was waking up early on Christmas morning to see all the homemade cookies eaten and get a personalized note/poem from Santa (a.k.a. my father). I would anxiously wait for hours until my whole family woke up and I was finally allowed to open presents

  451. Bennett says:

    The anticipation as a kid, counting down the minutes until school ended and winter break began. Then seeing the whole neighborhood blanketed in snow, ready for snowmen and snow angels and sledding. Playing in the snow until my hands and feet were numb, just in time to come inside by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Everyone happy and free of stress.

  452. E says:

    making a 15 lb brisket sous vide and sharing with friends. Served with just white bread, sauce, and pickles

  453. Vanessa Y. says:

    My favourite holiday memory is finding the perfect gift for the people i care about. I can really feel the connection between my mind and their’s when I’m picking out something special.

  454. Debbie R says:

    Baking cookies with family is my favorite memory!

  455. Katie C says:

    Every year when I was a child, my mom would take me and my sister to the small local shopping mall where Santa would arrive by HELICOPTER! It was mind-blowing :)

  456. Stéphanie says:

    Once with my parents, we went in holiday to go skiing. We arrived in our montain cabin but there was no electricity. So my father and I started to search the electric meter … we found a door under the montain cabin and started to remove snow by hand to open it. After much effort we succided, my father came down but find nothing.
    I had to pull with all my strength so he can go back … during this time my mother found the electric meter in the kitchen ! Finally
    We were exhausted but hilarious to have done all this for nothing , fortunately a hot chocolate (or hot wine) comforted us.

  457. Hannah says:

    My favorite memories of the holiday season are my mom’s Hanukkah parties (friends, family, and the best latkes in the world) and going to get dim sum with my family on Christmas. I come from a bit of a unique background (we all do in our own way), and I love being reminded of my family’s special traditions during this time of year. Many of them revolve around food, which is part of the reason I love your blog! Keep up the good work!

  458. Marcy says:

    While celebrating with my in-laws, all of the adults donned winter clothes and headed out into the backyard to build snowmen together. My brother-in-law built a GIANT snow-Godzilla with small snow people running in terror. It was the most fun I have ever had with my in-laws!

  459. Jodi Howe says:

    My favorite memory is going to my Great Grandmas house on Christmas morning and seeing rows of coffee cans lined up for the grand kids. My grandma made those chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies every year for us. She did this till she was well into her 90’s. When she died that 1st year, there were no cookies. My mom now makes them every year for us and I have taught my daughter how to make them also. It is a very simple cookie that everyone makes, but it is the memories attached to those cookies that make them special.

  460. Kel says:

    When I was young we spent the day at my grandmother’s. It snowed and we lost power. We stayed warm by the fire and lit candles to see as it became dark. It was a lovely memory!!

  461. Anthony says:

    My favorite Holiday memory was reading the Night Before Christmas every year on Christmas eve. My brother, sister, and I would gather on the couch in our PJs right before bed and my dad would read to us. My dad gave me a copy of the book as a gift the Christmas that my wife and I were expecting our first child and now on Christmas eve my 2 year old jumps on my lap in here PJs and I carry on the tradition.

  462. Rebecca says:

    The first year my son knew the truth about Santa, but his little sister didn’t. He opened his gifts, turned to me, winked his little eye and said “Thanks SANTA!” He got both that the gifts came from us and that he shouldn’t ruin the magic for others.

  463. My favorite Christmas memory is when our kids were very little and they came into our room Christmas morning all excited about what they had in their stockings. It was a very fun moment.

  464. Lina Querry says:

    Growing up, my family’s German tradition was that Santa delivered both our presents and our fully decorated Christmas tree on the 24th. Conveniently, this always happened while we kids were out at the movies with our mom and we’d come home to beautifully decked out Christmas tree filling our living room. In the span of one afternoon my poor dad would haul the Christmas tree he’d already bought out of the shed, make numerous trips to the attic to fetch the 10-15 boxes of Christmas ornaments and decor, and then put it all up and tuck the boxes back in the attic so we’d be none the wiser. Once the myth of Santa was ruined for me (Oops! Sorry, spoiler alert!) it was my turn to join him and my older brother in an afternoon of child labor. The first year helping was a special one, both because I felt like I was in on the big secret and also because I was excited to surprise my mom and younger brother with the fruits of our labor. I also enjoyed having the power to choose exactly where my prized ballerina ornament went on the tree, or how far in the back I could hide that ugly ornament my brother made in 1st grade. The best part was when my little brother came home and couldn’t contain his excitement. There just might be an adorable picture of him doing a little dance in the doorway when he spied the evidence of “Santa’s” visit.

  465. Itzia says:

    my favorite holiday memory is christmas with the family a few days prior to our wedding.

  466. E Chon says:

    My childhood always had a bittersweet color to the holidays. Up until my sister and I were 7, our best christmas was opening a present of free handtowels. When my brother came of age to believe in Santa, my sister and I did everything possible to keep him believing. One christmas, my brother wanted a hot wheels razor scooter. My sister and I, who were 14 and 10 years old at the time, saved coins all year, went to the coin machine. Because we were the only people to take care of my brother, we had to take him along. We took a bus 30 minutes to the nearest Toys r Us, hauled it back to our little apartment: all while trying to distract him from our obviously large purchase from Toys R Us. On Christmas morning, he was so excited to know Santa came to our little apartment that obviously did not have a chimney. Whether or not he knew and pretended, or really believed, my sister and I were so grateful to my little brother for letting us do that for him. My sister and I still think about that Christmas with happy tears welling up in our eyes.

  467. Sara says:

    My favorite memory is waking up Christmas morning and my parents allowing us to have Christmas cookies for breakfast as we open presents! Double bonus….presents and cookies! :)

  468. Chloe Chappe says:

    Every year since I can remember, my family has hosted a giant Hanukah Party. I’m in my last year of college and the Hanukah party is still something that my friends look forward to as the event that we will all be reunited at. I don’t have a memory of the first party, but among some of my favorite parts of the party is the latke prep. My dad passed away when I was a kid but every year we make his supremely perfect latke recipe. My mom will pick up bulk bags of onions and potatoes and while my twin sister and I are shoving junk into closets, decorating, and vacuuming the house, my mom is popping those onions and potatoes into the food processor. The house fills with oniony tears and good latke vibes. We don’t start frying the latkes until right when people start showing up. My mom has taught me to fry them in sunflower oil and only for a few minutes so that they are perfectly crispy but still light and fluffy on the inside. Last year about eighty people showed up and we made probably over a hundred latkes. Every year the group of Hanukah celebrating friends grows but the feeling is always the same: everyone is smiling. When I was in middle school, one of the parents of my friends starting playing the piano and got a group of people to sing with him. That has become a tradition of the Hanukah party. I’m from Los Angeles so the holiday cheer does not include snow storms but it is always cozy in my house. The smell of fresh latkes and happy singing voices is my favorite things about the holidays.

  469. Chelle says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is waking up on Christmas Day at my boyfriend’s house and celebrating Christmas with him and his family for the first time. The love, laughter, and fun will stay with me all my life, and it was the start to our own holiday tradition. Now that we’ve been married for 3 years, each Christmas morning is something I look forward to every year.

  470. Brian T. says:

    Around the holidays each year I get together with college friends. Every year we do it a different friends house and there is a culinary theme. Last year was my turn and the theme was The Feast of the Seven Fishes. I cooked six courses of food from all over the world. Great dishes like Crudite with Tonnato Sauce, Brandade, Thai Calamari Salad, etc. The funnest part was dessert. We were able to get a Fudgie The Whale ice cream cake from Carvel. Definitely a new take on Seven Fishes.

  471. Yen O'Connell says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when all my family members on my mom’s side would have Christmas eve dinner at our place. After dinner, Santa would make an appearance, jiggle his belly and hand out all the gifts to everyone. I knew it was my dad (because Santa wore the same glasses as my dad). We had such a fun time.

  472. Kate says:

    My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies with my mom. From starting off barely able to help, to now being in my thirties and taking over most of the responsibilities, it’s still one of my favorite holiday activities.

  473. Liza Selwan says:

    Back when brothers and I were young, there was one year where my dad was in between jobs. He had a rough time at his old company and quit, which ruined a lot of financial stability that he had built up over the 10+ years working there. That being said, we didn’t ask for anything for christmas. Come christmas morning, boxes mysteriously showed up under the tree as every year. We were instructed to open them; and we each got brand new cellphones. Mind you, this was a few years behind the emergence of the smart phone, and a teenager having a cell phone was a huge deal. My dad started crying, he said he felt so guilty that he wasn’t able to provide the extravagant christmas presents because of the financial troubles. We all were blown away, because we didn’t realize how much pressure he had on him to provide. We all sat there and cried together, feeling pretty silly that we were all caught up and totally lost sight of what the holidays were all about. Gift giving and recieving is nice, but really feeling the love of your family and those close to you is the true meaning of the holidays. That year reminded me just how much I love my family and how I should cherish every single day with them, not just the holidays

  474. Emily says:

    My favorite holiday memory is waking up when I was little and thinking that Santa had really come. Christmas is a little more magical when you’re a little kid. Now my favorite memories usually consist of baking sugar cookies and other holiday goodies!

  475. Jessi Roe says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making candies with my grandmother and grandfather. I would make buckeyes with my grandmother a fudge with my grandfather. I carry on this tradition with my children and will continue it with my grandchildren when they come along as well.

  476. Tara says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the from the year Santa left snowy boot prints from the chimney all the way to the tree! In reality, our amazing dad had made them with powdered sugar, but to my brother, sister, and I as little ones, it was completely magical!

  477. Cynthia says:

    Making Christmas cookies a few days before December 25th has always been my favorite memory. My mother would patiently prepare the different cookie batters and my brothers, sister, and I would set forth cutting out and decorating tray after tray of cookies. Braiding the butter cookie mix ( 1/2 cream colored and 1/2 red colored) into candy cane shapes was always mesmerizing! Of course we always had to eat the broken cookies because you could not serve them to guests! My mom has always been the Best “chief Mom.” Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone.

  478. Daryl says:

    My favorite memory was when I moved from Scotland to Texas as a child. After having grand traditional Christmases in the UK, I was so excited for our first “American” Christmas. So I woke up Christmas morning, before anyone was awake and snuck in to see what Santa had left. I found a giant black garbage bag with random toys my parents bought from garage sales around the neighborhoods. SANTA was written on a tag in my dad’s handwriting. I guess that was my most “American Christmas” ever, and definitely the one that I remember the most.

  479. Darcie says:

    Favorite holiday memory has to be the nerf dart fights the cousins had after Christmas dinner. One of the aunts would always bring little nerf dart guns and BAGS of darts for us. We always had so much fun chasing each other around (and looking back, it was probably a way to burn off any excess energy we had!)

  480. Lee Ann Barker says:

    My favourite memories are of putting up the tree when I was young. We always had a live tree, which my sister & I would pick out from the tree lot (we lived in the city). We tried to pick a tree that my mum would approve of, & most of the time we succeeded. She would fuss about the best side for ages, & we’d string lights onto it. There was always a bickering, especially whe we couldn’t figure out why the %#*!& lights wouldn’t work, and sometimes my sister & I would fight about where ornaments were supposed to go. At the time, it was annoying & frustrating, but as time goes on, & my sister’s kids are the ones putting on the ornaments, I realise how lucky I am to have such a good family, bickering & all. I’m following you on Instagram, too!

  481. Erika says:

    My favorite holiday memory would probably be decorating the Christmas tree with my parents and sister. We’d listen to Christmas music and sort through the boxes, reliving the backstory associated with all of our ornaments. We’d laugh about the ugly ones or look at each other, confused, trying to remember others.

  482. Maggie C says:

    It’s hard to pinpoint just one favorite winter holiday memory. But the one consistent that always comes to mind is FOOD! It was never the holidays without loads of yummy goodies. My first kitchen cooking experiences happened around Christmas. I remember making sugar cookies with my mom. It was the first time I was left to my own devices to be creative and use whatever cookie cutter or decorating topping I wanted. I also remember the sugar cookie dough tasting amazing and being chased out the kitchen for eating too much cookie dough!! And it wasn’t just goodies my mom created. I remember helping my dad make homemade eggnog and learning the delicate art (or that it was even possible!) of separating the egg whites and yolks. This year I will be spending Christmas with my fiance’s family for the first time. They don’t really have the same Christmas food traditions of my family. So this year, my fiance and I are going to introduce that tradition because it’s just not Christmas without all the yummy goodies!

  483. Caitlin says:

    Helping my Dad stuff and then carve the turkey when it’s ready!

  484. Sarah T. says:

    All of my favorite memories are of the first snowfall of the season. It’s so peaceful and magical. :)

  485. Erin says:

    One of my favorite memories is when I was a little kid. I am the youngest of three and I definitely got picked on a lot by my older siblings (as I’m sure most babies of the family do!). One Christmas Eve, when I was eight, my parents went to bed but my siblings and I stayed up late playing games, shaking presents and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. It was a special moment for me because it made me feel closer to my siblings than I had before. Luckily, we all have a strong bond now that we’re older and all grown up :) But back then, it meant a lot to me and it’s something I’ll never forget!

  486. Jordyn says:

    My favorite holiday memory is wrapping gifts with my mom. She used to go all out – she would get multiple gifts for her kids (me included, but I wouldn’t get to wrap those), our family, teachers, friends, anyone in our lives that has recently said hello, basically. I was the only one of my siblings who loved to wrap and who shared my mother’s love and excitement of gift-giving. We would make hot chocolate, light a fire and sit on the floor in the family room when no one was home and wrap and talk and laugh.

  487. gira says:

    My family is scattered all around the world, so we rarely see each other during the holidays (always fly off-peak season)! But 5 years ago when my dad was sick, everyone came to Texas. We had 22 people in the house, and it was amazing. It was chaotic, but there was always laughter and good food (grandma’s cooking for the win). It was the best way for my dad to celebrate his last Christmas.
    One day, maybe everyone will be in the same country and relive the happiness of spending the holidays together!

  488. Phuong says:

    My favorite winter memory was going to Disneyland for the first time for Christmas as a child! To be at the most magical place on earth on Christmas Day was so breath taking because of all the amazing decorations and everyone there was so festive!

  489. Kim Wyllie Calloway says:

    Growing up, my mother made over 40 different types of christmas cookies each year.
    She’s pared it down to around 25 now, but it’s still the main holiday tradition in our family.
    Years ago, it was my grandmother, mother, sister and I helping. As a tiny tot, my main jobs were breaking up Hershey bars, grinding nuts and cutting circles of waxed paper. As I grew, so did my responsibilities – rolling out dough, cracking eggs into the mixer and dishes. So many dishes.
    Now when I come home for Christmas, my husband is right there with us in the kitchen, baking and frosting up a storm.
    The cast may have changed, but our sweet family drama is still going strong, some 35 years later.

  490. I’m not too religious, but I’ve always loved the midnight service. Holding candles and exiting the church onto the streets of New York with a crowd of other joyous people just seems to be what christmas is all about.

  491. Alice says:

    My favorite holiday memory is seeing snow for the first time on Christmas day. The first part of my life, I grew up in countries where there wasn’t any winter. By 7 years old, my family moved back to France, and I was waiting impatiently to see the first flake fall from the sky… I knew (saw it on TV) that many places in France had already had snow by December, but not our town. Snow waited for Christmas day to arrive to our place! Cliché huh? I was enchanted, I ran out and played catching the snow flakes with my open mouth!

  492. Ellen says:

    getting our big extended family together to do secret santa every year! my uncle video tapes the whole guessing game every year even though we’ve never rewatched a single year’s video.

  493. When I was 8 I had to share a room with my sisters I didn’t mind it so much because I got a bed to myself. (They’re twins and at age 4 they had this thing where they were inseparable so they shared a bed) This particular memory of christmas that I have is this. It looked like we weren’t going to have a christmas. My mom was pretty tough once she settled on a punishment that was it. We went to sleep on Christmas Eve believing there would be no Christmas. No Dinner, No Toys – No Tree. Me and my siblings woke on Christmas morning to our play area filled with gifts and she managed to assemble a tree and decorate that area for us. I don’t have many good “Mom” memories in fact this is the last good memory I have of her from my childhood. She managed to preserve the magic of Christmas while destroying everything else. I’m just happy she saved one thing for us.

  494. Sarah says:

    After visiting all of my extended family in Wisconsin, my parents wanted to get home so we could celebrate Christmas together at our house in Minnesota. But after being caught in a snowstorm and the drive taking longer than usual, they were exhausted and decided to try to find a quick place for us to grab dinner, forgetting that nothing would be open on Christmas. We drove around St. Paul for a while, when we came across the only brightly lit, lively building on the street. Upon walking in, we were met with big beards, curly sidelocks, yamakas and enormous smiles. We had walked into a restaurant in the midst of a large Jewish party and instead of asking us to leave, my parents explained their story and our family was welcomed in by this wonderful group of people and an amazing kosher feast. It was a completely unexpected and unforgettable holiday experience.

  495. Caren C. says:

    My favorite holiday memory has to be the time when my entire family and I, including my external family such as my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., headed out to the snow. It was on Christmas day and we all woke up early to open presents. Soon after, we packed everything and drove out about 2 hours from our hometown to the snow. The weather was perfect and I was ecstatic upon seeing the glimmering white snow. We rode sleds down the hills, built snowmen, and had snowball fights. Afterwards, we gathered at my cousin’s place and ate a delicious dinner. It was great spending time with the entire family.

  496. Teresa says:

    My favorite childhood memory is eating traditional polish food that my parents would make from scratch. Homemade smoked and fresh kielbasa, cheese and sauerkraut pierogies and borscht soup. This is the first year we have taken over the making of the hickory smoked kielbasa for the family. Quite the 2 day adventure to make 30 pounds of kielbasa. YUM!

  497. Nicole says:

    I don’t have any happy holiday memories from my childhood. But now that I’m grown, I can share the holidays with my husband and they are always happy.

  498. Kristabel says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making tamales with my aunt. I was finally old enough to graduate from cleaning the leaves to spreading the masa. I was awful at it! I spread the masa thick and uneven and I was slow. My aunt was patient and showed me tips and tricks. By the end of the evening I was a mediocre masa spreader! Whenever one of the tamales I spread was opened, we would joke on the amount of masa to meat ratio.

  499. chaya says:

    my favorite holiday memory is probably making sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) with my family! it’s like one big production line. one person’s frying, one person’s filling, another one’s sugaring, and yet another’s tasting! at the end, we all gather around the menorah with our freshly made doughnuts. it’s wonderful!

  500. Folu says:

    During my freshman year of undergrad, I lived in a suite with 3 other girls. “Suite” is a term that can only be used loosely because it was essentially two tiny rooms connected by an even tinier kitchen. By the time winter break rolled around, we were all ready to set each other on fire but we still decided to make & decorate cookies. We had a great time, gave the extras to our neighbors & ended up being closer for the rest of the year.

  501. Kasee says:

    I have a multitude of holiday memories, especially associated with food. Certain foods always bring me back to the holidays, as I’m sure they do with everyone. We go to my aunt Marci’s house every Christmas Eve, and while I gobbled down creamed corn with bacon (I’ve been begging Aunt Marci for this recipe for years, but to no avail!) and steak with homemade chimichurri sauce, we saw car lights off in the distance. They didn’t move closer to the driveway, so out my Uncle Jim went to check on potential visitors caught in the massive snowstorm. Turns out, in an effort to deliver last-minute packages, the mailman had braved the dirt road in the blizzard, and gotten stuck. My uncle, my dad, and the other strong males went out to help push his truck out of the snow. We all felt so sad for the poor mailman who had to work on a festive occasion. So he was invited into the warm house, given a place at our table, and enjoyed the holiday with us until the snow died down. A great, warm, holiday memory for me.

  502. Jose says:

    My favorite memory of Christmas was when I was around 8 or 9 and I was really into how Santa could get to all those houses in one night. Especially ours since we didn’t have a fireplace, but an oil burning furnace with a door. So I decided I was going to stay up and catch him coming into our home. My room was right next to the living room and I sat peeking around the door waiting for Santa to come through the furnace door. But, alas he was taking too long and I fell asleep. The presents were magically under the tree as usual and I never did see him come through our furnace.

  503. Melanie says:

    There isn’t much better than piling into my grandparents’ basement to gather around the tabletop tree and open presents. She usually reads the Christmas story, and we each open our presents. It’s chaos, with everyone talking and laughing and the kids frantically opening every gift in sight (whether or not it’s theirs)—and usually one kid crying at all times—but that sound, and the stuffed-in-a-basement feeling are my favorites of the holiday.

  504. Travis Hammond says:

    My Favorite holiday memory is of my son in Disneyland for Christmas. It will always warm my heart when I remember him yelling “Party, party!” as we walked throughout the park.

  505. Sophie says:

    My favorite winter memory is planning to catch santa with all my cousins. On Christmas Eve we all had different “posts”; someone looking under the tree, one person at the chimney, someone at the front door, and lookouts in the windows to spot reindeer. Then all of a sudden we heard bells on the roof and we all ran to the window. Magically when we went back there was a huge pile of presents under the tree, we were amazed. Santa had even managed to down the milk and cookies on the way up the chimney. This has to be my favorite holiday memory.

  506. piecrust365 says:

    One Christmas I tried a new pecan pie recipe and took it to my parents house for family dinner. The pie was fabulous. Two days later, my sister called. Her husband didn’t get a piece of the pie because it was gone when he hit the dessert table. Bummer. The next year, I was “ordered” to bring three pies.

  507. S says:

    My favorite memory of the holidays is from when I was much younger – around 5 or 6. Back then my parents still had a Christmas tree (we threw it out when I was 14 because the base broke, and never replaced it), and though my dad is a perfectionist who usually doesn’t let other people get involved in his projects, he always asked my brother and I to help decorate the tree. My parents had boxes and boxes of ornaments and lights and garlands and tinsel, and we would spend hours on the Saturday after Thanksgiving putting these all on the tree. Half of the ornaments were school projects my brother and I had created, and they hung off the tree in all their ugly, childish glory. My family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas – no gifts, no dinner – but putting up the tree is something I always remember as a nice, fun, family activity.

  508. Biswat Menon says:

    Being a first generation Indian-American and my parents having only recently come from India and not having experienced a real Christmas, there was always confusion as to how to celebrate the Holidays. It was usually just a gift and some of my mom’s delicious Indian food. We moved to New Jersey when I was 5 and had great snowfall on Christmas. That year, my dad decided to truly embrace the Holiday, get a real tree, and play Christmas music throughout Christmas Eve and Day. What I wasn’t expecting was the “squirming” present under the tree when I woke up Christmas morning. Buddy, my new Golden Retriever companion had been delivered by Santa to help me spend the Holidays. Suffice it to say there were too soggy best friends prancing through the snow that year.

  509. Mari says:

    My favorite holiday memory is finally eating our Christmas lasagna – it was painful since we always made it the day before and the waiting was nearly impossible!

  510. Molly Bethune says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making gingerbread houses with my kids. It was a spontaneous purchase of some kits at the store and lots of extra candy, but it turned into one of my best memories. They’re lots bigger now, but they still love that whenever we do it!

  511. Elisia Clancy says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making Christmas cookies every Christmas eve. They were always still hot when we left some out for Santa.

  512. Kate says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is just being cosy at home with my family. My sister and I watch the old rudolf claymation movie (that we taped in 1992 ON VHS) and eat peppermint ice cream. We’re all bundled in wool sweaters and cosy socks, and drink lots of cocoa and tea, and read books under blankets. On Christmas Eve, my fam just eats appetizers for dinner! Meatballs, coconut shrimp, cracker and cheese. Lots of cheese. We also love to put our cats out in the snow and watch them PANIC. :)

  513. Clarice says:

    One year, my family along with 12 others rented out a mansion for Christmas and celebrated together for a week! On Christmas, we all exchanged gifts and it was a blast!!

  514. AC says:

    Although I grew up in Taiwan, my parents celebrated winter holidays every year until our move to the States. I would try to stay awake all night on Christmas Eve hoping to hear the sound of Santa’s sleigh landing on our rooftop, but would inevitably fall asleep before midnight. Even though I never caught a glimpse of Santa in person, my Christmas stocking would be full of presents on Christmas morning.

  515. Lexan J. says:

    I have so many amazing winter holiday memories, but the best by far has to be the last Christmas I was able to spend in the Philippines. It’s expensive to travel there during the holidays – the airfare itself is pricey, and we are always expected to bring boxes upon boxes of gifts when we travel home for the holidays – but not your typical gifts (mostly every day items, like tooth paste, coffee, bars of soap, chocolates, etc). I’ve lived in the U.S. for almost all my life, but experiencing Christmas in a country like the Philippines has always made me appreciate the holidays so much more – it’s instilled a feeling of gratefulness for the opportunities I’ve had growing up compared to my less-fortunate relatives, and spending Christmas in a third-world country really puts things into perspective. There, there is less emphasis on gift giving and receiving, and more emphasis on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Young people don’t go out and look for the best party to be at, they spend their holidays at home with their families. My favorite part about growing up in a Filipino household during the holidays is Noche Buena, which is a traditional dinner that family and friends partake in on the eve of Christmas. I remember when I was much younger I used to be get annoyed that my parents would encourage us to wait until it was close to midnight to eat dinner, but now I see the role that this tradition has played in shaping how my family spends Christmas. Growing up, I was never on my toes about gifts, and I as I grew older I began to look forward to the times we would spend as a family as midnight approached. Especially in the Philippines, you see how people place more value on family instead of gift-giving during Christmas, and the memories I’ve had spending the holidays there with family is something I truly treasure. Being in the house that my mom grew up in and eating the same food on Noche Buena that she and my siblings grew up with is amazing, and it was always like I was experiencing the holidays with a new appreciation for my family. It’s been years since I’ve been able to visit the Philippines over the holidays, but year after year I grow more nostalgic for it.

  516. Melanie Zimmerman says:

    My absolute favorite holiday memory is going to the Christmas tree farm with my family every year to cut down a tree- Griswald-style!! :)

  517. Jacky says:

    My favortie holiday memory involves making (and eating of course) a ton of appetizers while spending time with my extended family on Christmas Eve. It has evolved into a serious tradition now, with some sticking to their old favorite recipes, and a few more adventurous ones trying new recipes every year!

  518. Adrienne says:

    My favorite holiday “memory” is always putting up the tree with my Dad. His trees always look like something out of a magazine and it marks the beginning of the season for me.

  519. Jamie says:

    My favorite holiday memory is my dog searching my his stocking (yes, he got his own stocking full of toys and treats) when we were kids. He knew he got one and my mom would always “hide” it for him to find. It was adorable! Then when he tired from all the excitement, he would lay between my sister and I while we decorated him in bows from our gifts. :)

  520. Alicia says:

    It’s all about family to me. I loved going to my grandmothers, this song would go through my head as we drove out into the country to visit her” Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go”.It still rings in my head every Christmas still.

  521. Erica says:

    My favorite memory is our annual gingerbread house building competition. You should know that I’m a teacher and created this activity, as well as all of the rules, and I am BIG on following the rules. We play in teams and scatter around the house, so while we can hear the other teams, we can’t peek at what they’re doing. My sister and I couldn’t keep the house up, so we broke a rule and put a pepsi can inside to support the walls. We thought we were so smart and we were definitely going to win. That is, until we all put our houses together for the judging and saw that my two brothers had built a house that looked EXACTLY like the pictures. I’ll never know how they did it! We were about to sabotage their house, when ours completely collapsed, exposing the pepsi can inside. It was a hilarious moment that none of us will ever forget.

  522. valerie agustin says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when my Uncles hauled snow down from the top of Maunakea and dumped it on my Grandmothers front lawn. We woke up to a white Christmas that year. It was amazing for a bunch of Hawaiian kids that had never seen snow!

  523. Kimberly V. says:

    My favorite holiday memory happened the year The Grinch came out. My brother is 14 and 1/2 years younger than me and so I was 25 and my brother was 10. We did our usual Christmas eve ritual of driving around looking at lights and reading The night Before Christmas and went to bed. In the morning when my brother woke us all up everything was gone- all the Christmas presents that were already under the tree, all the stockings that were out, everything but the tree and the book The Grinch Who Stole Christmas propped up under the tree. My brother was aghast and I was stunned. We went looking around the house and in the garage we found my parents 4Runner covered in snow! (Well fake snow- we live in Southern California!) We cleared off the windows and we could see there was a stuffed Grinch sitting in the driver seat on a huge present and the rest of the car was full of our Christmas stuff and all of Santa’s presents!!! We worked as a team and shuttled all of the stuff into the house, put the stocking back by the fireplace and arranged all the presents under the tree and then made our usual orange rolls and had the best Christmas ever!!

  524. martina says:

    Christmas morning, the whole family at the top of the stairs opening stockings. I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

  525. Jamie says:

    My favorite memory is when I was around 12 and my extended family went on a christmas cruise. I have 12 cousins and we were all old enough to not need adult supervision on the boat. We spent the days running around the boat and the evenings in the pool and jacuzzi because that was when the seas were the roughest and there would be huge waves in the pool. The cruise also had an unlimited supply of soft serve ice cream, which we indulged in every night, and one night it was so windy when we were on the top deck that my ice cream flew into my cousins face!

  526. I loved reading about your holiday memory! I certainly remember those calendars as a child and that my best friend always had one and I never did. My favorite holiday memory has to be when I was younger and celebrating Christmas morning. It doesn’t seem like anything too special, but I hold those days near and dear to my heart. I have two brothers, one 5 years and the other 9 years, older. While I was still young, the first one went off to college and after that it felt like the holidays changed. Every Christmas Eve, we would each open an ornament that we got to put on the tree. Then, the night of barely sleeping, much too excited for the next morning. On Christmas morning I loved waking them up to start opening our stockings while my mom prepared breakfast. My dad’s family is Norwegian, so we always had Kringla paired with the usual staples – scrambled eggs, sausage, & Belgian waffles. After breakfast we would then turn to open up the wrapped presents under the tree. The rest of Christmas Day would entail watching Christmas movies (usually my mom’s favorite – A Wonderful Life) and grazing on breakfast leftovers. We still hold the food traditions these days, but as we got older, it became less about the actions and more about just getting to spend the time we have with each other. Happy holidays!

  527. Mish says:

    Making too many Christmas cookies, every single year.

  528. Joyce Daniel says:

    I think every holiday is special. I love backing for all my kids and grandkids but this year Christmas is going to be so special. My eldest grandson is coming home on furloe before he goes to afganistan. This will be our last chance to see him until he comes back home. So needless to say I plan on making all his favorites before he has to leavr.leave. its going to be very special to all of us.

  529. Kelsi says:

    Even now at age 21, my family still wakes up early Christmas morning to start the day with breakfast and opening gifts. It’s a really small tradition, but something we still do every year!

  530. Perry says:

    Cooking with friends snowed into a tiny apartment.

  531. Jessica says:

    I think my favorite general Christmas memory was from the Christmas Eves when we were kids. Every year we would go to church on Christmas Eve and open presents after. Somehow Santa always came while we were at church! It was always strange too how my dad would make us get in the car and we would wait FOREVER for my mom to join us. That part became clear as I got older and realized that “Santa” was really my mom scurrying to set presents put before church ?

  532. Lauren says:

    I don’t know how to pick just one. My favorite tradition now is our Christmas Eve routine – it’s just my mom, sister, brother-in-law and I, so we go to an early candlelight Christmas Eve church service and then go out to dinner at a wonderful restaurant somewhere near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, which is lit up with beautiful Christmas lights on every building. It is fun to just relax and enjoy each other’s company while having a delicious meal in the prettiest neighborhood in town during Christmas!

  533. My favorite holiday memory is just a random, silly one. My grandparents used to always fly out and stay with my parents for a couple of months around the holidays, so I spent many years also flying back home for Christmas to see everyone. One night my mom, grandma, and I were just hanging out in the kitchen and for some reason that I cannot remember, decided to see if we could actually hang spoons from our noses (maybe my dad was watching tv and someone did this on tv?) And then it became a contest to see who could do it the longest. Well, my grandma was such a pro, and stood so still, my mom started putting a santa hat on her, then hanging a stocking from her collar, the wrapping a garland around her. My now-husband must have caught all this on camera because now I have a a framed collection of photos of all of us hanging spoons from our noses… plus a series of shots of my grandma in the exact same pose but with increasing Christmas decorations on her. It hangs in our hallway and it makes me laugh every time I pass it. Both my grandparents have since passed away, but I love that we had these silly moments with each other to remember!

  534. Cindy Lin says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when I gathering with all my best friends and we exchange gifts. It is the most exciting moment, because you don’t know who is going to receive your gift and you don’t know what gift will you receive either. For me the most precious part is not about what I got but the laughter and the moments is priceless.

  535. Meghan says:

    At the time when Razor scooters were THE toy to have, my four neighborhood friends and I all got one as Christmas gifts, totally unplanned, each in a different color. The next day we formed The Scooter Girls club and spent the next year riding around the neighborhood together, matching notebooks in hand, solving mysteries.

  536. Gustavo says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the Christmas Eve feast, where our large family comes together for a night of seafood– stuffed lobster, red wine-braised octopus, baked calamari, and you can’t forget the oysters on the half shell! It’s all about good company and better food!

  537. chip mccarthy says:

    I have created a tradition of making home made cinnamon rolls for christmas morning. they come out of the oven hot, I drizzle them with icing and with the early morning winter sun light pouring through our south windows you can see the steam rising into the air. The boys love to look at them almost as much as they love to eat them.

  538. Steve says:

    My favorite Christmas memory was going to my Italian Grandmother’s house every Christmas Eve. She would always have the most amazing food but especially the desserts. Her desserts all had weird names like nook or gabadio but they all tasted so great. Luckily someone in the family has carried on the tradition so my kids get to experience the same thing (without Grandma though).

  539. Nathan farkas says:

    My favorite holiday memory is going out with my mother into the snowy yard to collect snow for our snow milkshakes. We would come back and blend the snow with evaporated mill and peppermint candies…yum.

  540. Leah says:

    My grandmother lived with my family, and I used to love making latkes with her – she made mashed potato ones for the rest of the family and the shredded “hash brown” style just for me. She still makes them, but I haven’t lived at home in over two years!

  541. Justin says:

    My entire family including aunts, uncles and cousins would meet in NYC to celebrate the holidays with my great aunt and grandparents. Ever the gracious hostess, my great aunt would provide full spreads of food featuring her traditional German food like potato salad and Apfelkuchen. It was marvelous to get to play with my left coast relatives whom I would never see otherwise, and of course enjoy all that New York has to offer.

  542. Lisa says:

    My favorite memory is decorating my tree, it’s no christmas till the tree is decorated

  543. Kristen D. says:

    We grew up in the midwest and my favorite memories during the holiday season revolve around sledding with our cousins who would come to visit. One time we even got our adventurous cat to come on the sled! Unfortunately, the hill behind our house has now overgrown with more substantial greenery (not easily flattened!), but i have so many memories of trying to wait until the last moment to jump off the sled to avoid hitting a tree or running into the frozen creek. That, along with building snow tunnels and jumping off the deck into the snow pile- soo much fun and good family time. Plus, my mom would then make real hot chocolate for when we came in to warm up! so good!

  544. Rachel says:

    My favorite holiday memories are long drives every winter of my childhood to the SF Bay, no snow but a big house full of extended family, Norwegian smorgasbord dinners, and walks through Golden Gate park. Presents were opened Christmas Eve then the whole family walked down to the Lutheran church for midnight carols and accidentally falling asleep in the service.

  545. Will Milne says:

    My favorite Winter Holiday Memory was waking up as a 9 year old on Christmas morning to the smell of cinnamon rolls in the oven and then finding out that Santa had left my brothers and I a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There isn’t much that can beat out my normal excitement for homemade cinnamon rolls, but at the time, that gaming system did it. I’ve had many happy and memorable life events since then, but it is difficult to be more excited than a 9 year old on Christmas morning.

  546. Kim Kieffer says:

    Making cookies is always my favorite

  547. Lisa Evanoff says:

    Receiving a vanity when I was a little girl, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen

  548. Lisa says:

    Growing up, my family moved around a lot. We hardly ever had Christmas at our own home, but it was ok because we were always with family. As I got older, we started cherishing the little moments more often because as we got older, some family stopped coming for one reason or another. 7 years ago my now-husband and I decided to plan our wedding around Christmas because we loved the season so much. My favorite Christmas memory is the one from right before I got married. Everyone was at my parents house because they were also going to stay for my wedding 3 days later. Everyone made Christmas cookies together and watched movies and throughly enjoyed each other’s company more than anything else. Now 7 years later, my husband and I have 2 kids and we live closer to even more family and have been able to recreate many of the same moments we enjoyed before my weddings, but also including my 2 kids. My new favorite memory is being about to have my kids make Christmas cookies with hot great-grandparents and watching my grandma, who has had dementia for 5ish years, light up when she is around her great-grandchildren and watching my grandpa react to seeing his love of 65 years be able to be happy again. ❤️ Christmas truly is a magical time.

  549. Andrew Cintron says:

    My favorite holiday memory is waking up early before anyone else, and catching a peek of the presents under the tree. Now in my adulthood, I wake up to the smell of delicious coffee. Nothing else matters until that first cup!

  550. Kyla says:

    We don’t celebrate Christmas but for every December Holiday vacation growing up I got to go visit my dad in Hawaii for two weeks. Those days of brilliant sun, eating snow cones, and spending every second at the beach are such treasures. Especially coming from the harsh New England winters it was something I always looked forward to.

  551. Ray says:

    I had family in the hospital one christmas, a hospital that was a 3 1/2 hour drive from home. So instead of having Christmas at our house with all of the cousins, like we usually did, we went to my cousins house (which was much closer to the hospital).
    Now, we usually hung out stockings above my fireplace, but my cousins didn’t have one. So we scrounged together some cardboard and made a makeshift one. Come Christmas eve, I drove down to the hospital and picked up my family member, bringing them home so they could spend the night and Christmas day with the rest of the family.

  552. Bryn says:

    My favorite memories are all around the kids table. I laughed so hard every single year. My cousins are all hilarious and we rarely all got together so it was never a bad thing to sit there. We’d always get the giggles bc my grandma wanted perfection and our family never could quite get it together

  553. Joselyn says:

    My favorite holiday memory has always been taking the train down into Chicago with my family to see Santa and all of the amazing decorated windows on Michigan Avenue and State Street. We have pictures of my family and I with Santa every year since I was two! Now we get to take my niece and nephew and hand the tradition down to a new generation! It’s a really fun activity, and now that I don’t live near my family, I treasure it that much more!

  554. Kimberly Kennedy says:

    My favorite holiday memory was drinking eggnog with my grandpa on Christmas Eve. We didn’t have much but I loved him more then any amount of money could buy.

  555. Laura says:

    My favorite holiday memory is a tradition that my parents started when my siblings and I were little. Every Christmas Eve, we would be given a new pair of holiday pajamas. It was something I always looked forward to, so much so that I got upset when I became a teenager and my parents stopped doing it. I almost forced my mom to reinstate the tradition and now, at 19, I am the only one out of me and my two siblings that still gets a pair of Christmas pajamas. It makes the holiday that much more special!

  556. Carly Williams says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is dancing in the Nutcracker every year while I was growing up.

  557. Jen says:

    As my birthday is close to Christmas, my parents would let me pick half of my presents to open on my birthday and the rest would wait until Christmas morning. One year I picked a box on my birthday that had a Gamecube inside of it. I was thrilled, but I didn’t end up picking any presents that had Gamecube games in them. So the system sat in my room, all perfectly positioned and ready to go come Christmas. Christmas Eve rolls around and my parents say that my brother and I can open one gift, and my dad hands me a specific one. It was Super Monkey Ball. For once we didn’t beg my parents unceasingly to wake up, the next morning we happily played the game together for hours until my parents woke up to open the rest of the presents with us. Definitely one of the times we got a long swimmingly, they were few and far between.

  558. Micaela Erickson says:

    My favorite holiday memory graced me with it’s presence during a time I least expected it. A few years ago around this time, I was going through a pretty rough breakup. Like, a rug being pulled from underneath your lusty toes kind of breakup. Heart. Ache. [Ladies, ya feel me?] And while my world was spinning, the person who I always turned to during hard times, my older sister & best friend, was thousands of miles away backpacking South America. With the thought of spending the holidays at home in Wisconsin and my misery lurking around every corner, I did what any temporarily insane broken hearted gal would do; “One round trip ticket to Ecuador, please!”

    Okay, okay .. here comes the holiday cheer :)

    Alas! I landed in Quito, Ecuador and was in my sister’s embrace. She and Juan Martin, a friend she had met earlier in Argentina, who was gracious enough to host us in Quito, poured us three Fernet and coca colas and we toasted to what ended up being one of the most euphoric experiences of my life.

    Finally seeing my sister was joyful enough but the real magic came after Juan took us to the city of Banos for the weekend, when we befriended two fellow travelers; Natalie from Sweden and Peter from Australia. They were staying at the same hostel and the energy between us was incredible. So much that they both traveled back to Quito with us, where my sister and I planned to cook them, along with Juan and his family, a traditional American holiday dinner.

    The menu? A turkey, potatoes, vegetables and gravy. The problem? Turkeys are not an easy find in Ecuador, so much that both Juan and his family had never eaten it before. After visiting not one, not two but THREE grocery stores, we finally found our pavo (Spanish for turkey). This thing was massive! And frozen to the core. So we spent the next day thawing it out in a bathtub, with jacuzzi jets, each of us taking a turn flipping it over and changing the water.

    The next morning, we awoke to a perfectly thawed turkey. After a hilarious sigh of relief, we all began preparing our much anticipated American feast. That was until we realized that the turkey was bigger than the oven itself. Yep. Road block. With a lot more laughter and little macgyver action, we managed to get fit the bird inside and continued on our culinary quest. A few hours later, we all sat down around the dining room table, smiles hanging from our ears, in front of a beautiful display of food.

    Funny enough, it ended up being the most delicious turkey we’d ever had (shout out to Tom Colicchio for the recipe!) – and easily became the best story to tell this time of year. It went from being the worst holiday to date to the funniest, most exhilarating celebration surrounded by new friends, a loving family, my beautiful sister and one handsome bird.

    Ps: Steph, email me if you want to see some funny pictures of this going down. Naturally, we documented the whole thing. ;)

  559. Daisy says:

    Every year, my high school would organize an ice skating event at Wollman Rink in Central Park. My first year was also my first time ice skating ever. I was terrified of falling and making a complete fool of myself. And on top of this, my best friend (who had skated all her life) told me horror stories of falling down and having someone run over your hands at full speed with their ice skates! My first hour at the rink, I was glued on to the sides of the rink and nobody could convince me to try letting go. Then, my friends all came and pried me off the wall and I ended up having a really great time. I definitely fell down a whole lot, but I had such a great time.

  560. Belinda says:

    My favorite holiday memory is definitely playing our family games. Every year we share so much laughter. Just silly fun! And I love the holiday meals too. So many new memories and new recipes could be made with these amazing giveaways. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

  561. Kristel says:

    It’s really difficult to rank these but one thing that I remember fondly was on New Year’s eve, a few times, my Dad would take me to watch the fireworks and we sat in the car drinking hot chocolate from his thermos, and that he definitely spiked with a splash of Bailey’s, despite my not being anywhere near legal drinking age.

  562. Brian says:

    Once when growing up, my mother decided to forgo all of our traditions and instead have lobster and pasta for dinner!

  563. Courtney says:

    My favorite holiday memory — there’s been quite a few. Of course all the decorating, baking and bonding have been great memories. However, I think one that means a lot to me is from when I was around 9 or so. My family has never had much money and I think things were particularly difficult that year. However, my grandma had been in touch or was friends with a family (who we never met) and they sent us a huuuge box of gifts for my sister and I. They said all their children were grown and away and they wanted to do something special. It was a total surprise for us. We were young kids and never seen that many presents before, so we were ecstatic. That lovely couple actually continued to send us gifts for a few more years after and I’ve always been so fond of that, strangers to us doing something so kind.

  564. Sarah says:

    My favorite memory was when I went hiking with my family. We found a small path and followed it for hours. It was snowing and we ended up building tons of stuff in the falling snow. It was so simple, yet so fun. It was followed up with lots of hot chocolate and marshmallows!!

  565. Annamarie V says:

    When I was around 6 we came to Washington from California to spend Christmas with my cousins and it was a rare year that they had snow. We have lots of pictures of all of us kids sledding down a hill including my Grandma and a giant snowman we made.

  566. W. Louie says:

    My favorite winter memory was the year 2008/early 2009. That was the time when I met the love of my life. It was the start of a journey of many new things, from experiencing new adventures to learning life lessons together. We shared our first kiss in the snow during a snowboard trip!

    Fast forward to 7 years later, we’re excited to be spending our very first winter together as an official married couple, with many more adventures uphead!

  567. Alline Saylor says:

    My brother and I were bad when it came to Christmas. We would coordinate every Christmas to wait till everyone fell asleep and we would go to the tree and shake the presents trying to figure out what we got. The planning was the funniest part now that I look back.

  568. Becca says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making christmas cookies with my mom, now my daughter and I carry on the traditon.

  569. Lynn Andrews says:

    My favorite holiday memories come from my family’s Christmas party. We go all out and do a combined talent show and gift exchange. One year, my aunt and uncle decided to do an old timey radio story presentation, sound effects and all, and it was hilarious. The family party is one of the things I really miss now that I live across the country.

  570. Geoff says:

    My favorite memory of Christmas was when I was a little guy, no more than 6 or 7. All my friends had picked up a Nintendo (old school 8-bit system, the NES), over the previous few years. I was the only one left of my friends to not have one. I would go over to thier houses and try to play. Enevitabley, they would end up playing and I would watch. It was killin me (I know, first world problems, huh?). So my Mum, or should I say, Santa, decided to fix that. On Chirstmas morning I woke up to find an NES system right there under the tree—Duck Hunt and Mario! It’s been a love for me ever since. I’m all grown up and still play video games (and I mean it in the best possible way… Seriously, I love um!). Thanks Mum!

  571. Debbie D says:

    I have several favorite holiday memories, but they all have a theme. Food and family. My relatives (including me) would get together and have our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. Bacala (fried cod fish), along with the bacala in tomato sauce that we would pour over pasta, anchovie and bread crumbs saute’d in a little olive oil (the anchovies were cut up and you couldn’t really tell they were in there) and that topping poured over pasta (there was a specific type of pasta for each of these toppings). My Grandfather would pour a little red wine into our milk glasses when we weren’t looking (which of course ruined our milk–yuck!). There was fried bread dough, cannoli, candy from Italy, Italian cookies, cooked broccoli that was saute’d in olive oil and garlic, cooked cauliflower that was saute’d in olive oil and garlic, chunks of sweet anice for people to eat, salad made with olives and just olive oil and garlic for the dressing–in essance a ton of delicious food and plenty of love to go around. Afterwards, while the women cleaned up, the men would have fruit in their wine and talk or play cards. When clean up was done, then the music would start. There was dancing, furnature was moved to the sides of the room, carpets taken up and I would get to dance the tarrentella with my Grandfather. Ah, the memories make me want to cry, I miss them so. Bittersweet. We would then open presents and then off to midnight mass and home to bed. I still make all the traditional foods from my childhood, minus the red wine in the milk. YUCK!

  572. Jennifer Roddie says:

    One Christmas we traveled to our aunt’s rural home in Oklahoma. It was that unusual Christmas when everyone could be there, so we had a houseful. Our aunt, who unfortunately was not a cook, decided to try roasting the turkey in a paper bag. Flames were soon licking the ceiling, and we were just short of calling the fire department before the fire was put out. The fun part was that we all had a great laugh enjoying each other more than ever and ate all the potluck sides we could without missing the turkey.

  573. Anna says:

    Since Hanuka was the holiday of choice for us i remember one time my mom was making homeade Sufganiot (the Hanuka donut thingie). We’d bern on ourbest behavior all day waiting for those pillowy puffs dusted in powdered sugar. My mom isn’t the best cook when it comes to a anything doughy but made the effort to make us happy. After along anticipated wait she pulled them out of the oil, dusted with the sugar and we all feastively lit the Menora and sang songs. Not to mention reached for a fresh sufgania. We all had the exact same face when we sunk our teeth into it: “oh sh#$%, what now?”. It was burned on the inside and raw in the middle and we gulped it down…to make her happy.

  574. Lauren says:

    When I was little we would go to my grandfathers house in a small crowd and eat Manicotti every year. When I was about 12 years old we spent Christmas with my cousin, an excellent cook with the largest kitchen I had ever seen and he began to teach me how to cook that day. Among the unbelievable spread of food was king crab legs, stuffed artichokes, my great aunts meatballs, pasta, and antipasto, and filet mignon… It was the most I had ever eaten!

  575. Lisa L says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories is my mom opening up a gift she bought herself. She and my dad usually buy Christmas gifts for the family together, and that year she’d pointed out to him what she wanted. So, they wrapped it up and put it under the tree. When she opened it she made the best fake surprise face to rival any real surprise face.

  576. Sarah says:

    My favorite holiday memory is going to my grandfather and uncle’s on Christmas Eve. They hung our stockings up in the bedroom we stayed in as kids, aptly titled “the kids room” and we would each run in the room the second we got to their house and tear through them. Next my uncle would make his famous cream of tomato soup and we would eat that as a prelude to Christmas Eve dinner. Which was usually prime rib sandwiches with *gasp* Cheez wiz on them. Then we would open up our presents and play games together for hours. Such special family time that I truly miss now that we are all older.

  577. Tara says:

    My favorite holiday memory is Sister Cookie Baking Day. My 2 sisters and I take a weekday off right before Christmas and spend the entire day blasting Christmas music and baking dozens and dozens of cookies together. I buy us each a pair of cozy socks every year for the occasion and we always watch Love Actually and Little Women during the day while we bake. It is one of my favorite days of the year.

  578. Laura W. says:

    My favorite memory is making and decorating sugar cookies with my mom when I was a child. In retrospect, I know they looked horrible, but we had such fun “decorating” them.

  579. Jay says:

    Ooh, the one Christmas it snowed when I was little! Getting up at 5am, waking up my very irritated parents, and opening presents before going sledding and coming inside to hot chocolate…and a full Chinese breakfast, congee and all. The next year my parents were not so amenable and refused to get out of bed so we ended up eating bananas while opening presents at noon.

  580. Joycie K says:

    My favorite memory is my mom baking lots and lots of cinnamon bread to give to neighbors and family. The house smelled so good. And my mom would cut really thick slices for us! I really miss her.

  581. Zoe says:

    I will always remember going to my great grandmother’s house on Christmas eve for ham and presents. She has been dead for about 14 years now but I will always remember her around this time of year

  582. Stephanie Olmsted says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is from my childhood. On Christmas Eve we would always spend the night at my grandparents house for a Christmas party. We would play with our cousins and then go home later that night. My brother and I would go house and sleep in his room that night because we were making our “Christmas Plans.” His room had a balcony down to where the tree was and we were going to stay up all night so we could catch Santa leaving presents. BUT if we happened to fall asleep… Whoever woke up first had to wake the other person up. Then we would go get our stockings and sort all the presents. When my parents were woke up a bit later we would rip into those presents.

  583. Christina says:

    My favorite holiday memory has to be experiencing the snow for the first time after moving to the east coast for college. My friends and I ran around making snow angels and climbing hills of snow piled up around campus, and ended the day with Secret Santa, laughing at some of the gag gifts that were exchanged.

  584. Ally says:

    Once all the cousins got older, we decided to have themed Christmas Eve parties where everyone dresses in costume, we eat themed foods, and we play themed games. We’ve had “I’ll Be Gnome For Christmas” and “My Big, Fat, Ancient Greek Christmas,” to name 2 of my favorites. It’s something weird that I look forward to every year!

  585. maren says:

    my fav holiday memory is making lefse with my family. it’s the only real yearly tradition we have – and it involves cooking (the best part!) lefse is like a thin tortilla, but made from potatoes and flour instead of corn. it’s a norwegian food, which holds special meaning to us because my grandmother is norwegian. it’s served with a variety of foods (my fav being just simple butter and sugar) – just slather some on and roll it up! the lefse griddle we use was purchased by my parents on their honeymoon and (hopefully!) it will get passed down to me some day. making lefse is at least a half day long affair and we always switch roles (someone rolls and someone cooks) and compete for who is rolling the best pieces. in recent years we have started to invite friends and significant others over for the lefse making day – our friends ask to be invited! christmas morning just wouldn’t feel like christmas without a piece of lefse!

  586. Tarn A says:

    My favorite memory was my niece’s first Christmas 2 years ago. She looked adorable I her red dress and loved all of the lights!

  587. Camille says:

    The most memorable holiday memory ever has to be the year my mother broke her finger trying to yank the sock of turkey bits out of the turkey, because she permanently damaged her hand and reminds us about it every year. Oh, wait…

  588. Jessica Karyn Reichard says:

    When I was a senior in high school, we hosted a foreign exchange student for the entire year. Ramiro is Argentinian, from Buenos Aires, and while he’d certainly seen a lot of holiday customs Americans have, he had never participated. From picking out and decorating a christmas tree to making gingerbread men and playing in 4 feet of snow, he had the child-like joy that I so fondly remember from growing up. He reminded me to be so grateful for the traditions and family I have, and I think of him every year we go cut down our tree.

  589. Matt Young says:

    One of my favorite Christmas memories involves my Dad forcing my brothers and I to stack several cord of firewood before presents could be opened. He would have the wood delivered in the weeks preceding Christmas day, dumped in our driveway. On Christmas morning we would don our cold weather gear, gloves, and fill wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow with wood, then dump it down a chute into the basement. After it was all transported to the basement, we had to stack it neatly, all of which took several hours. Although we hated it at the time, these times persist as a unique tradition for our family, time of character building and time together.

  590. Christmas Eve with my extended family. It’s the day we would open presents and all my cousins would play together with our new toys!

  591. Carla says:

    My favorite winter memory is taking spray bottles and filling them with food coloring and water and going outside to paint the snow!

  592. Jenny says:

    My favorite holiday memory is attending mass with my family. My brothers and I would get dressed up, eat tons of food at church, and we would always receive small gifts. We didn’t have much money growing up so it was a real treat for us to eat so well and receive a gift for Christmas.

  593. Linda says:

    So many great memories. Christmas was so much fun when we were growing up and it was less chaotic and more traditional and low-key in comparison to the frenzy these days. I loved trimming the tree and throwing those messy icicles all over it. I never had the patience to do them singly. And the great food. Homemade ambrosia with fresh coconut added and spending time with relatives who weren’t seen often enough. And the beloved TV shows and movies. We didn’t have 500 stations but we appreciated the opportunity as a family to sit around the one TV and share the time and pleasure. Great memories

  594. Mary says:

    I remember my late brother-in-law out in the dark and the cold of a Minnesota Christmas morning, making reindeer tracks in the snow for his son to find.

  595. allison says:

    does thanksgiving count? november is winter, right? i don’t celebrate christmas but thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and this year’s thanksgiving was the BEST. my boyfriend and i went back to arizona from the east coast for almost two weeks – it’s the one time of year we go home, and split time between his family in tucson and our family in phoenix. this year, on our first full day in arizona, we spent the late afternoon driving into the desert to a gorgeous look-out spot in the mountains, where he proposed to me as the sun was setting. it was lovely and intimate and very much us, complete with a few near mishaps that make us laugh now (driving west through windy, no shoulder mountain desert roads into the setting sun without sunglasses, being asked to leave the best lookout spot on the mountain because another person was there planning a surprise proposal, etc.). the best part was being able to celebrate in person with our families before heading back east. it was perfect.

    thanks for the amazing giveaway and happy holidays!!

  596. We always hosted an annual Christmas party with all of our closest family friends.
    The adults would talk loooong into the night while the kids played party games and watched movies…oh, such simple, happy holidays!

  597. Kama says:

    My favoirte holiday memory is when my nephew gave my son (who was just 2 at the time) a vntage replca popcorn machine. My son opened it up and then was so excited we tore into the packaging and plugged it in and got popcorn flying everywhere. The smile and look on my son and everyone else watching the excitement was just fantastic!

  598. ChristinaW says:

    Coming home for the holidays from college is probably my favorite memory. Just the feeling of being back in the house that you grew up in, sleeping in your old bed, eating familiar dishes and seeing your loved ones after months away. It wasn’t about the gifts received, it was just being together again as a family.

    Now, many years later, I really cherish those times. With a family of my own and my siblings with theirs, getting everyone together is very hard since we live so far apart. But, when we are able to get together, new memories are made.

  599. Conni says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the day I learned that Santa wasn’t real, because it was so funny. I was-and still am to be honest-a HUGE Santa lover. Santa was real and no one could convince me otherwise (shout out to my older sibling for helping keep this dream alive for so long) and we did the whole nine yards. Cookies and milk, food for the reindeer, a note, NASA’s santa tracker…we went all out. I was hella old when I found out–like 15-16–which may be embarrassing but whatever. That one fateful Christmas little 15 year old me was lying in bed trying to fall asleep as quickly as possible (Santa wouldn’t come if you were awake, duh) when I was dying of thirst. It hadn’t been too long since we went to bed so I figured I could run downstairs, grab some water, and zip back up into bed for the Big Guy rolled through. I snuck downstairs as quietly as I could and heard my parents talking (my first thought was that they were talking to Santa). I heard them trying to set up the gifts (we never wrapped Santa’s presents) and my mom dropped one of them on her foot. She screamed shit and my dad died laughing. I ran back up to my room and was momentarily sad before I started laughing because that was just the perfect way to find out the truth. But too this day, by siblings and I still roll out all the stops for Old Saint Nick, even if my parents are just going to end up pouring the milk down the sink anyway.

  600. Joanna says:

    Getaway holiday in Yountville, CA. Holiday lights, nearly empty hotel spa so management gave us a complimentary upgrade in room with some extras. Crisp day and crispier night, fell in love all over again. Wonderful places to eat, perfect wines to choose from, shopping, venturing roadsides, blue skies. That was the warmest in my hearts holiday and continue as a tradition every year.

  601. Rick A says:

    My favorite memories are spending time at our house in Mexico for the holidays. There are a lot of fun things going this time of year.

  602. Kelsey says:

    My favorite Christmas holiday…this one wasn’t actually too long ago, but growing up my siblings and I were all expected to play band instruments. We all played through high school but gradually lost interest. But a few years ago my parents’ church decided to put on a holiday concert, and invited the congregation to join in with their instruments. Naturally, my mother signed all three of us up without asking any of us. At first we weren’t real happy, but it ended up being hilarious, pulling out the band instruments after 10+ years, trying to remember the notes and laughing hysterically when we played the wrong ones. Great family bonding :)

  603. Adam Sorum says:

    Going ice fishing with my cousins at my grandparents lake house and cooking kippers snacks on the propane heater to eat with crackers. My grandpa and aunt were still alive and cracking jokes about drinking penis-colossus cocktails. (pina coladas) and previewing supper by scratching her butt and telling everyone the lasagna was made from scratch.

  604. Andrea Wang says:

    My favorite holiday memory happened last year, singing “Jingle Bells” with my grandpa. He was deeply afflicted by Alzheimer’s at this point, but music was able to unlock something within him–he remembered tunes and lyrics perfectly! A memory I’ll always cherish.

  605. Jennie says:

    The holiday memory my brother and I still love to talk about is from 1985 when he was 8 and I was just about to turn 7. My Mom had planned a shopping trip where we could help pick out some gifts, and we had plans to start the day with a breakfast out. My brother and I had decided after much intense discussion, that this breakfast was the best time to drop the big discovery we had made on my mom. After ordering our short stacks with whipped cream and strawberries- we took a deep breath and prepared my mother for the news to end all news. “We know there is no Santa” we told her, afraid for our little souls. I remember her trying to take the situation as seriously as we were, but she could not help but hide the smile she had that day at our horror to reveal the truth to her.

  606. Caroline says:

    Snowball fights!

  607. Heaven Lin says:

    I remember watching the snow come down and being so excited when I was little. Because I live in an area that gets cold (but not cold enough), the snow doesn’t fall often, and when it does, everyone gets excited for the upcoming day of playing in the snow. My brother and I built an igloo in the driveway (much to the dismay of our parents who made us move it upon completion) as well as a yard full of snow sculpted dinosaurs. Afterwards, my dad would come out and try to convince us to drink hot chocolate, but all we wanted was to take the fresh snow and put condensed milk on it, just like you would for shaved ice in Taiwan. Eventually, we got too cold and had to go back inside, but it was always worth it!

  608. Elise B says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is more of a tradition from my childhood. Every Christmas, Santa would leave us a gift and fill our stockings (pretty standard, yeah) but in OUR house, gifts could NOT be opened until everyone was awake and coffee-ed. BUT, we were absolutely allowed to open our stockings before anyone was up! So, every year, Santa would give my sister and I a movie in our stockings… that way, when we woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to open our stockings– the movie would buy my parents a precious 90 more minutes of sleep while we watched our movie :) Smart… smart that Santa ;P

  609. Liza says:

    I think my favorite holiday memory is when I got a pink mountain bike. Was probably around 9/10 years of age? Somehow my parents directed me into the dining room where it was located (not under the tree or anything). I just remember *screaming* and being thrilled. I took it for a spin on that cold, winter morning. :-)

  610. Mabel says:

    We didn’t really celebrate christmas grandly, but my birthday is a few days after it and I always had my sleepover parties with a bunch of my homegirls! Those were the days!! Now, I feel like I need an adult sleepover with snacks!

  611. Kaylyn Nguyen says:

    My family is quite large (12 aunts & uncles, 38 grandchildren) so we would all go to my grandmas house in Portland, OR (no snow just lots of rain) we would all gather & just play games & tell stories of our childhood during christmas eve. On christmas day we would have almost like a potluck & opening presents was always hectic because everybody wanting to open presents at the same time.

  612. Dylan Smith says:

    My favorite holiday memory has to be cooking breakfast for my family last Christmas. I was the first one awake, and I was able to prepare a whole meal of hash browns, sausage, potatoes, salt fish, dumplings, and boiled green banana. It was a proper Jamaican/American feast.

  613. Samantha says:

    Less a memory, more a tradition. Every Christmas, my extended family gets together at my grandparents house and every year after dinner we go for a walk around the neighborhood to walk off the meal and check out the Christmas lights. It’s nothing much, but it’s always something that I look forward to doing.

  614. Sarah says:

    Without a doubt my favorite winter memory is making cookies and gingerbread houses with my mom and brothers. She had a mold to actually make the houses (which was such a fun part) and you could do a Victorian Mansion or a Log Cabin. I could never get my house to stay standing which meant I just overloaded all sides with too much candy. My brothers and I always ended up with more frosting and sugar on our faces than on actual cookies. Now, its one of my favorite traditions, especially as I became a baker and my mom opened up her own bakery cafe.

  615. Susan says:

    As a Korean American who married into a big, loud Irish family, the best holiday memories seem to revolve around….FOOD! I’ve brought Kim Chee and sashimi platters and an omnipresent rice cooker into the meat and potatoes world of my in laws. One year I had a special giant jar of home made Kim Chee from my best friend’s mother. I totally hoarded that jar. It had oysters and slices of Asian Pear in it….but I digress. I went looking for it a couple days later, ready to make the mother of all Kim Chee Jigae (stew) and it was….. GONE. My father in law had opened it, smelled it, was nearly knocked off his feet (you know what I’m talking about!) and threw away the entire jar. I almost cried. I think my heart still regrets the loss of that jar. 10 years later, it’s a regular menu item. Goes perfectly with a roast beef and potatoes.

  616. Michele C says:

    My favorite holiday memory is connecting with all my children on Christmas Day and taking a family photo that utilized Skype. We had ipads and iphones going, Facetime and Skype and actually held the devices up so that my sons, who were in Korea and Oklahoma at the time, could still be part of your Christmas Family photo.

  617. Josh n says:

    I remember the joy of going up to the tree on Christmas morning and seeing all of the presents waiting to be opened. First my family would open the stockings and eat a tasty Christmas breakfast. After which we would be able to open our Christmas gifts.

  618. Julia says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is of a party called Turtleneck Christmas that used to happen in my hometown.This was a tacky sweater party before tacky sweater parties became as ubiquitous to winter as egg nog and candy canes. What started off as a small group of friends in a backyard about 12 years ago grew and grew until the last one that was held had over 300 attendees, a performance by a marching band, an open bar, and a petting zoo (for some weird reason). It was such a fun event and a great way of seeing all of my friends at one time since most of the rest of the time at home was spent with family. It was the absolute best party of the year, everyone I had ever known was always there, and it was such a strange/wonderful thing to look forward to all year. I really miss those parties, but I’m so glad I got to enjoy a few of them while it lasted.

  619. LeighD says:

    A favorite memory is of the dogs ‘opening’ their gifts. They don’t know what’s going on, but they love it.

  620. Chris says:

    My parents own a restaurant so my mom works on Christmas. Generally, our family spends our Christmas with relatives, but sometime after I started middle school, my dad and I started to spend Christmas just us two until the restaurant would close. My dad can’t really cook anything, so that first one he cooked Korean Spicy Ramen with eggs and he was so proud of himself. We ate it by the fireplace and drank beer with his old record playing Pavaratti. Then we roasted chestnuts and we got lazy and just cut them in half and ate them with spoons. I always think of that one when I think of a happy Christmas.

  621. Darren says:

    My first Christmas with my partner and inviting my parents, instead of going “home”.

  622. Laurel E says:

    My favorite memory is that my mother (who has now passed) used to put those Yes-and-No books with the amazing marker that would make words and pictures appear at the end of our bed after we had fallen asleep on Christmas Eve. She was convinced that it bought her an extra 15 minutes of sleep on Christmas morning. I do it for my own kids, not for the extra sleep, just so they know how my mom used to make me feel. Happy Holidays!

  623. betty b says:

    my favorite memory took place just 2 years ago. I don’t have a lot of family here. My daughter has a husband, her dad, her hubbys parents etc. So, she and I celebrated Christmas Eve and she made her rounds on Christmas day. It made for a lonely day for me. A dear friend and coworker of mine knew I was not looking forward to the day at all. Well, he came over that morning…bearing wonderful gifts and took me to his house where we spent the day watching movies. I will never forget his kindness and thoughtfulness. It is a favorite memory of mine always.

  624. Cindy A. says:

    My favorite memory involves unsupervised Christmas gifts, a roll of Scotch tape, and a perfectly placed living room chair. I may or may not have hidden behind that chair, pulled the gifts over to me, and carefully unwrapped them. I also may or may not have rewrapped them and slid them back under tree once I knew what was in the boxes. Unfortunately the family caught on and started hiding my gifts in the trunk of the car. ;)

  625. tema says:

    i made donuts for chanukah this year, and my husband took one out of my hand as i was eating it. golden.

  626. Jeanne says:

    The Christmas memories that I cherish most involve my family celebrating Christmas Eve in true Polish fashion. We would have our aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents over and the meal was completely vegetarian from the clam chowder to the pierogi (sauerkraut and cheese, never meat on this occasion). But the most special part was before we ate. Everyone would get a piece of oplatki–pieces of the unconsecrated/unblessed Communion wafer (host) printed with scenes of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. You would offer your oplatki to someone, who would break off a small piece, while you wished them something good (health, success, etc.) Then you would reverse the process. Everyone had to exchange oplatki and wishes with everyone else–it was very touching to have the adults listen seriously to the sentiments of the children and vice versa. Then, we would eat, though my poor mother would be stuck in the kitchen, frying batch after batch of pierogies. The meal ended with kolachky in all different flavors (because one uncle liked apricot, another prune, my father preferred raspberry, and my mother wouldn’t disappoint any of them). This memory is especially dear to me since my parents are no longer with me, but I still feel the warmth of their love and hospitality when I remember these Christmas Eve celebrations.

  627. Jessica says:

    One Christmas Eve, I convinced my brother, sisters, and cousins that the radio tower light outside of my Aunt’s kitchen window was actually Rudolph’s nose blinking in the dark! Despite the light having been there for years, we scampered up the stairs to listen for hoof and sleigh sounds on the roof. Christmas is lovely as an adult, but truly magical as a kid.

  628. Christina says:

    Cooking with my mom! We love to plan what we will have to eat, shop for the food, find new recipes…all of it!

  629. Kelly D says:

    My favorite holiday memory was our first Christmas as parents. My son was about 3 months old and we took him to visit family. Even though he was small, having a child made the holidays even more fun and memorable.

  630. Linda says:

    Every year we cut down our own Christmas tree on a farm, usually the week following Thanksgiving. I love it because we can spend hours walking through the farm, hot cider or cocoa in our thermoses, debating the merits of each tree.

  631. Katherine Park says:

    My favorite memory is of me, my sister and my grandmother decorating the Christmas tree. We were so young, so naturally we thought more (and shinier) was better. We would throw every garland, tinsel and ornament on that tree and stand back and admire our creation. My grandmother was too nice to say anything and would ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ right along with us. Looking back now, it was a hideous and gaudy tree but it still brings a warm smile to my face when I think of it.

  632. Laura says:

    The kids I used to babysit got me a purse full of random inside joke related items. It was so cute and thoughtful of them. Fifteen years later they still regift me the purse with different things in it every year!

  633. Terri says:

    Food. So much food!

  634. Ryder Whitmire says:

    My favorite holiday memory is cutting down our own Christmas trees with my dad when I was a kid. I grew up in Alaska, and we used to drive out to the airport in the middle of the night, pick out a tree, and cut it down. I would stand look out while he sawed it down because it wasn’t strictly legal, but it was a lot of fun!

  635. Addy Cummings says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is waking up with my siblings before my parents woke up to get our stockings, turn the oven on and pulling the sticky buns out of the fridge to finish proofing. Once my parents got up, our presents were sorted under the tree and the whole house smelled like the buttery cinnamon rolls in the oven.

  636. JP Manabat says:

    My favorite holiday memory is getting all dressed up on Christmas day to visit my ninongs and ninangs (godparents), my aunts and uncles, and grandmother and hang out with my cousins. It was sort of like trick or treating on halloween, only better.

  637. Mari says:

    I was a teen, sort of a late teen, when my grandma gave me the most hideous pair of BLUE slippers for Christmas. I mean they were BLUE. They were faux-fur too. :) Huge, thick bottoms and slide on style – and BLUE. (Did I mention that?) All I could think when I opened them was “What did I ever do to YOU?” (teens are ungrateful beasts, right?) Then I tried them on. It was like walking on the softest most comfortable clouds ever. I wore those things until they smashed down to nothing (and then got a hole). I wasn’t ever able to find another pair like them and I’ve looked for more than 20 years now. We still laugh about my face, I’m sure I was ridiculously shocked looking!

  638. Kirsten says:

    When I was a kid we would drive to my grandparents’ house. There were a zillion cousins, aunts and uncles. It was amazing, loud, fun. There was a children’s table in the kitchen and the “fancy” table for the adults. When we were little we loved being in the kitchen, but then you reached that age when you dreamed of the day you would “graduate” to the big table. There was fine china (which I now own) and at the end of dinner my grandfather would serve his plum pudding and our eyes would glow as he lit the pudding. A dessert on fire! How could that be? Now that my grandparents are gone all of that is gone, too. But I am thinking I might just have to learn how to make that pudding…

  639. kristin says:

    my favorite holiday memory/tradition is spending Christmas Eve out at my grandma & grandpa’s house with my cousins. We all partake in a delicious christmas dinner together, sing carols, play board games, and when the yard light dawns at dark we begin to open gifts. As I have matured over the years and gotten older, I almost find more joy in watching my loved ones open their gifts and the looks of joy on their faces, compared to opening my own! I love sharing the holidays surrounded by those who I love and cherish the most. On the way home from grandma’s house, it was always a thrill looking for Santa and the reindeer overhead. I was always convinced that some traveling airline up above with red lights was santa’s sleigh dancing around in the skies — to this day I still give my parents a hard time for ever letting me so convinced ;)

  640. sara haaf says:

    My favorite holiday memory was the awesome holiday parties my parents used to have for their employees and family at the bingo hall they ran when I was a kid. My mom rarely cooked at home, but with her background in catering, she could whip up some delicious treats at special occassions. My favorites were her mini cheesecakes and bacon wrapped around steak and water chestnuts.

  641. Farrah says:

    My favorite holiday memory was spending Christmas at my uncle’s house one Christmas and listening/watching in amazement as reindeer pranced on the rooftop (my dad and uncle) and sparks flew off the roof as Santa’s sleigh magically took off in flight (my dad and uncle throwing matches from the roof). Oh to be young and ignorant again ;)

  642. Kari says:

    My favorite holiday memory was a few years ago, 2010. I grew up in Minnesota but had spent the autumn in France working as an au pair. It was an incredible experience, but I was incredibly lonely in France. When I came home for Christmas, there was 3 feet of snow on the ground and i was so so so happy to be with my family again. on Christmas morning we woke up, opened presents and met up with my cousins to go sledding. It was something we’d done many times before, but that year was special to me.

  643. Bethany K. says:

    One of my favorite holiday memories is the year I learned there was no real Santa. My mother probably told me out of convenience, but I didn’t mind at all. That year I got to be her special assistant as she shopped for my younger brother and help wrap all the gifts. I still love wrapping gifts a little too much and spend way too much time making everyone of them look perfect and unique.

  644. Frank says:

    Christmas with my family hanging out by the tree with homemade eggnog.

  645. Michelle Whitmire says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when I was a child and my brother and sister and I would try and sneak downstairs to catch Santa in the act of delivering presents. We would never stay awake long enough to catch Saint Nick in the act, or our parents would find us and send us back to bed. It was fun trying to outsmart and out-hide them.

  646. Tali says:

    My favorite holiday memory is driving around to see all the holiday lights around town. My family is Jewish, so we never had a tree or lights at our house… but that didn’t mean we didn’t absolutely LOVE the atmosphere and getting in the holiday spirit. There’s one house in particular that always has the most amazing decorations, and it’s our must see every year. Is it creepy that we drive past this house annually? Maybe. Probably. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  647. Adelaide W says:

    My favorite holiday memory isn’t technically on Christmas but, just after Thanksgiving Day. My Dad grew up in Chicago so, every year we would go up north to visit all our family there. On each visit, we make sure to go downtown to see the beautiful window displays, see my Dad’s old stomping grounds, and eat delicious food. On one occasion in particular, my Dad wanted the day to end with us in Chinatown eating at his favorite dim sum place. He kept going on and on about how great it was, how much we would love it, and how he wanted to show it to us. After a long and very cold day, we took the ‘el’ to Chinatown to explore, shop, and finally eat dinner. Well, by time we get there, it is already dark (sunset at that time of year is around 4-4:30), it’s raining, and it is very windy. So windy, that it made the rain ‘bounce’ and hit us in the face. Yep, we were wandering around with it raining up, while my Dad tried to retrace his steps. He couldn’t remember the name of the place so, we couldn’t call, and it was pre-smart phones so, no-go on looking it up. We were cold, wet, hungry, and ready to call it quits on the whole deal. Just then, we saw a small shop ahead. We couldn’t quite tell what type of place it was (restaurant, retail shop, etc) since the glass plating was fogged up, other than it had an open sign. We thought, we’d check out this last shop and if it isn’t the one, we would go home, get a pizza, and call it a wash. When we walked in, I remember two things: it was warm (thank goodness!), and it was a restaurant (yay!!). There was no one else there and the owners couldn’t have been more thrilled to have business with the weather being so bad. They took our soggy jackets, mittens, and hats and laid them out to warm up, and served us hot oolong tea. We were so tired, cold, and worn from the day, that tea felt like the greatest gift we’d gotten all day. We ate some of the best food, and joked about how terrible our search went. We were probably a little delirious from the ordeal but, couldn’t stop laughing about how terrible it was that it was raining up! And, I may be biased but, that was some of the best dim sum I’ve ever had. Once we were full, dry, and warmed up, we layered back up, thanked the owners for their hospitality and headed home. Ever since, we’ve tried to track down that restaurant but, with no luck. At the time, we didn’t know where exactly we were since we were so exhausted and forgot to ask the name of the place. But, I will always have fond memories of that place, the kindness they bestowed upon us, and the warmth of that moment. To share such a funny, and almost beautiful, memory with my family is something I will never forget. I became an instant oolong tea fan after that moment, and every time I have it, the scent brings me back to that memory.
    Happy Holidays!

  648. Ryanne says:

    I carry on the tradition of pull apart coffee cake from my mom (a great cook) who carried the tradition from her mom (also a great cook). The kids ask every year – as if I’m going to forget – if I’m going to make it. We go through our stockings while it’s in the oven, have breakfast, and then tear into the presents!

  649. Matt D says:

    Christmas mornings at my grandparents and all the crazy cousins, aunts and uncles. We still make the sausage breakfast strata casserole every year.

  650. Michelle Monk says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when I was little and my parents were keeping me and my siblings up really late on Christmas Eve so that we would actually sleep through til the morning (we would always get up in the middle of the night). It probably wasn’t that late but it felt like about 3 am (it was probably ~9 or 10 pm). While we were all in the family room, someone knocked on the front door. When we opened up the door, there wasn’t anyone there but there were a few black trashbags filled with presents from Santa. He apparently couldn’t come in because we were all still awake so he dropped the presents off at our front door!

  651. Anne Weber-Falk says:

    My favorite memory happens every year. It’s the feeling I have after everything is done on Christmas Eve. It’s just me as everyone is asleep upstairs and it is so quiet and peaceful. The room is dark except for the tree lights. Christmas music is playing softly in the background. I love this just me moment before going up to sleep and then waking to all the hustle and bustle.

  652. Melissa says:

    My favorite memory is getting out of bed late Christmas Eve and finding my mom and dad putting out presents from Santa. I was four. Never told my brother and three sisters what I discovered that night.

  653. Stephanie Goldman says:

    My favorite holiday memory was visiting Washington DC and Manhattan over Christmas Break with my husband and two girls. Living in S. California, we often have warm holidays so my girls got to experience a very cold Washington DC and got to explore Manhattan after a night of snowfall. We topped off the vacation on New Year’s Eve with watching the ball drop in a very cold Times Square, then hurrying back to our hotel to warm up and watch the rest of the festivities in our cozy, warm beds.

  654. Nikki says:

    My favorite holiday memory is making homemade pizza on Christmas Eve with my dad. Mixing the dough, kneeding the dough, leaving it to rise as we went to look at Christmas lights. We came home to presents from Santa. After the excitment we would roll out the dough and make pizza. We were always starving by the time the pizza came out of the oven. It may not have been a “traditional” Christmas Eve dinner but it has become one now that the traditional continues on with my own children. A new mixer would make it all the better.

  655. Birdiebee says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory was in 1996 when our whole family was snowed in for several days which required everyone to stay indoors and enjoy in the food, games and family togetherness.

  656. Charlene Chow says:

    Probably like most people, I love the holidays. What better way to spend time with family than to stuff your face with them! Our house was always THE party house. We already have a huge family, but anyone and everyone was always welcome. Knowing this, my mom and I would start cooking/prepping in the wee hours of the morning. At first, as a kid I just watched, but as I got older, I started to help out and even contribute some of my own dishes. Without fail, the menu would include prime rib, ham, turkey, three lasagnas, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, sweet potatoes, some sort of veggie, clam chowder, 3 different kinds of pies, cheesecake, …, and the list goes on. It always seemed like a ton of food (which for most people it probably was) but every year me, my brother, my sister, along with our 10 other cousins somehow managed to finish the leftovers after everyone else had gone home. Someone would bring a new board game every year and we would hang out and play games, watch movies, and keep pigging out until the wee hours of the next morning. Doesn’t get any better than that! Now my cousins and I are all grown up and we all have kids, and I hope that the next generation will carry on our tradition as well!

  657. natalie says:

    My favorite holiday memory is of Christmas at my grandma’s house – we had too many cousins so the kids all did a “Secret Santa” exchange and she always set up crazy games to play – one of them was to tie a a small donut onto a rope and you had to try to eat it with your hands behind your back and blindfolded…. I feel like I could lose a lot of weight now if i ate all of my meals that way.

  658. Courtney says:

    One Christmas really stands out in my memory because, even as a kid, it made me realize how much my mom loved me and how hard she worked to make Christmas special.

    I know for a fact that she was unable to get a Furby until right before Christmas the year that those were so ridiculously popular. Of course, it was all I wanted and I was so certain that she hadn’t managed to get it because they sold out as fast as the stores could stock them. Christmas day rolled around and I was feeling kinda blue and got to my last present..

    Yeah, it was a furby. I screamed. I cried. I loved that thing.
    I have always imagined my mom ending up in a deathmatch (which she obviously won) in the last hours of Christmas shopping with the last shipment of furbies. She was a tiger and I miss her. She passed away in 2006 from cancer.

    Now I look forward to doing the same for my baby girl who was born in October. Luckily I have a few years to take kickboxing classes.

  659. justine says:

    I will always remember my family friend going to our roof and ringing bells for santa’s sleigh. It would be snowing outside and us kids really believe that is was santa and his sleigh on the roof – even though all the adults opened presents on Christmas eve!

  660. k.wong says:

    Hi Steph! Wanted to thank you for all the wonderfulness that is your blog I’ve got a pork shoulder in the Dutch oven cooking up some of your chashu right now, and it already smells heavenly!

    My favorite memory from winter holidays past is probably going outside to help my dad shovel the snow. When I was small, he gave me the kid-sized snow shovel and made me feel like I was actually contributing. After my sister was born, I graduated to grown-up shovels and helped to build intricate snow forts and igloos to hide in. Coming back in after the vigorous workout meant instant flushed cheeks met with hot chocolate and tiny marshmallows, courtesy of mom. There’s nothing like being a kid playing in the wintertime snow.

  661. Taylor says:

    My favorite memory was the holiday rush of working as a pastry chef! Work was always crazy busy (but the paycheck made it manageable), and I was in college, too, so exams were at the same time. I loved coming home on christmas eve night and finally getting to BREATHE! But I loved the crazy rush!

  662. Adabelle says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my husband and I would go to visit my mother at Christmas. Each year we would make her a new and different gingerbread house. She would laugh with us as we tried to figure out the best approach to stabilizing the walls and roof, and how to decorate the house, without having my husband sneak off with some of his favorite pieces of candy. She loved each house so much, that she would not part with them until they collapsed.

  663. Liz says:

    It’s a strange thing trying to pinpoint one perfect memory. Rather than one memory standing out there is a collection of favorite moments including being in a position to finally surprise my parents with gifts they truly appreciated and wanted and seeing their excitement. The winter I fell in love with my significant other and we held hands in on snowy winter nights. The collection of moments include a friend surprising me with mugs she had tracked down after I had admired them in a coffee shop with her, the hat he crocheted for me our first holiday together, the joy in my niece’s eyes has she enjoyed the lights, sparkle and presents of the season. I remember twirling in holiday skirts and sharing cocktails and stories with friends and feeling warmth and gratitude in spite of the cold of winter.

  664. winnie wu says:

    No one invites the bone-chilling winds of December. No one strips off their heavy-duty jackets in the middle of December. No one sits outside in the teeth-battering wind when there are heated homes to go in. But I do. I do all those things. Not because I enjoy being in the cold; I hate it. I’m probably the biggest scaredy-cat when it comes to the cold you’ll ever know. Yet I do all of the above voluntarily, willingly, happily. I am able to sit outside on a bench overtaken by frost because… I’m never alone. I love the holidays because I’m always surrounded by all these people who love me, the true me. All too often I find myself pretending to be someone I’m not, at school, at volunteering events, anywhere. Yet, when the holiday time comes (and with it all these family members that probably remember me more than I do them), I can be myself. Christmas is the only holiday where I can spend at least two weeks just reposing with my family, not having to care about appearances or my clumsy personality. My family loves all of me with their hearts. So now comes my favorite memory: In a room full of close relatives, distant relatives, even non-relatives, we were eating. Dinner. Now, as the wonderful gluts we were, we ate hot pot and a whole bunch of other dishes that just made my eyes water for my mouth. There were spicy noodles, red to the soul with fatty meats just delicately blanketing the dish, grilled chicken, burned just every so slightly so that it had a nice “CRUNCH!”, and ahhh the dessert. Ice cream mochi. I think that’s self-explanatory. Now in this room full of eye-witnesses and delicious food, I stepped away from the table in an attempt to go to the restroom (I may have drank too much water… those spicy noodles were HOT) aaaand “it” happened. I tripped and grabbed onto the table as quick as I could, my hand going straight into the hot pot (which extremely fortunate for me, was turned off a while ago, thus it wasn’t scorching hot). Oops. Not only did we have to apologize to the people who were near my incident (they just loved the hot pot so much their faces decided to bathe in the soup), we had to apologize to the restaurant manager, for I had broken the hot pot bowl… in half… It was probably the most embarrassing Christmas party ever, but at the same time, it was the most fun. Our table could not stop laughing. Instead of being bitter and ashamed, I was pretty ecstatic that I brought so much joy to our table of close relatives, distant relatives, and even the non-relatives. I didn’t have to hang my head on the noose (just kidding) and was instead pretty proud of having such a clumsy personality, or I mean, who else would have made my table so euphoric (and admittedly a little bit of a cacophony)?

  665. Sarah N. says:

    Last year, my husband and I were living in Austin, TX– far away from family and friends. I wasn’t really looking forward to Christmastime, as we were feeling kind of lonely. But Zach inspired me to come out of my shell and celebrate– we bought a tree and decked it out, took a Christmas picture and sent cards to all of our friends and family, telling them how much we missed them, made cookies for our neighbors and coworkers, and went all-out with stocking stuffers! We had so much fun together and grew so much closer because we had to rely on each other, and it ended up being one of my best Christmases ever.

  666. Alexa Kraft says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my Dad got my sister and I a new puppy and kitten for Christmas. We were young back then, only 10 and 5 and with the resent divorce between my parents things were tough. Our Mom didn’t want pets so we begged and begged our dad for months for a pet. I still remember going over to my Dad’s Christmas Day and walking up to the front steps. It just snowed the night before and we saw paw prints leading up to the door way. We gasped, holding our breath as we opened the door into the house… could it be true!? Our new puppy and kitten greeted us with the most exciting welcoming we have ever received. That was a great Christmas!

  667. Laura says:

    I have two favorite holiday memories that happened in the winter months….

    I was a little girl and I was baking cookies with my grandmother before she died, they were Christmas cutouts cookies. that Christmas I got a mixer and a recipe book with all the recipes for my family pass down for generations. I still make the recipes in the book today. The book Is old and pages are torn but it’s probably my most cherished possession. I actually keep it in the fire safe that I have in my home and take it out when I’m doing my holiday baking and cooking.

    Another memory is when my family and I went to go cut down our Christmas tree and it was the middle of nowhere and we had a permit to get our first Christmas tree out in the middle of nowhere and he found this beautiful tree that was about 7 feet tall. The road together was being crazy and we had a rock and have a tire totally completely destroyed. We were lucky that we had cell phone service and AAA but they wouldn’t be there for 2 to 3 hours at least. Luckily my mom Paxton’s Noxon and we actually had a good time sitting in the car singing Christmas carols and it was actually wonderful given our situation.

  668. Liesl says:

    My father gave us such wonderful Christmases. I was thanking him out loud today, even though he died in 2014. One year when I was five I picked some soap that I thought he would love and I was very excited to give it to him. There is a wonderful photo of me looking up at him excitedly, while he pretended to be very happy with the bar of soap. I feel blessed that he made Christmas such a wonderful time of year for me. While it is hard, I know he would want me to keep enjoying it even though he is gone. Thank you for encouraging me to remember this time with him.

  669. Jane Huey says:

    My favorite memories of home are at the holidays. Christmas, even though not financed with limitless money, was limitless in food, love and laughter. My mom made
    special candies,cookies and Christmas goodies that are still a family tradition even though Mother and Daddy aren’t with is any more. Their love still is a wonderful memory.

  670. Flora says:

    making Christmas dinner with my mom. Always a hodgepodge of Chinese, Vietnamese, and American food!

  671. Rosanna says:

    My favorite holiday memory when I was younger was when it got so cold that our leaky garden hose spilled enough water on our concrete backyard that it had made a homemade “skating rink” that my sisters and I were able to play on!

  672. Rosanna says:

    My favorite holiday memory when I was younger was when it got so cold that our leaky garden hose spilled enough water overnight onto our concrete backyard, froze over and turned into a homemade ice rink that my sisters and I were able to “skate” on!

  673. Caitlin says:

    Stuffing and carving the turkey with my Dad

  674. Jeanne says:

    I grew up in a staunchly Korean-American family, so our holiday celebrations always feature a hodge podge of Korean and American cultural icons: kalbi bbq ribs and bossam alongside turkey and honey glazed ham for Thanksgiving, red bean porridge and party poppers on New Year’s. A few years ago, my mom decided that our family’s Christmas traditions weren’t “traditiony” enough by American standards, so she created a list of traditions that she’d seen on TV or that she’d heard of other families she knew were doing and presented it to our family. Our family of 4 would methodically go through this to-do list of traditions (including leaving cookies out for Santa/the mailman, opening a single gift each on Christmas Eve, and taking a tour of the neighborhood’s decorations) and, at the end, see which ones we enjoyed the most and officially induct into our personal Christmas canon. In the end, we never ended up adopting any of these into our Christmas routine, but it was the most fun I ever remember having with my family for the winter holidays. What seemed like a chore ended up being more like a scavenger hunt, and “trying on” traditions that I knew were real and dear to someone else gave me the fuzzy feelings.

  675. Christine says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the year my boyfriend Simon and I didn’t have any big family plans for Christmas. We woke up late, drank coffee, exchanged gifts. We lounged in pj’s and eventually decided to go out for Thai. We ate an early Christmas dinner with other the other jovial diners in the restaurant and then decided to go for a drive. I love going for destination-less drives, aimlessly cruising along unexplored roads, blaring music, and just getting away. Luckily for me, Simon is always down for an adventure. So, this is exactly what we were doing when the heavens opened up and we found ourselves in a torrential downpour along a winding road through the mountains. Now I love the rain, but driving in it, on a highway, in the fast approaching dark, isn’t the most fun. In fact, it was so tremendous that we had to pull over behind a long line of cars, just to avoid driving off a cliff. We sat, in momentarily stunned silence, marveling at the sheer violence of the weather. The rain sounded like a stampede–a wild throng of animals thundering over the roof of our car. We sat and listened staring out into the grey and eventually broke into laughter. We were stuck, on Christmas, with no cell service, on the side of the road with a line of strangers in cars who I’d like to think were as thrilled as we were. We talked and marveled about the unpredictability of things simply enjoying the chaos. I’m not sure how long it lasted. Eventually it let up and we got back on the road, but I couldn’t tell you where we ended up that night. All I can recall is sitting in that car, laughing, stranded, caught up in the pure magic of the moment. It is pure testament to living in the present and appreciating the company you have which I think is what the holidays are all about.

  676. charlene says:

    Who doesn’t love the holidays? Especially when you get to spend it with family (blood-related or not) all while stuffing your face with delicious food! That’s how all my holiday memories start and end – with food. Our house was always THE party house. No matter where we lived, how small the house, everyone always gathered at our house. Probably because my mom is an amazing cook, and EVERYone was welcome. I remember waking up in the wee hours of the morning to start prepping for the feast ahead. Without fail, the menu always included prime rib (we’re up to 18 lbs), turkey, ham, three lasagnas (at least), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic bread, some kind of veggies, clam chowder, a multitude of pies, cheesecake,…, and the list goes on. :) I used to love watching her prep, then as I got older, I started to help out a little, and now I contribute my own dishes. It sounds like a lot of food (and for most families, it probably is), but every year, my brother, sister, a handful of cousins and I always manage to finish every last bit. It became our tradition to break into a new board game every year and watch movies til the wee hours of the next morning, all while nibbling away at the leftovers until they were all gone. Those were some of my best and happiest holiday memories. Now we’re all grown up and have kids of our own, but hopefully the tradition will be carried on by our little ones also!

  677. Nora says:

    My favorite holiday memory is from Thanksgiving, actually. I think I probably prefer it because there’s less pressure- delicious food, great company, and all without the stress of gift giving. A couple of years ago, i was not able to get home for Thanksgiving and had to figure out what to do in the city where I went to grad school. My boyfriend and his sister hadn’t figured out plans either so we decided to make the meal from scratch together. It was all vegan except for a turkey breast, and we even made the bread for the stuffing from scratch! The day started with some a couple of mimosas and then we started cooking. The house smelled great and we had a great time. The funniest part was at the end of the day, after probably 6 or 8 hours of cooking, we ate all the food on our plates in about 15 minutes. It didn’t matter though, it was all so delicious!

  678. Jade Sheldon says:

    A memory I cherish is my first Christmas with my husband, Cory. We had just started dating 5 moths prier, but knew things were pretty serious between the two of us. We were very young, and didn’t have much, but I remember that Christmas being filled with more kindness, generosity and love than I had ever experienced before.

  679. Rachel says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when I was 10 years old. My Granddaddy in the Tennessee mountains had a litter of puppies in his dog kennel. They were bred to be squirrel-hunting dogs. For Christmas, he proposed to give me the runt of the litter, a small, black and tan puppy. She was so tiny and precious. You could tell she was a smart dog and even though she was the littlest she was the leader of the pack.

    Anyways, my family already had a dog and my parents were wary of adding another to the household, particularly a squirrel dog. So my parents told me that I wasn’t allowed to have the puppy. Guess I was quite a rebel, because I snuck the puppy into the car when it was time to leave my Grandaddy’s house. It wasn’t until we finished the two hour drive home that my parents realized what I had done. Initially, they were going to have me return the puppy when we next visited my grandparents, but after a few weeks, she warmed their hearts and I was allowed to keep her. Her name was Cassie. She was the best puppy a girl could have!

  680. Sarah G. says:

    My favorite holiday memories would have to be helping my mom make Christmas goodies to send out to friends and family and helping with decorating the Christmas tree. :)

  681. Amber O. says:

    I was a teenager in Texas. It was one of those very rare ice days and all the schools were closed. I was tasked with babysitting my little brother for the day. He was 5 at the time and had never experienced ice and snow on the ground. We both got bundled up and spent the day romping through the neighborhood. It was really fun to see him wrap his brain around how to walk on an icy surface. I wiped out a few time myself. We stayed out until we were too cold to take it anymore. It was a great day!

  682. Lisa says:

    My favorite holiday memories are all about food traditions. Every year, my mother and I would bake about a dozen different kinds of cookies throughout the whole month of December. I think all that holiday baking is what taught me to cook and be comfortable in the kitchen. We always had some classics- chocolate cookies, pizelles, cranberry bars- and always made a few new ones to try out every year. The other holiday memory is making borscht and pierogies with my aunts on Christmas eve. Every would cook for hours, ending in a huge traditional feast!

  683. Josh says:

    My favorite holiday memory is renewed every year when I get to see the greatest man I know one more time. My dad is one hell of a guy.

  684. Hannah says:

    My favorite holiday memory is probably when my grandparents lived with us. I was 12 and for breakfast Christmas morning we had rice soup. At first I was so disappointed but when I tasted the simple congee with abalone it was the best breakfast ever. It was simple but it was from the heart and I still remember it from time to time.

  685. Nicole says:

    To be honest, my favorite winter holiday memory was going today to adopt a rescue dog just in time for Christmas. I’m so excited to celebrate the holidays with our new, very enthusiastic family member!

  686. Megan says:

    So excited for this giveaway!! My favorite winter holiday memory is spending time with family, baking lots of sweets and cookies, and enjoying some time off!

  687. Nicolette Bertsch says:

    My favourite holiday memory has to be when we went to the Philippines for the 2nd time of my life. I had never spent Christmas in a hot country before so it was a super unique experience for me. It was also the first time I had ever had carolers come over to sing which was a really enjoyable experience. Hopefully I can relive that some day!

  688. Lillian says:

    I remember growing up my mum explaining to us kids that it wouldn’t be a big Christmas this year, so we wouldn’t be disappointed by the presents we received. But never do I remember a small celebration! It seems somehow presents were always piled around the tree Christmas morning, and a feast was on the table.

  689. Julie Lear says:

    Favorite holiday memory is our family tradition my father has instilled in us from when he was a child with his family in Cuba. Every year on Christmas Eve, we celebrate Noche Buena. I am 45 and the oldest of 5 siblings and we have managed to be together EVERY year with our families and parents to celebrate. We prepare a HUGE Cuban feast . Main coarse is a whole pig slow roasted in the ground all day, along with YUMMY Cuban side dishes to go along. Between the 5 siblings, we have 19 grandchildren. They now look forward to this holiday every year. We are blessed that my parents are celebrating 47 yrs of marriage this month and our holiday tradition is ALL because 2 people fell in love ! Thanks for the opportunity. This would be a dream come true to win. Hope you and yours have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  690. Bianca says:

    my favorite winter holiday is making and decorating christmas cookies every year with my family!

  691. Linda D says:

    Growing up in White Salmon Washington there was always snow at Christmas! Our families would gather at my Aunt’s house nestled back in the woods along a creek bed. We had the usual dolls for the girls and trains and trucks for the boys and oh the food; with Mom’s, Aunt’s and Grandmothers cooking the holiday feast we were guaranteed something good! Breakfast smells of bacon and platters full of pancakes to this day are still some of my favorite smells. However the best part was the snow! After opening Santa’s bounty it was time to turn our attention to outside and with 8 kids that was a blessing to be out of the house! Out came the sleds; it was game on to see who could make the longest run! That year myself and two cousin set the record that still stands today in the family. We pulled the sled up the hill and climbed on and away we went headed straight for the house! We knew we were going to crash but my Aunt saved the day! Just as we approached the house the door to the mud room swung open and we rode victoriously into the kitchen! The best part is the 8mm film that is a testament to our victory! We have many special memories of family holidays but the best is being with family not matter where.

  692. Linda says:

    We love trips to NYC to see the tree and the Christmas Show. Even no when all the children are grown we line up to have our family portrait with Santa and a second shot by the tree. The hustle and bustle of the city makes Christmas ideal.

  693. Alice says:

    My first time celebrating new years apart from my family was at Sleazefest- and it turned out to be quite a banger. I had maybe one champagne glass too many and ended up at the guacamole bowl just eating it mechanically non stop. I got to celebrate the new year with some of my best friends, at this ridiculous party and fall asleep to the sounds of some guys fighting each other over god knows what. It was awesome (the guacamole was too)

  694. Brianne F says:

    My favorite holiday memory is an ongoing one– my grandmother used to do the 7 fishes christmas eve dinner all by herself, up until the very last year she was alive. I used to come and watch her prepare, and now that she is gone, I’ve been able to carry on her recipes (always delish, but never the same) and continue the tradition. It is my favorite meal of the year!

  695. Sarah B says:

    My family and I went to Disney World earlier this month and we went last year, too, around the same time in December. My parents go twice a year to Disney, October (Halloween!) and December (Christmas!). My brother and I decided to join them (aka, invited ourselves) and I’m hoping we can carry this on in the years to come, especially once we have children of our own. If anyone is wondering when they should plan a trip to Disney World, do it around Christmas time!

  696. Jessica L. says:

    I was a teenager when this happened. My brother and I woke up our 5 year old baby brother on Christmas Day to show him that Santa Clause showed up last night and dropped off presents under the Christmas tree. He excitedly ran down the stairs to the tree, but he stared at his gifts from Santa Clause suspiciously. I asked him what was wrong to which he replied, “Santa Clause didn’t come! Mom and Dad wrapped these presents with the same wrapping paper they used for the other presents. I’m not stupid!” My brother and I laughed for hours. We have never been more proud of our baby brother. XD

  697. Ashley M says:

    This will be a different sort of comment, I don’t have a specific favorite holiday memory because I don’t celebrate the holidays- I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So I don’t have a favorite Christmas memory but I sure do have a favorite winter memory. It was back when I was in the 6th grade we (my sister & I) were over winter break and the news said that there would be a horrible blizzard coming. Well, since I live in Chicago ( aka the windy city) I was use to hearing about incoming bad weather. So the next day came and I went to open door, but the old broke down door wouldn’t open! Now just image me at the time being a small girl, my mother a young forty something, and my older sister all piled on top of each other trying to break down the door. We probably should have kept it closed, because when it did open at least four feet of snow was their to greet us! Long story short we kept the family shovel in the car, so we were forced to use buckets to dig our way out. After three hours of tirelessly digging with buckets and our then purple blue hands we hadn’t even made a dent in the snow. Some nice men neighbors of our so our struggle and came over to help!!(OMG! THANK GOODESS) We went inside and made hot chocolate and treats for the men. The cleared the doorway in two hours. That night we made pizza binged on popcorn and twinkies and watched movies like they were going out of style! Needless to say we spent the rest of that week in the house!

  698. Pam says:

    Being snowed in for several days with all of my cousins when we were kids. We played like crazy.

  699. James says:

    One of my most memorable holiday experiences was when our family traveled from Alaska to Southern California when I was around six. To get on a plane after traveling through a snowstorm around the Turnagain Arm to deplane in the bright and pleasant glow of San Diego was the first sign of a newfound welcome. To be able to then go out on Christmas morning to pick oranges from the tree in the backyard and to then eat them with still-warm Stollen bread and dig through our stockings topped it all off.

  700. Skylar says:

    My middle school would put on performances every year, and each grade prepared their own song/skit/etc. A lot of the time, it felt like a chore for us, and I can’t image the teachers enjoying telling middle schoolers how to stand and to not look too nervous while singing. But for some reason, when it came time to actually perform, it felt kind of magical – maybe it was the weirdness of being at school at night, or because everyone was dressed up for the holidays and the church was decorated with wreaths and ribbons. One year, the fourth graders created a hilarious skit based off of the 12 Days of Christmas song, and my parents and I could not stop laughing the entire evening.

    Thanks for doing this!

  701. Lauren C says:

    My favorite Christmas memory goes back to one of the first Christmases my family spent together after years of my dad not talking to his siblings. There was a family feud that I was unaware of as a small child, but for years, it kept me away from my aunts, uncles and cousins. Finally, once my grandfather had died, my dad and his siblings decided to bury the hatchet as well, and we spent Christmas together. We ate, played games, listened to stories of when our parents were kids. Tears were shed over old memories and the making of new ones. We still do Christmas together every year, and even though I’m almost 30 now, I still get giddy just thinking about it!

  702. Cynthia says:

    My favorite holiday memory is attempting to make gingerbread houses with my younger cousins. The kids all excited and pumped up to have sugar. When trying to assemble the gingerbread pieces, they all kept breaking till we did not have any left. It was a fun memory because we made the best out of the situation, by creating hideous houses with only candy stacked on top of each other.

  703. maegan says:

    Traveling from Maryland up to Staten Island as a youngster with my parents after they flew out of work on Christmas eve…sitting around in the house my great grandfather had built when he came to this country from the Ukraine at 18…warm Christmas lights and piles of presents so high and wide you could barely walk around…and sitting on my great grandpa’s lap telling him stories…and finding out years later that my parents winced the whole time since he was frail and I was growing!

  704. Clifton GLENN says:

    When we children were small, on Christmas morning, in addition to our gifts at our place at the table would be a large perfect piece of fruit. No blemishes or bruises, and always extra large in size. To this day we still call them Christmas fruit. Especially the apples.

  705. Leslie C. says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the year my family first did a seafood feast on Christmas. There were crab cakes, stuffed fish, bacon wrapped shrimp, steamed clams and so much more! We’ve been keeping the tradition up ever since, but none were quite as extravagant as that first seafood dinner.

  706. Opal says:

    My favorite holiday memory as a kid was driving around to look at Christmas lights. On Christmas Eve we made home-made pizzas for dinner then got into our pajamas and bundled up in the care. We always listened to the radio station that played 24/7 Christmas music, and the evening always ended with us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe!

  707. Jenny says:

    My favorite holiday memories are of going to my cousins’ house for Christmas. My aunt would always make a ton of food, including a colorful jello mold. Meanwhile, there were a lot of kids and we were constantly up to no good and annoying all of the grown-ups. Then after dinner, we would all sit down and open all of the gifts from each other.

  708. Lillian says:

    One of my favorite memories is baking snickerdoodles for the first time during the holiday season. My mother being an immigrant to the US didn’t know a thing about baking cookies and bought tartar sauce instead of cream of tartar. Clearly tartar sauce belongs with seafood and not in cookies. The cookies turned out a bit wonky, but nonetheless it started my love affair with baking and food. It still makes me laugh till this day.

  709. Brittany L says:

    My favorite Winter memory is bundling up my little one and pushing him around in his stroller looking at all the Christmas lights. It has been an ongoing three year tradition and his eyes still light up like the very first time!

  710. Megan says:

    I grew up in Northern Indiana (land of lake effect snow), so many Christmases were white. I remember going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve one year. When we came out of church (which was quite a relief because mass was so long and it was freezing inside), there were about six more inches of snow than when we went inside. The snow was falling fast and hard, but we were able to make it home safely before the roads became too treacherous. The next morning was awesome because the whole world was covered in about a foot of clean white snow, and we didn’t have to go anywhere – we just stayed inside and ate good food.

  711. Angeline Hong says:

    Every year we have an annual Christmas party at my cousin’s house on Christmas Eve. It’s decked out with a HUGE table of Vietnamese food of everything you could imagine. It’s amazing. There would be friendly chatting, then a speech by my grandpa (he really likes making speeches) before every digs in and devours the food. Later, presents are opened one at a time from youngest to oldest (a terrible tradition that takes much too long.) It’s a simple night with a big family, good food, and lots of wine.

  712. Angela says:

    It was Christmas Eve when I was around maybe 8 or 9 years old. I stayed up all past midnight because I wanted to do something to surprise my parents. So using streamers (the types that had a similar thickness and feel as tissue paper) and a very long roll of tape, I decided to craft out letters to spell “Merry Christmas!” in a blockletter-esque font. And then one by one, I brought the letters into my parents’ room and taped it onto their closet, praying to God that the hinges wouldn’t squeak. I also decided to tape streamers of assorted colors onto their door so that they would walk into a delightful little surprise as they left their room. After the project was over, I went to bed with a satisfied grin plastered to my face.

    Christmas morning, I found out that my dad had been extremely confused when he got a mouthful of tissue paper in his mouth while leaving the bedroom to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

  713. My favorite holiday memory is every year decorating the christmas tree with my family. I’m 23 now and my parents still wait for me to come home every December until we all decorate the tree. We usually play Christmas music and my mom gives me and my siblings a new ornament for the year. Then we usually drink egg nog while we decorate. My mom unpacks all our ornaments and my siblings and I hang them up.

  714. Laura says:

    Favorite holiday memory is from last year – I have four siblings, and we’ve been out of our childhood home for a while now, but we always go back to my parents house for Christmas. This year is our first Christmas without everyone home (sister is in the Peace Corps in Namibia and can’t come home), so I’ve been thinking a lot about last year and how fun it was. My favorite memory is making breakfast on Christmas morning with my siblings. My Dad sitting in the chair reading the paper, my mom folding used wrapping paper and calling out “save the bows!” every few moments. My sister and I make homemade doughnuts – one of us slides the risen dough into the hot oil, and the other flips them over on paper towel and dips them in icing. My brothers make has browns and scrambled eggs. Everyone is in their PJs and probably will be until about 3 pm. Happiness, good food, and family. Nothing better.

  715. Kathie says:

    My favorite memory is the Christmas before my husband and I were married. We went to NYC and had dinner at Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Tower. Afterwards we went on a horse drawn carriage ride bundled up with blankets and looked at the beautiful lights on 5th Avenue. So much has changed since then. But that night at Windows gazing out at the beautiful Manhattan skyline is one I will never forget.

  716. Alex says:

    Before the massive global warming we’re experiencing, it used to snow like crazy in Illinois, where I spent my childhood. We lived on a court, so the snowplows would make this huge mountain of snow at the end where they turned around. We used to build these crazy snow forts out of the ridiculous mound.

    Merry Christmas!!

  717. Gillian says:

    Ice skating on a lake near our house at midnight lit only by the moon. Laughing and too much wine with my family, cozy fires and waking up at 6am excited for Christmas morning to begin (even though I’m nearly 30…). And eating our traditional dish of red cabbage with chestnuts braised all day!

  718. Chelsea says:

    I have more vivid adult memories, but the childhood memory that is the most comforting is really more of a feeling I get. We grew up relatively poor, though my aunts and uncles were considerably better-off financially. So, throughout the year money was always tight. On Christmas morning, though, we would wake up to stockings in bed with us, and we’d sneak a peek into the living room. The room was always filled, like wall-to-wall, with presents. I can’t even begin to describe this feeling. It was a sense of wonder, plus sheer excitement. The magic of Christmas is still important to me. Going to bed Christmas Eve with the same amount of presents under the tree as on Christmas morning just isn’t as magical. Santa or no Santa, my favorite memory is the magic of Christmas. It’s hard as I get older and there’s no Santa to do it for me, but I’m still bringing a little of this magic to my adult siblings and our new niece.

  719. Nancy Webster says:

    My favorite holiday memory is more like a feeling; the feeling I had as a child of all the excitement and wonder the holidays bring. To this day, the glint of the Christmas lights on the glass balls on the Christmas tree can bring back that feeling. There was the Christmas parade, the school parties, the special programs on TV, visiting Santa Claus, going out and chopping down a tree with our neighbors and then decorating it, shopping for gifts and then wrapping them and watching them pile up under the tree and wondering what was in the ones with my name on them. We baked cookies with our Mom and would decorate them when they had cooled. There was also the candle light Christmas service in the school chapel that my Dad directed that reminded us of the true meaning of Christmas. So it was just the building excitement of the season and all the activities of the season that contributed to it. I grew up on the campus of a boys boarding school where my Dad was a teacher and choir director and my Mom worked as a secretary in the school offices. Every Christmas the headmaster’s wife would throw a party for all the faculty children (aka faculty brats!). We would draw names for a gift exchange and then at the party, there were all kinds of wonderful treats and we would run wild and play and then exchange our gifts. It was a big deal to me back then getting ALL the attention for that one day since the students and other school activities seemed to be the priority the remainder of the year for all the teachers and their wives. It was a different time and atmosphere for sure. But I always remember Christmas fondly from those days and love it when the glint of a light or the sound of a carol takes me back to that time if only for a brief moment!

  720. MaryBeth says:

    My favorite Christmas holiday was the 1st Christmas after our 1st child(son) was born. It was so special to watch him crawl around the Christmas tree staring at all the lights and ornaments and screaming his head off when he was put in Santa’s arms.
    Merry Christmas!

  721. MyThy Huynh says:

    So, this is one of favorite albeit not the most sentimental Christmas memory/story.

    The first year I met my fiance, we had been dating for 5-6 months and he wanted to introduce me to his parents (typical right?). I drove to Santa Rosa, CA to meet The Bailey’s (and pissed off my parents by not spending Christmas with them. (And of course, being the strict asian parents, I totally lied to them about why.) Well, The Bailey’s are the perfect American’ parents; they hug, kiss, go by first name basis and share feelings. Lots of kindness, never a criticism (am I in Narnia?). Well, part of their Christmas tradition is to open presents after a lazy brunch and watch an indie flick. So we met up with The Pedgrifts, (their long time BFF’s and their kids. Lil’ fact, Mr Pedgrift is former Santa Rosa Mayor. Mr Pedgrift also likes to movie hop and bring a backpack full of snacks and drinks. Whoa.) Anyhow, we go to watch Brokeback Mountain. YES, I get we’re near SF and its Gay Capital back in 2005 when coming out wasn’t socially accepted. So that awkward sex scene was made 50x’s more awkward sitting next to future MIL as I kept turning and looking down away from the screen. I don’t even watch kissing scenes with my parents without fidgeting. Two men having sex with my first experience with the BF’s parents. Shoot.Me.Now.
    So now we joke and laugh about it after I told them 5 years into the relationship. The tradition continues to watch an indie flick/potential oscar winner. Except nothing tops watching Brokeback Mountain after meeting your bf’s parents for the first time.

  722. Caroline says:

    One winter, we flew to Taiwan to visit family. This was around the time I had some…. doubts about Santa’s identity. On our way out the door, I took one last peek under the Christmas tree to see if any presents had come early. Nothing there, I dutifully trooped out to the car while my parents finished loading our luggage. We had a wonderful trip in Taiwan, and came back a couple of days after Christmas. My brother and I ran into the house and, lo and behold, Christmas presents under the tree! My belief was sustained for another year, and now I enjoy trying to surprise loved one around Christmas too.

  723. Shannon Yeaton says:

    Some favorite holiday memories include my family going out each year to cut down a beautiful tree. I remember one year being especially cold and wintery as Iowa winters can be, but we always went without fail.

    Also, just the anticipation of opening gifts on Christmas morning. My brothers and I would all be anxiously waiting on the stairs until we were given the go-ahead.

  724. Rachel says:

    My favorite holiday memory is participating in a Dutch secret santa (Sinterklass) traditions with my best friend and her family. More emphasis is placed on creative packaging/delivery of the gift than the gift itself, and the gift is accompanied by a poem from Sinterklass, often related to the creative packaging. Both the poem and the packaging reflect something about the receiver’s personality or recent/upcoming life events. On Christmas Day we spent hours one by one reading our poems, opening the packaging and occasionally completing a challenge or game in order to receive our gift. It’s a great tradition that puts the emphasis on appreciating our friends and family rather than on the gifts themselves.

  725. Angela says:

    It was on Christmas Eve when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I wanted to do something to surprise my parents. So with streamers (the type that has a similar thickness and feel as tissue paper) and a long roll of tape, I stayed up past midnight crafting the letters that spelled “Merry Christmas” in a blockletter-esque font. One by one, in the middle of the night, I brought the letters in and stuck them into my parents’ closet, praying to God that the hinges wouldn’t squeak. I also thought it would be a nice little addition to tape streamers of various colors onto the door so that when my parents walked out of the room, they would walk into a nice little surprise as they left their room on Christmas morning.

    Christmas morning, I found out that my dad had walked out of the bedroom in the middle of the night only to be confused by the streams of tissue paper that found their way into his mouth.

  726. Annette says:

    When I was in fourth grade, my parents got me a Suzuki Trail Hopper (motorcycle). I went with my dad to pick it out, so I knew what I was going to get. On Christmas Eve my parents made me go on a scavenger hunt to find it. I remember being told to look under the bed and in the shower. After each task I’d return to the living room. Finally, after the last task, there was my dad seated upon my bike. I still have it some 40 years later and my children even got to ride it.

  727. Jessica Hawkins says:

    I have wonderful memories of making Christmas cookies with my Grandma, we would look through magazines to find new recipes and bake all night.

  728. Jessica Daily says:

    My favorite holiday memory, one of them that is. Coming from a large family, going back home as adults for Christmas Eve. This was my parents wedding anniversary. So it made the excitement even more on this special Holiday. Having 8 siblings with their families made a recipe for fun, laughter, very loud and now a blessed memory.

  729. Marcy Zeissig says:

    The year I got a hamster in a cage was my FAVORITE memory! I was 7 years old and dearly loved animals. I was always the one they brought baby birds that had fallen out of their nests. I would get up all hours of the night to feed them with an eyedropper and finally help them learn to fly and off they’d go! But, I truely wanted a sweet little hamster to cuddle. I had 5 sisters and brothers and their was little chance of ever receiving that. But, one magic Christmas morning, there is was! Oh my, I sobbed and sobbed and I will never forget the warm, excited, loved, spoiled rotten feeling I had! The best Christmas ever!

  730. Angelica says:

    I love browsing your website for my weekly menu planning!

  731. angie says:

    hm… favorite winter holiday memory, huh. definitely had to be a few years ago, senior year of high school, when i decided for the first time that i’d throw on the apron and try my hand at cooking up a feast for the family. we’re a small family of four and i figured it’d be an easy task. like, how hard is is to truss a chicken right? i take ap physics and i’m smart enough to use the right hand rule, or something like that. high school thoughts, y’know? we lived in a small house when i attended high school, a 2×4 kitchen with a dinky oven and a counter top taken up entirely by our rice cooker. the wooden kitchen table that my mom liked to throw pretty covers on was powdered with flour. the pile of dishes never fell below the rim level. the chicken was so full of ‘tude and wouldn’t participate for the life of me. no amount of food network could have prepared me for that hell.

    but i persevered. the chicken was pretty whack and i learned that mashed potatoes are truly an art. but from that experience i think what i got was pure determination to nail the future holiday dinners on the head (which, with much thanks to you and the other blogs i adore, have proven to be a lot more successful), and the super rewarding smiles of my parents as they congratulated me on working so hard to put together what was, at the moment, one of the simplest ways i could relay my love and appreciation for them as my parents. and i think my sister came to see cooking with an interested eye after that too.

    but i’ll be honest. after a hectic thanksgiving of 7 hours + a surprise potluck with friends this year, i think i’m sitting out on christmas this year and settling for some fine slices of sushi and korean fried chicken haha.

    thanks for running such an awesome, inspiring blog. your posts are always so pleasant to read and learn from. i hope the last few remaining days of the year are full of warmth, and that 2016 brings much happiness to you!

  732. Kate says:

    It is so hard to choose just one memory! I think that my favorite part of the holidays in general is the atmosphere. All of the family that you haven’t seen in a long time is gathered together over presents and food, and everyone is happy. It’s such a nostalgic feeling.

  733. Tara O says:

    When I was growing up we would always go snow skiing the day after Christmas. Even though I remember always being cold (and complaining about it constantly), I have very fond memories of skiing in some incredible snow!

  734. Tracie Cooper says:

    My favorite holiday memories are decorating gingerbread houses with my nieces and driving around my pajamas looking at Christmas decorations with my parents and siblings!

  735. Jennifer says:

    Wonderful wintery memories abound for our broad. Having lived in Colorado, and Oregon. But favorite is now being able to go the beach all winter, yippii!

  736. Liam says:

    My wife telling our daughter that our pets could talk at Midnight on Christmas; the prospect was so exciting but she never could stay awake long enough to hear what they had say.

  737. Chay says:

    The night before Christmas I always whip up a huge breakfast with cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, and bacon. I love the fact we get to sit down by the fire as a family and eat a huge breakfast!

  738. Joan says:

    My favourite holiday memory is the first christmas that my family and I cut down our own tree! We drove out into the country and (with a permit) hiked out into the bush to track down the perfect tree! It was an amazing bonding experience, even if getting it secured to the roof was a bit difficult.

  739. Adam D says:

    A recent favorite memory was seeing my parents after being out of the country for a few years. We celebrated Christmas with my wife’s family who could not have been more warm and inviting. It’s all about family and enjoying those heartfelt moments!

  740. Brent says:

    A little cliched, perhaps, but nonetheless memorable. Naturally, a Christmas gift story. I was probably about 5 or so. I wasn’t a terribly active kid, so I typically wanted your standard issue plastic figures/toys/playsets/etc. I would’ve been ecstatic to receive gifts that fell entirely in that category. Particularly, I remember asking for some huge, expensive, playset of one of my favorite superheroes of the time, Captain Power – now, as an adult, something I recognize and acknowledge as an expensive hunk of useless plastic, but as a child, of course, the object of my imagination. On Christmas morning, I found a large box under the tree, which I was sure was this very playset I’d asked for. However, when I unwrapped it, it was instead my first bicycle. Not going to lie – at the time, I was a bit let down. But that all went away when I first was able to ride that bike on my own (after plenty of trial and error, of course). That first ride on a bike, with no training wheels and no help from your parents, is an unreplaceable childhood memory.

  741. Catherine says:

    This isn’t your typical holiday warm and fuzzy memory, but every year we still tell this story because looking back, it always makes us laugh …

    My little brother is 10 years younger than me. When he was still in his crib days, I think it was his 2nd Christmas, I was waiting for him to wake up to open gifts. When he woke up, I ran upstairs to get him out of his crib. He was very happy and bubbly and I put him over my shoulders and started to walk downstairs with him in my arms. As I made the first step, he spit up all over my hair.

    all. over. my. hair. BARF. PUKE.

    Let me back up and tell you that my hair, as an 11 year old, was oh so long, down to my jean pockets in fact. I couldn’t believe what just happened and I held him out in front of me as if, “rreaally?” I yelled for my mom to help me and I was so mad because I had to shower and wait even longer to open gifts. But I couldn’t stay mad at him long, his gummy smile had a way of erasing anything bad that was happening.

    Though this isn’t really a family tradition per se, but more of a family memory. 12 years later, we tell this story every Christmas Day.

  742. Jacqui says:

    I don’t know that I have a favorite winter holiday memory. However, as an adult there’s nothing greater than making new memories with my children and Christmas morning is always so much more fun because of their joy.

  743. Deb says:

    I’m thankful that my favorite winter holiday memories continue on each year, I know I’m lucky to have my whole family together still. My mom makes a simple cheese rice recipe (sort of like mac-n-cheese but with rice) and there is nothing gourmet about it but it’s delicious and it means everything. She only makes it at Christmas, so it’s very special and we make a big deal about it every year. I love making a fuss about it year after year!

  744. Rebecca Unitt says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is making over two dozen cinnamon rolls for my family and seeing their eyes go wide when I handed them out as gifts! Everyone loved them and I was so happy to have so many leftover to eat all by myself. The best part of the holidays is being able to bake so many delicious things and share them with others.

  745. Alex P says:

    Favorite winter holiday memory would be last year, when I thought we weren’t going to have any — the usual big family gathering fell through, so instead we just met up with one of the families we were closer to (my uncle’s) and marathoned LOTR, the extended versions! For someone who’d never watched LOTR before (I know, sue me) it was definitely memorable. Ah, Legolas <3

  746. Fanny says:

    Favorite winter holiday memory is definately baking Xmas cookies with my mom.

  747. One of my favorite Christmas Memories was one year my cousin brought a friend to to my nana’s house for Christmas Eve. My family is Hispanic so Christmas Eve means tamales! Well when it was time to eat my cousin wandered away from her friend for a minute and my nana asked him ( my cousins friend) how he liked his tamale ( his first ever). He smiled sweetly at her and said ” They are really good !” While chewing vigorously. My nana then noticed he was eating the corn husk along with the tamale… needless to say he enjoyed them even more when shown the proper technique. I love this memory because it gave everyone a Gooday chuckle, my cousins friend was a good sport and we gave someone the gift of a homemade Christmas tamale! Which is a mighty fine gift :)

  748. Jennifer says:

    Favorite holiday memory: Having huge wrapping paper fights with my sister and cousins after we opened all our presents!

  749. Barbara Hamane says:

    After my brother & I had gone to bed on Christmas eve and should have been sound asleep, we could hear my parents scrambling to wrap all of our gifts from “Santa”. We never let on that we heard Santa’s helpers wrapping our presents.

  750. Bora says:

    I haven’t celebrated many Christmases as a child because of living in an atheist communist country, but my first year in the US was also the first time I cried when receiving a gift. It was a silly gift – a titanic movie soundtrack. But the tears came out of nowhere and it was about the overwhelming feeling of joy when you get presents, so many of them for the first time in your life.

  751. D Stevens says:

    Family and when you get to spend the holidays with then. It is so special and brings so many warm memories back. So when you don’t get to spend the holidays with them you have these memories in your heart.

  752. Peg says:

    Several years ago we met our daughter and husband on a barrier island off North Carolina. We expected cool weather on the the beach, but the week started with snow! It was a surreal sight but so welcome for Christmas! Each day the weather warmed but it was so fun gathering sea shells, taking long walks along the shore in our fleeces and hats, buying fresh shrimp and cooking them, playing board games, drinking coffee and hot chocolate and laughing and sharing stories! On New Year’s Eve, 3 out of 4 of us ;) made a polar bear dip into the ocean! What a way to end one year and begin a new year! A precious memory forever!

  753. Penny says:

    Oh I have so many! Lying on the floor as a child and then with my own children gazing up at the tree on Christmas Eve, (while we were all supposed to be sleeping) and sharing special memories.

  754. Penny says:

    I have so many memories! One special one is late on Christmas Eve when we were supposed to be sleeping, we would sneak out lie on the floor close to the Christmas tree and look up at the lights. We would whisper and share special memories!

  755. Liam says:

    My wife convinced our daughter that our pets could talk at midnight on Christmas. Try as she might, she could never stay awake long enough to find out what they had to say.

  756. Keyan says:

    I loved lighting the Chanukah candles. The whole ritual of it. Choosing the color combinations. The prayers. Arguing with my brothers about whose turn it was to light the match. Actually, I was afraid of lighting the match, but I tried to keep that flaw to myself. But, after a few minutes the whole family would disperse. My brothers to watch TV. My mom to knit, or fold clothes. My dad, well, I have no idea. So for many years I sat at the kitchen table, watching those candles burn down to their tiny nubs and then, one by one, extinguish themselves. I learned a lot about observation, absorption and being truly myself, during those quiet evenings alone in the kitchen.

  757. Karen says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my older brother was in junior high and had been chattering some crazy talk about there being no such thing as Santa. On Christmas morning I remember walking in to the living room with my brother and my mother. Santa had indeed come as presents were scattered under the tree, the screen of the fireplace was open and chimney ash soot boot prints were all over the carpet where Santa had walked. My brother was surprised and interestingly so was my mother. She seemed very shocked and maybe even a little angry with having to clean up. My father just though it was all very funny.

  758. Erica T says:

    When I was little, the best parts of Christmas for me was getting to open the presents with everyone else in my family. But we have moved back and forth a bit and my parents finally decided to settle down in Texas. With that being said, we were away from our other family members and didn’t really celebrate Christmas like we used to. But, I believe that food always has a magic to bring people together. Even though we didn’t have any decorations in the house or any Christmas spirit to be exact (it’s more lively during Chinese New Year than Christmas), I still wanted to have a proper Christmas dinner with my parents. So, two years ago, I decided to make Christmas dinner for my family, and while it was a pain to do everything myself, it was one of the most rewarding and best Christmas memory for me. It was my dad’s first time eating Chicken Marsala and he loved it. His reaction and eagerness to keep eating was one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received.

  759. Ellen Giglia says:

    I remember getting dressed up and going to my Grandmother’s house on Christmas Day. My sisters and I would sing Christmas carols in 4 part harmony just like The Lennon Sisters. (Google them)

  760. Graham says:

    My first Christmas alone was last year. I was dog-sitting a chihuahua and terrier named Trinket and Truffles, respectively. I referred to both of them as Triscuit throughout and found this hilarious. The three of us went outside for a pee (or rather, they did; I just held the leash) and I realized as soon as the door shut that I’d locked us out. We walked through the Chicago winter to the nearest open restaurant (a nearby Chinese joint) and called for a locksmith. The owner was nice enough to let the dogs wait inside with me – and that’s saying a lot since they were not well-behaved animals at all.

  761. Frankie says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the Christmas we gave our kids new bikes. The looks on their faces….priceless! We all still talk about that Christmas and how DH and I managed to secret away 4 bikes and then surprise them. Not easy with 4 kids and one of them being super snoopy! We all still love watching the videos of our Christmas mornings and now we’re getting to share those same videos with grandkids. I love it!

  762. Jen says:

    Decorating sugar cookies for hours and hours on end…using the most intricate designs and making sure each cookies was as flourished as possible. My younger brother and sister wanted to be finished after 30 minutes, but I insisted they sit until each cookie was finished.

    They hate decorating cookies today. They even hate eating them.

  763. Harriet Miller says:

    I’m Jewish and never celebrated Christmas growing up. I lived in a neighborhood in Maryland that was within walking distance of a Catholic school and a Lutheran school. In fact, the Lutheran school principal lived next door. Almost all of my friends in the neighborhood attended either of the private schools while I walked just over a mile each day to the public elementary school. I was so, so jealous of all the Christmas fanfare and in those days, even the classrooms in public schools were all decked out for Christmas. I too wanted to believe in Santa. While my parents wanted to continue to share only the simple beauty of Hanukkah, they did allow my Barbie dolls to celebrate Christmas. What a fun time I had decorating a tiny artificial Christmas tree for my Barbie dollhouse and wrapping up the smallest boxes my mother could find in Christmas wrap to put under that tree. My father helped me string lights around the dollhouse. Allowing Barbie to be Christian and having my parents understand how important that was to me is one of my favorite memories of the season.

  764. Sue Hamer says:

    My favorite memory was getting up on Christmas morning, opening gifts and then meeting all my aunts, uncles, and cousins at Grandma’s for breakfast. After all of us cousins are done eating we had to wait “forever” it seemed for the adults to get done eating and then Grandma would pull out her homemade sticky rolls. Boy did we love those rolls!!! I miss those days and my Grandma so much! Winning that mixer would help me learn to make those sticky rolls for my family and create a new Christmas memory for my family!

  765. Roxane says:

    My favorite holiday memory is decorating sugar cookies and ginger bread people.

  766. Lexie Bloor says:

    I could tell you about the Christmas morning when I was so excited that I threw up all over the Christmas tree, but I won’t. Here is the tale of Christmas Eve 1981 instead. Because my nurse mom was scheduled to work Christmas Day, our little family planned to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve instead. That night, after the sun went down, Grandma casually announced that she would like to take a drive through town to look at all of the pretty house lights. Grandpa — who was generally bitchy about the holidays anyway — said: “No, you all go out and do that. I will stay here and take a nap because I’m tired.” Everyone but Grandpa bundled up and piled into the station wagon and went for a peaceful drive through the snow. When we got back, I discovered that Santa had come to visit our house early! All these beautifully wrapped presents had magically appeared, the family dogs Floyd & Gypsy had big red bows on their collars, and Santa had left me a special letter. I could not believe that Grandpa had slept through Santa’s visit, especially the sound of reindeer on the roof… I was the only kid in the house, and I love remembering all of the trouble my family went to to make the holiday special for me, especially Grandpa, who overcame his crotchety holiday attitude long enough to play Santa for me to great effect. My grandpa, who barely tolerated Christmas, ended up dying a few years later on December 22nd — a final bah-humbug statement that we all chuckle about even after all these years. Such great memories.

  767. Alex C says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my girlfriend and I cooked together for thanksgiving. We invited a bunch of friends who didn’t have families living nearby and were going to spend holiday alone. It was a blast and everyone brought food even thought it wasn’t required. We had so much great food and it was a great time! Definitely a wondrous experience

  768. Alex C says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my girlfriend and I cooked together for thanksgiving. We invited a bunch of friends who didn’t have families living nearby and were going to spend holiday alone. It was a blast and everyone brought food even thought it wasn’t required. We had so much great food and it was a great time! Definitely a wondrous experience!

  769. Jack says:

    I was born in Vietnam during the war so my holiday memories (from a Western calendar standpoint anyway) consists mostly of my father coming home from military leave and making sure that the kids submit a list of toys that they want from Pere Noel. My father would then take the list, read it, and burn it just like the offering to Ông Táo. The toys weren’t much (dolls or plastic guns) but our eyes lit up and we played with them until they broke. Most importantly, we were just happy to have Dad home.

    My father passed away on Christmas day last year and truthfully all I want, and all that our family wants is to have Dad here with us again.

    Have a great holiday season!

  770. Rachel Martin says:

    One of my favorite memories was always my family’s Christmas Eve party. My mother would host all of my parents friends & neighbors at our house on Christmas Eve. The days leading up to the party were always so hectic, especially the day of the party. Once it hit dusk, it was my job to go outside with a lighter and light all the candles we had set up so guests could find their way. Afterwards, my sister and I would go upstairs to my room (because it had the best view) and watch for cars to pull into our driveway. his was a tradition I am most fond of this year because this will be the first year my sister is not spending Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with us. It’s going to be different, but I’m so pleased to have these lovely memories to think back on. We were also in charge of filming the night too, we used one of those video recorders that still had TAPES, tapes! One Christmas Eve it started snowing as everyone was leaving & I can remember the feeling of excitement just bubbling over & waking up the next morning with a light dusting of snow on Christmas morning.

  771. My favourite holiday memory is my first Christmas in Canada. We had a super tiny tree, and my mom and I made ornaments out of juice can lids. We didn’t have a lot back then, but it didn’t matter :)

  772. My favorite holiday memory is one of my family’s traditions, so I have many memories of it spanning my lifetime. My brother and I were very close as children (and still are as adults). Of course on Christmas morning, we would wake up way before my parents would want to be, because we were so excited about the magic of the day and the presents awaiting us. Instead of waking our sleeping parents, we decided that whoever woke up first would come to the other’s room with a pack of cards. We began with younger games like Go Fish or War, but over time the tradition aged with us to games like Speed and Poker. It’s a tradition I’ve always cherished with my brother.

  773. Lucas says:

    It was our first Christmas Eve together as a married couple, and our first Christmas Eve in California. I’m from Virginia, and had been complaining to my wife that in this new climate, there was no way we were going to get a white Christmas. No weather miracles occurred overnight, but the next morning my wife surprised me with french toast covered with a thick coating of powdered sugar and what were undeniably snow angels.

  774. Katelyn says:

    My childhood New Year’s Eve party

  775. Monica says:

    I don’t even know if this is real memory since it was so long ago. When my sister and I were younger we would go to our aunt’s for the holidays. Both my mother and my aunts are widows so we would spend the holidays together: my mother, my sister, my aunt, her son Johnny, and me. It was snowing and the power went out and I remember everyone gathered in the living room bundled up together. It was a mess of blankets and candles and bad jokes and scary stories. I remember pretending to look at stars in the ceiling and trying our best to make shadow puppets. Now that I’m older, I realize Christmas is really for children. I look forward to spending this upcoming Christmas with nieces and nephews.

  776. Carly G says:

    One year during the holidays we had a huge blizzard so my whole family was snowed in. The power was out so we all bundled up by the fireplace, made some s’mores, and the adults shared stories about when they were kids and what our great grandparents were like. It was really special.

  777. Liz Affias says:

    My mom’s best friend has lived in Alaska since 1976. Growing up, we sent her family a holiday package and they sent one to us in MN. My mom would often be stuck in line at the post office to make sure it arrived by the holidays and the news would always zoom into my mom as she’d decorate the box and it’s address was going to North Pole, AK. Each gift for every family member was also wrapped but we STILL had to wait until the day she gave us to open even the outside box. The anticipation was the best part and as my mom’s best friend is an artist, many of the gifts were hand made- many of which I still have to this day! It was never about expecting extravagant gifts, it was the fun of waiting to see what sort of creative thing she had made for us or the sort of unusual native item she might have sent to us in the lower 48. The tradition of the box arriving early and waiting to tear into it annually is a memory I will never forget!

  778. Tom says:

    When my amazing golden retriever, Milo, was still alive he once snagged some treats he wasn’t supposed to ;). Many Christmas Eves ago, my mom put out some cookies and cider doughnuts for Santa. This is when I still believed and my great aunt always would bring bags of these doughnuts from this one bakery in her Western Mass hometown. As I pranced around and helped my mom put out the cookies and doughnuts for Santa, Milo looked on. My mom set them down on an ottoman that was lower to the ground and Milo couldn’t resist. I came running downstairs from brushing my teeth and saw that all the cider doughnuts had magically disappeared. When I alerted my mother, we both ran to the back room where Milo was sitting by the door and looking quite guilty with all the sugary and cinnamon-y sparkles on his whiskers. My mom put him outside immediately and from then on we stuck to just cookies for Santa.

  779. Nan Kopan says:

    When our kids were still young, my grandmother would fly down to visit us for Christmas. She would bring homemade cookies and treats packed in her “Grasshoppers” brand shoe boxes. As a result, the kids referred to her wonderful Christmas cookies as grasshoppers. Now the kids are grown and we have grandchildren, but they still remember and miss grandma’s grasshoppers.

  780. S.M. CORN says:

    My favorite Christmas memory was when my Grandma was making popcorn on the stove. She walked away and forgot about it. When she returned the top had come off of the pot and popcorn was flying everywhere. She laughed so hard she peed her pants!

  781. That time I got a present from my father. We always got presents from both my parents but this one was special because it was just from him. It was a Jenga and it caused a lot of yelling (and fun times) over the years.

  782. May says:

    My favorite holiday memory is the first time we started doing Secret Santa. Our family is huge (6 people) and we had gotten old enough to buy presents for each other with our own money. One year, my sister asked if we could start doing Secret Santa so that we could concentrate on one person and give them great gifts instead of spreading ourselves thin for five people. We all loved the idea and come Christmas morning, it was the best feeling ever as we all took turns giving out Santa Babies their present! It was heartwarming and sweet to see how well everyone knew each other, my younger brother especially since I didn’t think he ever took mental notes of peoples likes and dislikes. It really felt like everyone was enjoying giving rather than receiving that year ??

  783. Stephen Norfleet says:

    We (family and friends) would all gather at a friend’s home where we had the most delicious peanut butter balls, gingerbread men/women (the best ones had red hots as buttons), ham biscuits, and a regional favorite, Hot Virginia Dip. Merry Christmas!!!

  784. Laurie laetsch says:

    I have lots of favorite holiday memories some involve a gift I received and some involved something I gave someone…my favorite memory is from a very long time ago when I was just a little girl. We lived in a metropolitan suburb and made the trip many times to my grandparents farm just a few hours away…”are we there yet?” and what town is this?” drove my parents crazy….they answered our persistent questions and listened as we giggled about the town named Sleepy Eye. Once we arrived at the farm, we couldn’t wait to play in the snow with our cousins…hours outdoors were always rewarded with grandmas homemade hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. If the weather outside was bad, grandma always had dish towels ready for our amateur attempts at embroidery or we played chopsticks on the old piano. At night we would crawl into the bed under a pile of five or six blankets because the only source of heat was through floor grate. That same floor grate was the perfect place to spy on the adults playing cards after we were sent to bed. In the morning we would hurry downstairs and lay in front of the heat register to warm our toes. Every holiday meant grandma brought out the family favorites. There was always ham and scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls and lefse, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, corn (plain and scalloped), carrots/celery/black olives/green olives and of course, grandmas dill and sweet pickles. Dinner was always finished with pie and freshly whipped cream. Years later I now understand that the greatest gift I received from my parents was the gift of time with my family. Many of the traditions my grandma shared with me, I now share with my children and grandchildren.

  785. Lindsey says:

    My favorite holiday memory is also of me and my brother. It was a few days before Christmas. It was becoming dark out. It was snowing. We went into the park that was beyond our backyard, and we made snow angels. And I remember laying down, looking up at the sky and just watching the snow fall. And it was kind of hypnotizing. And I didn’t have a care in the world.

    Merry Christmas!!

  786. Lindsey says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when my brother and I made snow angels in the park behind our house. And I remember looking up at the sky, watching the snow coming down. And i didn’t have a care in the world!

    Merry Christmas!

  787. Dino says:

    My favorite wintery memory has to be my junior year of college. My family was never into imbibing, but I figured I would let them see what college was about. We ended up playing family beerpong for HOURS with my grandparents, who had a BLAST. This was not long after my parents divorced, and the joy we had been lacking really came through that night! They now request to play every Christmas!

  788. Nancy says:

    My favorite Christmas memory is definitely making cookies with my mother. She started baking the day after Thanksgiving and filled our freezer!

    She was an artist with the spritz cookies, and my brothers and I got to decorate them. Lots of trees, lots of wreaths. But the most fun were the little dogs, which looked like our Sampson Todo.

  789. Carol says:

    My favorite memory is laying under the Christmas tree in a dark room watching the lights blink on and off while listening to the sound the old fashioned lights used to make (1960’s).

  790. Tanya C says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory is having my huge family (brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins) close to 50 people gather under one roof for a huge Christmas family potluck dinner. We eat great food, play a ton of games, laugh till our bellies ache, and then eat some more! We usually gather around 1 pm and don’t go home until well after midnight! Family is the most important thing in life. I treasure them all dearly! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  791. Raya Thoma says:

    My favorite holiday memory is of my grandmother cooking on Christmas Eve, making phyllo (filo) dough by hand, rolling out the dough, and then draping it everwhere. It was a time consuming process and she would always stay up way past when we had all gone to bed. The next morning, after a few hours of sleep, she would get up and start cooking two traditional dishes with the phyllo dough: a savory one with cabbage and pork, and a sweet one, with pumpkin, walnuts and spices. To this day, whenever I think of Christmas, I think of the smells coming out of my grandma’s kitchen and the time she took to prepare the special Christmas dinner.

  792. I would love to make my own marshmallow! It’s sounds wonderful – Merry Christmas to you all!

  793. Wyner says:

    My favorite memory is of the family sitting around eating Chinese hot pot. Just sitting together – talking, laughing and eating around a steaming pot of nice broth, cooking good food. What more do we need?!!

  794. Erica says:

    My favorite holiday memory was how my cousins and I would get together on the day before Christmas. My mom and aunts would be cooking a feast for that night. My cousins and I would play Nintendo Games. The meal always had a turkey, Taiwanese sticky rice, and Taiwanese sausage. After dinner the cousins and I would put on a Holiday concert for the parents. And after that, one of the uncles would dress up like Santa and hand out presents. The next morning there was always turkey soup, soy sauce stir fried turkey, and what ever dessert we didn’t finish for breakfast.

  795. Julian J says:

    Holidays when I was younger would be spent back and forth between my family’s house and our cousins. My mom and my aunt would both spend time making a mix of festive dishes from their times in the Philippines and the new meals they had learned to make after they had immigrated to the United States. Despite having been separated from their families back home in the Philippines, they always made sure to keep our families close and for that reason I grew up just as much with my siblings as I did with my cousins. One time I had just arrived at my cousin’s house to sleepover and my eldest cousin and I sat down to talk in the kitchen. She happened to notice a warm pan de ube, which is a Filipino bread filled with jam made of purple sweet potatoes, sitting on the counter and she offered to share it with me. When my other cousin came down, he seemed confused and asked us if he had seen the pan de ube. My cousin explained that we had eaten it and in response my cousin snapped back, “Why would there be a warm pan de ube just sitting on the counter?” My eldest cousin just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know. Holiday magic?” To this day, we always laugh about season where warm pan de ubes magically appear on counters.

  796. Chris says:

    My best memory will be next year when I’m using all of this amazing stuff!!

  797. Barbara Lima says:

    The smell of Chex Mix in the oven – mmmmmn!

  798. My favorite winter holiday memory actually happened 8 years ago today. My boyfriend and I were at my parent’s house for Christmas break. We went to St. Augustine to look at the Christmas lights, but while we were there, my boyfriend sat me down on the sea wall, turned on “This Gift”, and proposed to me! (BTW, the sea wall was as close as he could get to where my dad proposed to my mom.) And, of course, I said yes!

  799. Pellegrino says:

    I loved making and decorating cookies using my grandpa’s sugar cookie recipe – secret ingredients: sour cream, nutmeg, and lemon rind. ;) When I found out I had celiac disease, I tried for several Christmases to make them gluten free, but without success. I cried real tears of frustration every time they didn’t turn out, and felt so silly for doing so. It was then that I realized what emotional connections we all have to food, especially around the holidays. I finally converted the recipe successfully, but it’s since been replaced by new gluten free holiday favorites. I still have fond memories of baking them every year for family Christmas celebrations though, and still love baking at this time of year.

  800. Sheri Chan says:

    My favorite memory of the Winter Holidays is catching my Dad playing Santa and fillings my brother’s and my stockings by the fireplace while we were suppose to be sleeping under the Christmas tree! Guess he didn’t wait until late enough! ????

  801. Josh Lippman says:

    Favorite memory was my son’s 1st Xmas….I’ll never forget it

  802. Julie Fundenberger says:

    The most memorable holiday stuff hasn’t happened yet, but should happen this year. I’m still single and I only have one sibling. She’s getting married in about 2 weeks and this will be the first year there’s a fiancee involved in Christmas. Sure, he’s not my fiancee, but it’s still going to be a fun time for the whole family. And probably one of the last Christmases before I get to start making niece or nephew Christmas memories. :D

  803. Rae says:

    My favorite winter memory was when my mom and her boyfriend and I drove to Santas Village, but I got super car sick on the way! We never made it to Santa’s village, but we played in the snow and had a great time! My mom died less than a year later, but I always look back on this little memory with fondness.

  804. My favorite winter memory is:

    Around 9 or 10 years old, I’d bundle up in an oversized snowsuit that my grandparents from Arizona bought both my brother and I for Christmas. They clearly thought Indiana was Antarctica, because this thing allowed me to waddle around in the freezing cold all day long. My older brother was either a pansy or cold intolerant, so I was always outside in the snow alone doing various things. I liked pawing out snow drifts with my mittens and making tunnels I could crawl through. When they collapsed, I’d make one massive snowman and then a lot of mini snowmen around him. I was an avid Calvin & Hobbes reader and picked the idea off of the comic book. It took hours and hours and when I was done, I’d come in, have my mom extract me from my snowsuit, and make a huge cup of hot chocolate. I remember shoving as many of them in the mug as I could get. I’ve never had homemade marshmallows, but I’d love to make them for my niece who is the same age I was in this story. I see a lot of her in me and she shares my undying love for marshmallows.

  805. melissa baker says:

    We dont get much snow here, but last year we did and had about 8 inchs, what fun!

  806. Paula says:

    Opening a rc racing car set that was advance for the time and racing together with my brothers… when new technology was simple and fun. Thanks for the opportunity.

  807. Leigh Ann Ganzar says:

    My favorite holiday memory is going to my grandparents house for breakfast on Christmas morning before opening presents!

  808. M D'alto says:

    My favorite holiday was making holiday cookies with my sisters. I stole the piping bag from my sister and she threw a whole bowl of icing at my head. A full on food fight ensued. By the end, the entire kitchen was covered in icing and batter and not one cookie was able to be eaten.

  809. Kathy McDermott says:

    My favorite childhood holiday memory was my Aunt Rae’s Christmas cookies. She baked so many different kinds, each more beautiful than any I had ever seen, which she carefully arranged on a Christmas platter. Since my Mom was not a big baker, these cookies were my first Christmas cookie experience. I hadn’t realized that people baked so many wonderful cookies at Christmas time and Christmas cookie baking grew to be a tradition with my sisters and me. Now our children have caught the baking bug and love to try their hand at baking new recipes.

  810. Julie K says:

    Sneeking downstairs with my three sisters as a school-age child to check out what Santa brought… and putting the gifts into recipient “piles.” Then we’d go back upstairs to wake our parents and ask when we could start opening gifts. “Go make some coffee” they said. So, we did. That being completed, we went back to them and asked if we could open the gifts. Of course, my parents knew they had us right where they wanted us, so they’d give us another task to complete. Finally, after several tasks (all of which I can’t even remember anymore) we settled down to open gifts!

  811. Jason says:

    The one year we had enough snow to build Snow Walls and had a Snow Ball Fight

  812. Veronica AM says:

    my favorite Christmas memory..hmm. So many to choose from! I think I’ll go with the time when our only son was born. It was his first Christmas, and man was he chubby! His eyes lit up, our hearts melted and after he saw the Christmas tree, he never left its side! He played with the bows on the gifts and ornaments on the tree. The sun was shining in through the window in the morning and it just seemed so unreal, and beautiful. My husband played with him, I played with him, our late Pup played with him. It’s a simple memory. But I’ll never forget that look on his face, and the glow of the sunlight surrounding him and our Christmas tree. To this day he loves the Christmas tree. And to top it all off, this year is his first Christmas where Santa has been brought to life!
    Thanks so much for the opportunity to win such a great prize and Merry Christmas!!!

  813. Jason Bohan says:

    My favorite as of this date would have to be the last christmas I just had. It was my sons first christmas and it really just brought all the excitement of christmas back. To see all the joy in his face of opening presents and eating christmas dinner and the music. It really brought christmas back to life for me.

  814. Lauren says:

    My favorite holiday memory is actually a bit of a holiday disaster. My parents used to host the entire family for Thanksgiving at our house every year and we would sit down for dinner at my great-grandmothers vintage dining room table. It is a beautiful oval shaped pedestal table that has been in our family for generations. One year we had so many people and so much food that we overloaded the table and it actually collapsed. I was about 10 years old at the time and was sitting at the head of the table so when it started to tip I was the one who was trying to hold it up as my entire family evacuated the food off of it. We live in sunny California so we ended up having Thanksgiving dinner outside in the backyard. This is my favorite memory because it shows how much my family loves each other and I think we ended up having a better time than we would have had at the fancy table. We also tell this story every year and laugh about it because my mom had the table repaired and it still sits in their house but never gets used for fear of it collapsing again.

  815. Celia says:

    One of my most treasured Christmas memories is actually from a time when I was away from my family. At some point, growing up my mom found these chewy peppermint candies with stripes around the edges and a Christmas tree in the middle. They weren’t organic or locally, artisanally made or anything like that but they were yummy and I looked forward to them every year as Christmas got close. So, off I went to college and I missed the chewy peppermints. And the Advent calendar. And exams were particularly stressful one year. I was in a different region of the country with very different weather and new friends and we’ll, you get the idea. I went to my mailbox one freezing cold day with exams looming and study time short and had a box from home. How sweet, I thought. It was bothering me that I hadn’t had time to do all my laundry and was wearing my last clean undies. Like, *really* had me concerned. This was, in decades of hindsight, unnecessarily compounding my anxiety. Hours passed, I finally got back to my room and opened the package to find a bag of the chewy peppermints (which I eagerly shared) and the best early Christmas care package ever — of all a week’s worth of brand new undies! TMI for a food blog giveaway, maybe. But it’s been decades and my parents are no longer alive and yet that’s the crazy act of mother love & caring that I cherish and remember every winter around this time. Every year after friends would ask if & when my mom was sending the chewy peppermints!

  816. Isaac says:

    My favorite memory is making and decorating shortbread cookies with my family. My mom would always do the real work, mixing and rolling even though us kids thought we were helping. We then ate about as much dough as was made into cookies using a slew of different cookie cutters. We had moose, bells, trees, a pumpkin (?), and the list goes on. Then, once they had been baked and cooled, we spent forever decorating them (and eating icing). They were always extremely colorful and quite varied in terms of style, as the kids in my family have an age gap of 20+ years and one is an artist. So while there was a 2 year old decorating, there was also a 26 year old. It was so much fun to have everyone in the kitchen together, laughing and fighting over what music to play. Now we’re all over the place, but at least some of us still get together every year to make cookies.

  817. Karen says:

    My favorite holiday memory began when my twin daughters (now 15) were about two years old. We started an annual cookie decorating party that has become a yearly tradition at our house. We roll out ridiculous amounts of sugar cookie and gingerbread dough and then have a cookie decorating (and now, an ugly Christmas sweater party) celebration with their friends. It is something we look forward to every year and has become a family tradition that will continue when my daughters have children. Family traditions are the BEST…especially when they involve cooking and food…something that truly shows your love.

  818. Robert j Pawlak says:

    Going grandmothers house watching football with all the males while the females cooked but wanted to learn how to cook so I snuck away to help grandma

  819. Tara says:

    My favorite holiday memories are all of the family food traditions. We baked cookies, made Italian honey balls and zeppolas, and fried lots of seafood for the feast of the seven fish. It was a wonderful childhood that I hope to recreate for my son!

  820. Andrea says:

    For the past 10 years, we have celebrated Christmas Eve with our best family friends. I always look forward to this night since the “pressure” and hoopla surrounding presents is erased. We’re all there to eat good food. drink wine, and simply be with each other. It’s a reminder of the true reason of the Christmas season as well as that the definition of family extends beyond blood relatives. It’s the people we choose to be in our lives as main support systems, and have proven themselves in times of need as well as in celebration.

  821. Kent says:

    We once rented a cabin in Montana with my entire family and cooked and drank wine while it snowed.

  822. Catherine Sutton says:

    My favorite holiday memory comes from when I was a little kid. Like many other children, I would leave some cookies and milk out for Santa along with some carrots for the reindeer. My parents would always drink most of the milk, and take a few bites of the cookies and carrots; so I REALLY believed that Santa and his reindeer were at my house and ate the snacks I had left out!! One Christmas in particular, there was a little empty green glass bottle tossed aside on the counter near the left over snacks. I had never seen a bottle like this, it was tiny, cute, and had some funny writing on it that I couldn’t understand. There was also a picture of a reindeer on the bottle! I asked my parents what this was, and they responded, “Oh that’s the drink Santa gives his reindeer when they get tired, to keep them flying through the night.” OH DUH, I thought, of course they need something to keep them going. We kept the little empty bottle on our windowsill for years. It wasn’t until I was well into my teenage years that I realized it was a miniature bottle of Jagermeister. :)

  823. murium says:

    Favorite holiday memory is going to our annual ihop breakfast with all of our family and always look fwd to that every year

  824. Yvonne Shisler says:

    Baking Christmas cookies and decorating them with all sorts of frosting and sprinkles we will always put so much flour on our faces and take pictures it was a wondering memory growing up and I still instill this tradition with my kids..

  825. Bonnie Borlace says:

    I was blessed this year with my sister old mixer, she bought herself a real one, but while I am blogging this is for my daughter in law Lindsey, she has become quite the little baker, although she doest have the supplies, so thus year I bought her a rolling pin, set of mixing bowls, pie plate.because she made her first apple/pumpkin pies at thanks husband and my self took everything over to make the pies because she didn’t have the supplies. She goes to her mom’s or borrows from to bake anything….My fondness memory is bake with my Mom,sister,aunts and grandmother all together making holiday cookies.

  826. Julia Molewyk says:

    A favorite holiday memory is travelling 12 hours to my grandparents to celebrate Christmas. We would sleep in the back of the family station wagon, while my parents drove through the night. When we got to grandma’s house, her counters would be covered with all sorts of holiday treats she had been baking in anticipation of our visit, and for all the holiday parties. Christmas morning was magical, as we awoke to presents under the tree, around the tree, and halfway down the walls on either side of the tree. Even as we opened our gifts, we hoped we’d be the one child who got to crawl way under the tree, to the furthest part of that corner to pull out the last of the presents. Later, the cousins would come over and we’d eat and play and gather near the fire in the living room. Good times! Merry Christmas, and thanks for the chance to win!

  827. Kathy Hinh says:

    My favorite winter holiday memories would have to be the ones im creating this year for Christmas.

    I grew up in the foster care system up untill i turned 18, so I never got to really celebrate Christmas or any holiday for that matter. My mother was deported when I was younger and had no money for the holidays but that didnt matter because she made up for it with the love she had for us in her heart. :) After turning 18 I knew it was going to be hard adjusting to the real world, and it definitely was. But, if it wasnt for the struggles I have gone through in my life, I wouldnt be the person I am today nor would I be where I am in life right now.

    6 years later, after turning 18, I have my own apartment, the perfect job, an amazing boyfriend, and an awesome second family!! This year I am blessed to be able to put up my own very first christmas tree in my own very first HOME.
    It is an amazing feeling knowing that I get to spend a real Christmas with my Boyfriends family, and not feel like I dont belong. They have been so amazing with me and I am forever grateful for them! Oh, and how can I forget the FOOD!! I get to enjoy the best home mad dishes ive had in years!! :)
    Even though I cant celebrate with my brothers or my Mom this year, I know that at least this year and the following years to come I can now afford to send them gifts or even save enough for a visit/vacation. That is my ultimate Christmas wish! :)

    Even if I dont win, im still winning.

    Happy Holidays everyone. :)

  828. kyle moak says:

    My favorite holiday memory is of my grandmother making our Christmas tradition meatball soup. As a child chopping celery and listening to my grandmother talk about the early days of living in Holland with A house packed with family and grandma cooking in the kitchen where some of my fondest memories.

  829. Lia says:

    My family would chop down our own Christmas tree. We’d drive into the mountains, then strap on our snow shoes and wander around looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Then my dad would saw it down, tie it to the roof, and all the way home we’d listen to Christmas music and drink hot apple cider. One year the tree was too big to fit and we had to saw a few feet off the bottom! Usually there would be some spiders trying to hibernate in the branches, and they would wake up when the tree was brought inside and we’d a few crawling on the wall by the tree, eek! But it was worth it.

  830. DiAnna Paulk says:

    My favorite holiday memory of my childhood is of my dad – who couldn’t keep a secret! He waited until my mother was at work and then showed, and let me play with, my Christmas gifts before Christmas. Mom got a little suspicious when I didn’t act as surprised as I should have on Christmas morning!

  831. Dawn Santos says:

    My parents loved Christmas. I used to say they were the most corniness folks I knew. They also loved their Family. So everything was pretty big. About the first of the December, the decorations would come out. Then the Christmas songs would start filling up the rooms of our house. And when it came time to getting the tree, we all had to go—me, my mom, dad, and brother. Picking out the tree would take longer than you could imagine but the final decision was made by my mom. One particular year, I saw this small Charlie Brown looking tree. It was so cute that I asked my dad if I could have my own tree in my room. Well, like I said they loved their Christmas….and some times indulged their children. So we took home two trees. And every year, after that I got my own tree. But even better than getting my own tree was the Christmas Tree Sandwich that my dad would make for us when we got home. A sandwich stacked with all kind of wonderful goodiness…fresh deli meats, grilled onions, lettuce and tomatoes and of course an egg to go on top….(we were eating eggs on sandwiches long before it was the trend…I actually thought my dad created that when I was little…and he didn’t correct me). Food is always apart of the best memories. Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of mine.

  832. My favorite memory would be waking up as soon as the sun came up and walking next door to my Grandmother’s house. She’d be up all night cooking the turkey, roast, sides and desserts. She used to call me her tester. She would give me a small sample of everything to try and give my opinion on. She is responsible for my love of cooking. Now that she is gone, I often think back to those days and I enjoy the fact that I get to raise my 3 boys in that house and feed them from that same kitchen.

  833. Helping my mom bake has been my favorite part of the holiday season. Making white chocolate bark, roasted and sweetened nuts, hundreds of cookies for friends and family. The best part is the homemade stollen and hefekranz breads from my great grandmothers recipes. One day I will get to pass the knowledge on to my kids and they can taste the love.

  834. Jeffrey Vaquera says:

    my favorite holiday memory is that of my late aunt Arlene. We, my family and I, were at my aunt Yolanda’s house for christmas. My aunt Yolanda looked after my grandmother after my grandfather had passed away, so her house in Selma, CA would become the place where all the big family gatherings would be held. I hadn’t gotten to see much of my aunt Arlene much since she had taken up her position as a counselor up in the bay area. Since I had known her she was my favorite relative, she was the reason I started reading more, the reason I aspired to be a better student and the reason why I know how to make a proper sandwich. Anyways, I was sitting in one of the guest rooms with my brother and my cousin Becky when she popped in to give a big hug and kiss to my brother and me, she then planted herself firmly between us and chatted with us as we played video games. It wasn’t some grand moment, but just that time, while everyone else was setting the table, or complaining about whatever gifts they got or didn’t get, or just drinking spiked eggnog on the couch, my aunt just sat and caught up like no time passed at all with my brother and me. It is exactly what I think of when I am asked what the word, ‘home,’ means to me.

  835. Jeffrey says:

    My favorite winter holiday memory was last year when Santa delivered bicycles to my two boys on Christmas morning. The weather that day wasn’t bad and they rode around the neighborhood with smiles stretching from ear to ear!

  836. Toan tran says:

    Growing up we never celebrated Christmas mostly because of financial reasons but that didn’t stop my brothers and I from begging for a Christmas tree. One year my mom finally caved and let us buy a small fake Christmas tree and decorations. We were so happy that we just grab decorations in like every color. When we decorated it was like a ugly rainbow tree but we loved it. We knew we weren’t going to get presents so we wrapped our old toys or just random things to put under the tree. It holds a special place in my heart because as the years went by the tree started looking nicer and we get lots of presents now. It still isn’t as exciting as first time we got our simple wish of just a tree.

  837. Lena says:

    When my grandma was still alive my family would always fly down to sunny San Diego to visit her for the holidays. There are a lot of fond memories and traditions – one of the things I remember is playing “guess the ornament” where someone would pick an ornament on the tree and others would take turns guessing which one. We still play that game in her memory each Christmas.

  838. Caitlin says:

    One Christmas in high school my family decided to be “Secret Santas” for another family in our church that had recently moved to the area. This couple had been living abroad and decided to adopt an entire family of kids (who happened to be the same age as mine). We gave up presents that year and picked out presents instead for the corresponding kid closest to our age. On Christmas Eve my oldest brother dressed up as Santa, we packed all the gift-wrapped presents in big black bags, and we drove to their neighborhood. My brother ran to their back door, dropped off the bags and ran. It was so fun to see the kids the next Sunday exclaiming over how Santa was real in the U.S.! They never did find out who gave the presents and we never told! And it’s still my favorite Christmas memory.

  839. My mother was never big on crafts but I remember her spending the time to build a ridiculously large gingerbread house with me when I was about eight. It was especially unusual because we didn’t really do much holiday decorating. We baked the gingerbread and decorated the house and I was so proud! Of course, neither of us really liked gingerbread or the sugar candies we decorated with so it was totally decorative only and we decided that we liked baking stuff to eat better!

  840. Michele says:

    I had been wanting a purple bike REALLY bad. Well, after midnight mass, they came in and got me. Out I walked into the living room. There were lots of gifts but no purple bike. We got to open one present which we all did. But I was shattered … no purple bike. Then, all of a sudden, there was banging in the basement! I was frightened and looked to my Mom for comfort. She pretty much ran the house. But then my Dad said, very heroically I might add, “Everyone stay here and will go see what that noise is.” I was little but I will never forget how my Dad was protecting us all. We wait. It was scary. We hear some more noise, some muffled chatter then we could hear Dad coming up the stairs. “It’s all okay” he states then walks around the corner HOLDING MY PURPLE BIKE. “It was just Santa. He forgot to leave it here when he came earlier.” I cried out of relief and joy and sheer excitement! I had my beautiful purple bike and my Dad was my hero!

    Years later I asked Dad how he did that. He told me he knocked on the window frame. I, to this day, never believed that because I heard the noise from downstairs. Dad passed at an early age, but he remains my hero at Christmas.

  841. Lynn Krizic says:

    Spending Christmas Eve and Day in my room sequestered from family and relatives, not because I was naughty but because I had a highly contagious strain of Scarlet Fever. And I was seven years old. But almost every hour my father would come into my bedroom and bring me something to play with or read. Although I wasn’t hungry he would bring me small plates of food, including some of his homemade kolaches. Of course he would bring in the ones with the poppy seed filling, my favorites. While I should have missed the opening of presents and the family holiday meal, I felt the best gift of all was having my father to myself for several minutes each hour over the course of those two days.

  842. EmmaLee says:

    Best Holiday memory happened every Christmas morning between the ages of 4-15. My mother would wake my brother and I up very early, like 3 am early and we would head to the airport in our cozy pajamas. It was our holiday tradition to get our favorite Starbucks drink and fly to Arizona to open our gifts with my grandparents. The excitement of waking up ridiculously early and sipping on chocolate first thing in the morning while in pajamas at the airport could not be beat! Traveling from Michigan to Arizona and leaving the snow and ice for Christmas in the slightly warmer desert was incredible. We would arrive early for my grandmas Finnish breakfast pancake and then the presents began! Afterwards was a drive through the desert and more cocoa. :)

  843. Aracelis Martinez says:

    Best holiday memory was waking up to a ton of snow on Christmas, rolling blading around the house (which was carpeted) and then sledding as the sun set. It was on 1996 or 1997.

  844. Kate says:

    I am a PNW girl at heart and a transplant to the beautiful rockies. I grew up with foggy Oregon coast winters and holiday meals featuring fresh, buttery crab, peppermint and passion fruit salt water taffies and clam chowder on Christmas Eve. My favorite holiday memory is tree hunting with my dad in the forested hillsides of northern Oregon. My dad carried me on his shoulders and I used my ariel view to pick the perfect fir. I lost my dad three years ago and have kept up the tradition of hunting my own tree, adorning it with woodland salt dough critters and cranberry garlands.

  845. Ivy Taylor says:

    i remember building a snow polar bear ambling up our driveway with my dad and siblings. It was quite lifelike, though not quite the size of a real adult bear. It was about three feet tall ( on all fours) and about 4 or 5 feet long. I was around 10 years old at the time.

  846. Helena Briones says:

    Back when I was a kid, I used to spend Christmas holidays in Barcelona (Spain) with my little sister which is were we grew up. Those days were all about eating comfort food, singing at home and watching tv on our cozy pj’s.
    I remember one specific Christmas (I was about 9, my sister was 5) when my aunt brought home a bottle of Moscatell, an expensive really good-quality one.
    -Moscatell is a typical Catalan sweet liquor usually served with biscuits or desserts with nuts, at the same time that coffee comes to a table. It can also be used in some of those desserts, I like to put a couple of tablespoons into the coffee when I make Tiramisù- You should try it Steph, it is delicious!

    Well, my sister and I were obviously not allowed to try Moscatell when were kids, although we begged several times after hearing “how good it was” from the adults.
    On the night of December 24th before going to bed, my mom, sister and I were preparing our slipers under the tree (Santa always left candy inside them) while my dad was preparing a cup of milk for Santa and water for the reindeers. We usually left some cookies as well.
    I was already washing my teeth and listening how dad was reminding me: “if you don’t stay in bed sleeping all night, Santa will know and he won’t stop at our house!” (after that I obviously spent aaaaall night super nervous squeezing my eyes shut), when we suddently heard our mom saying: What did you do???
    It was my little sister, she had poured almost all the bottle of Moscatell into a tall glass next to the cookies and milk.
    “if Santa likes it, he will leave more presents for us!”

    My parents still remember that, and laugh a lot remembering the fun night they had ahead drinking the glass of Moscatell and eating cookies after we left for bed.

    Merry Christmas folks!

  847. Samantha says:

    My favorite holiday memory was when I was younger all of my family members would go my aunt and uncle’s house where we’d hang out all day eating and playing games waiting for night to come so we could open up Christmas presents. I remember loving all of the chaos and commotion and just the feeling of everyone being together.

  848. Irene Ng says:

    My favorite holiday memory is when we all come together around the dinner table looking at all the food we made. Just looking at the amount of food on the table was enough to make us full, but we still managed to stuff ourselves. We all ate so much that the next scene in our house is everyone lying around holding on to their bellies full of food. After dinner we all always come together and each gets to open one present of our choice which is always a good memory seeing everyone ripping the wrapping paper off making it rain christmas wrapping paper. But the best of all is just being altogether.

  849. Lisa Jean H says:

    my favorite winter memory is my grandmother making Christmas cookies. Stirring the batters with a wooden spoon, kneading doughs, little mini cheesecake tin foils. That’s Christmas.

  850. Nanda says:

    My favorite memory is growing up in Hong Kong and Christmas is always very festive. My parents would take me to see the lights around the city where they are new and different every year! My sister and I would get pretty new dresses to wear to take family photos with. My parents would then either make dinner at home or take us out for a family dinner! After coming to the US we started getting little gifts for friends and family. I enjoyed spending countless hrs shopping in store (before online shopping existed) ;) and taking it home to wrap them with my family. One must do for me every year is to decorate the house and bake cookies while playing Christmas music in the background because it reminds me of the festivity when I was young! Happy holidays!

  851. Olga says:

    Being with my family.

  852. Margaret says:

    My favorite holiday memory is sitting with my mom waiting for the candles to burn out. We chatted and listened to the wolves howl. It was very peaceful.

  853. Kaitlin says:

    My favourite holiday memory always revolves around snow! Anything to do with it :)

  854. Mary Briccetti says:

    One year, like most kids probably, I surreptiously opened all my presents in the days before Christmas. It was quite a letdown to find out that Christmas morning isn’t that much fun, if you aren’t surprised. I never knew if my parents were aware of my actions or not.

  855. My favorite Christmas memory is from when I was a child living in abroad in Germany with my family. I was about 5 or 6 years old and our first Christmas there was very different from Christmas in the states. I had to put my shoes outside on the front porch, because Santa put treats in them if you were good or coal in them if you were bad. We had a dog named Daume and he loved shoes… So before Santa could get to my shoes, Daume chewed them up and left them mangled on the front porch. When I went outside the next morning I thought for sure I had been extra bad to have Santa compelled to destroy my shoes!! But my parents artfully explained to me that it was only the most special of children who got their shoes chewed on by Santa’s reindeer… I didn’t throw those shoes away for several years… :-)

  856. Ashley Lee says:

    My favorite holiday memory is having my entire family home, especially family that had to travel to join the rest of the family. We began our tradition of celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December with the exception of each child having one gift to open on Christmas Eve. Eventually through the years, we began celebrating on Christmas Eve with present opening occurring Christmas Eve night after Christmas Eve dinner. To this day, this set up works perfectly because most of us then children have our own families or significant others and we are now able to spend Christmas with both families since Christmas Day is open.

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