‘Tis the season for traditions! I love talking with my friends about Christmas traditions they had growing up and what they continue to pass down to their kids. So I thought it’d be fun to share some holiday traditions my family holds dear every year!

For the past 40 years--at least-- my parents have hosted a Christmas Eve open house, where my mom spends all day cooking a massive buffet feast. I’m reminiscing about those parties when we would have anywhere from 50-200 people show up! To make it even more special, the Christmas Eve open house was actually passed down to my mom from her mom! Unfortunately, this year we are not able to have this party, but we are cherishing the memories of all the years past! It's such a blessing to connect in-person with this amazing group of people every year. Leading up to the party, my mom, Analisa and Paige make frosted sugar cookies to share with everyone. They make such a mess with flour sprinkled all over, frosting hardened onto the cabinets, and so much more! Here is a photo of when Paige was 2, (she's now 10) and she thought it would be interesting to see how flour felt on her feet, so she stuck her foot straight into the container! Thankfully there wasn't much flour left in the container, so my mom didn't feel too bad when she had to through it away. When I arrived at their house to pick the girls up, I found footprints EVERYWHERE in their house! This is one tradition that we will still do this year, and I can't wait to see all of the cookies and their decorating! Entertaining friends and loved ones, preparing for the party all day with my family; that is what makes this event one of my favorite traditions.

Christmas Day is also Nick’s, my husband's, birthday. So, not only are we celebrating Christmas but, we also mix in plenty of French Toast Casserolebirthday celebrations for him. We try to give him as much attention as possible, since his birthday is shared with many other traditions (but BONUS, he's never had to work on his birthday like the rest of us have!) The girls and I make and decorate his favorite, a large chocolate cake, I make my mother-in-law’s French Toast Casserole, another one of Nick's favorites, and we make sure to sing him Happy Birthday first thing. I’ve linked the recipe here if you’re needing a yummy (and super easy!) brunch dish for Christmas morning.

For Christmas dinner we’ll always have a bottle of Reserve Red. This pairs perfectly with our choice of either prime rib of beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner. This year we’re planning to have our 2018 Reserve Mourvèdre and our A Toast to Best Friends White Blend. We also enjoy a pot of mulled wine simmering on the stove to sip on before dinner and it makes our home smell like Christmas! You can try our mulled wine via our mulled wine kit!

Lastly, the girls (and my mom) make homemade red wine vinegar for all of Analisa and Paige’s teachers as gifts (here's a gem of a photo from 5 years ago - you can see how many bottles they are making!). We have a red wine vinegar culture that we started several years ago and we keep it going by adding our Reserve Reds to it. We then take a clear wine bottle, add in fresh sprigs of rosemary and oregano, some bay leaves, fresh garlic cloves, and dried red peppers to the bottle. Pour in the red wine vinegar, and you have a beautiful homemade gift!

Gosh! Don’t you love how most traditions are centered around food and drink?! I do. There’s something about giving others something they can enjoy and remember via a special holiday dish or a glass of wine that can be enjoyed year after year that really makes me smile!

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a much happier 2021!

-Natalie