Thanksgiving is nearly here, and I’m waking up to the fact that Christmas is coming around the corner too. I know that everyone says time flies, and I’ve been told that as one gets older the months and years start to pass at lightspeed. That has never been truer for me than this past year. It feels like Doug and I were just celebrating our first Thanksgiving (when these photos were taken in Ohio) and Christmas as married couple, and then in February we brought home our puppy and the rest feels like a happy blur. So here we are.
I value traditions and especially enjoy building holiday traditions. At the same time, I recognize that it’s a fine line between cultivating annual holiday traditions and becoming overbooked and overworked during the festive season. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to adding only a few new traditions this year.
Baking a New Pie - Each year around Thanksgiving (and usually for Christmas too!) we bake my maternal grandmother’s epic pumpkin pie recipe. Her secret is using far more pumpkin pie spice than you might think is necessary, and as a result I judge pumpkin pies based on their color. If it’s a pale orange, I’m not interested -t hat’s a giveaway that it won’t be flavorful enough for my taste. In recent years I’ve enjoyed sharing my grandmother’s pies with Doug’s extended family at their family Thanksgivings too. I have no plans to stop making our family-favorite classic pumpkin pie, but this year I’m also itching to experiment with making some new and totally different pie. Maybe it will have a crazy flavor profile or maybe I’ll attempt a complicated decorative crust. I’ve found so much inspiration recently, and I'm documenting it all here.
Cookie Decorating Party - I’m grateful to have meaningful holiday baking traditions on both sides of my family. My paternal grandmother always made thin, crispy sugar cookies that were perfectly decorated. My grandmother’s style and aesthetic for the Christmas cookies were always consistent, and I loved receiving her tin of cookies each year. I expect that it will take me at least a few years of experimenting until I settle on my favorite taste, texture, and decorations, but I’m excited to start the process. I’ve been meaning to start this tradition for myself for the past couple years, so this year I’m putting a date on the calendar and inviting girlfriends to join me for an afternoon cookie decorating party.
A Photo of Us, With the Tree - We get a full sized Christmas tree every year, despite living in a New York City apartment and even though we inevitably traveling around the holidays to see family. It’s a longstanding tradition for me, and despite the somewhat complicated logistics of getting a tree home in NYC (read: you have to carry it). Before I met Doug, my roommate and I would put up a Christmas tree and spend the time to decorate it. Having a lit tree to make December nights cozy is something I cherish, and I look back fondly on my memories from each Christmas tree from prior years. Starting this year, however, I want to get a photo of us with the tree to commemorate the effort that goes into it. I think it will be fun to have those snapshots to look back on, and see what changes from year to year. For example, this year I’m curious to see how Foster will react to the tree (love it? hate it? fear it? try to eat it?!?). And I anticipate that we’ll have a challenge on our hands getting her to leave the tree and the especially the presents alone.
Do you have any holiday traditions that you’re looking forward to, or any new ones that you’re hoping to start? I’d love to hear about them!
p.s. If you’re looking for a creative idea for all those Thanksgiving leftovers this year, might I suggest making a turkey pot pie? It remains one of my beloved Thanksgiving traditions.