Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas (and Hanukah) around here. We’re starting to gather gifts and focus on end-of-the-year plans—can you say, “home for the holidays” 5 times fast? We can! The Bay Area has so many transplants that half of our team will be heading out of town to visit friends and family this year.
We had a meeting to align those holiday schedules (read: we hung out and talked about our plans) and the topic turned to holiday spirit. It turned out that everyone has a unique way they get into the cheery holiday mood. So this month’s Cup of Tea is all about getting into the holiday spirit!
Here’s what the team had to say about filling their holiday hearts with the warm fuzzies:
I decorate the *[email protected]% out of my apartment. No really—lots of pine tree cutouts, ornaments, colorful lights and then I diffuse pine and woodsy EOs. I'm slightly obsessed with the Christmas Holiday Season, and Santa of course. Oh, and every season I have to watch Elf while eating chocolate chip cookies that I just baked.
My mom is Jewish and we always celebrate Hanukkah down in Southern California. She also has a mini Christmas tree with big oranges as ornaments (true “Orange County” decor), so I get the best of both worlds! Also, I am attempting baking this year with Simple Mills Almond Flour Pumpkin Cupcake Mix and Vanilla Coconut Frosting (all paleo), can't wait to impress my boyfriend's Mom.
I really like coming up with unique and creative gifts to give to my loved ones. During this time of year I love going to antique shops, on Etsy, etc to find personalized treasures. It's also one of my favorite times of year to get crafty and make something homemade!
I’ll be honest, since moving to California it’s been a little bit more difficult to get into the holiday spirit. There’s no snow on the ground and there aren’t pine trees lining the roads or big suburban houses totally decked out in lights (can you tell I’m a rural midwesterner?).
I find that when the days start to get darker out here, I get into the holiday spirit by throwing myself into project ideas and figuring out what to send my family back home for holiday gifts. I go through all my stuff and end up with lots of boxes to donate. This year I donated most of my paperbacks to prisoners and a lot of clothing and DVDs to Goodwill (there’s always more to come too).
I love to bundle up and visit Battenfeld's Christmas Tree Farm in NY with my hubby and son (and now baby girl :-)). We'll search for and find our perfect Christmas tree, cut it down, and tie it to the roof of our van. Then, we'll have some hot chocolate and take a ‘sleigh' (aka tractor) ride with Santa and his reindeer. Once we get back home, we'll put on some Christmas carols, get the decorations down from the attic, and decorate the tree/house. This time of year is usually super busy and stressful for me, but I'm looking forward to cutting back on activities this year and taking it slow so I can really bask in the celebration of the season.
This is for sure a time for brainstorming! I love handcrafting gifts for my loved ones…not sure if THEY like it as much as me but it's so much more fun 🙂 :). I love using this time to introduce new natural brands to my family by incorporating fun samples into their stockings. December is such a special time to appreciate, love, create and BAKE. xx Happy Holidays Tribe
We love to help spread the spirit of Christmas by getting a group of friends together and go Caroling around our different neighborhoods. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing the kids run up to the door to ring the bell and start belting out Jingle Bells or Frosty the Snowman, and seeing the smiles on the faces of those neighbors. The best is when they say hold on one second, and go and get the rest of the household to listen in! Plus it is a wonderful way to spend quality time with our close friends during a busy time of year.
Another favorite thing is baking cookies, and sharing them with all our friends and loved ones. This has been a tradition in my family since my Grandma could remember. She learned from her grandma. I am keeping that tradition alive with her recipes, some of her old cookie tins, and baking with our kiddos.
I love love love going to pick out a Christmas tree, bringing it back home, clearing space in the living room, throwing a log on the fire and a classic Christmas movie and getting to decorating. One of my greatest memories as a child was helping my grandmother decorate her home for Christmas and setting up Santa’s Village under her Christmas tree. I hope to pass that tradition along to my son as soon as he's old enough. I also love bringing home one of the Cinnamon Brooms from Trader Joes this time of year. The smell of cinnamon is so nostalgic and comforting 🙂
Some of my dearest childhood memories are from the Christmas season. I would burst with excitement as my parents would bring the boxes of decorations down from the attic. We would dedicate a weekend to decorating, and listen to an album of Christmas music sung by a children's choir, on repeat. We made five or six different kinds of Christmas cookies/treats with my mom, and we would gift them to neighbors and teachers.
These days I'm all about handmade gifts. As Christmas nears, I start making lotions, lip balms, candles, etc. My favorite part is wrapping them and seeing the presents under the tree grow and grow, anticipating the look on my friends' and family's faces when they open them!”
I love going to coffee shops or cafes with my friends and family in the middle of December, because a lot of places have lights, decorations, and festive holiday drinks up to prepare for the holidays. I opt to sit outside so that the cold encourages us to sit in a bit closer as we engage in conversation, while hot beverages warm up our hands.
I also love baking tons and tons of cookies during this time and making little goodie bags for my loved ones. And lastly, my family takes annual skiing/snowboarding trips, but I haven't been able to attend the past few seasons. However, this year, I'm definitely going, so I'm really excited to hit the slopes again with my lil' sweet board.
Annmarie Gianni is a mother, health activist, entrepreneur, and founder of 3 successful businesses. Over ten years ago, she and her husband, Kevin, formed a team and Annmarie Skin Care was founded to provide a clean, natural skin care experience using natural, organic and wildcrafted ingredients. After a few years of focusing on creating a successful skin care business, Annmarie was able to step away and focus on raising her kids. Today, you’d find Annmarie volunteering her time at her kid’s school, helping out at community events, going on trail runs, and spending quality time with her family.
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