Through words and pictures, Jessica and her two daughters Elise and Mila invite us to a Christmas tea in their Boston home and share about the way they celebrate the holiday as a family.
How would you best define America’s Christmas traditions?
American holiday traditions are abundant and diverse. Holiday strolls and open-air markets light our evenings in the city. Families gather to attend The Nutcracker ballet, and some smaller guests have an American Girl doll in tow. City ice skating rinks host shows featuring local celebrities like Nancy Kerrigan. Tea parties abound in homes and restaurants.
What about New England and your Christmas?
In Boston, our first snowfall makes the city glisten and holiday baking ensues. While our days are full of excitement, we try not to overschedule ourselves so as to keep the smaller moments special. With a frost in the air, our hands crave the warmth of a teacup. Stuffed friends join us for the festivities as we sip (and dance) to our heart's content.
Can you describe your typical Christmas?
Our Christmas is spent with grandparents in a small colonial Connecticut town.
Christmas Eve is warm and inviting with cheese spreads and holiday music. My father’s LGB train set is reinvented every year winding its way through the living room and outside under snow bridges if winter weather cooperates. The tree is decorated with generations of child-made ornaments and popcorn garlands. Milk and cookies (with a carrot for Rudolf) are left out the night before with the hope of magic.
We ease into Christmas day with a hearty breakfast and coffee, much needed after a late night of wrapping presents. Stockings are first on our list and everyone takes a turn opening gifts. The day’s excitement carries us through to an early dinner, lots of laughter and love. Christmas dinner is often followed by board games, reading, or jigsaw puzzles.
What is your traditional Christmas meal like?
Side dishes from Thanksgiving tend to carry over into Christmas and it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to make another batch of my grandfather’s stuffing. A flakey white fish with roasted vegetables is popular with everyone while the adults share spiked beverages and wine.
Do you have a special Christmas tradition of your own for your family?
Since my family descends from Croatia, we’ve tried to introduce its customs into our American lives. A special holiday decoration in Croatia is the Licitar heart which looks much better than it tastes! The bright red gelatin coloring used to make these dough cutouts gives them longevity but also makes them inedible. If you’d like to make them for yourself, here’s a recipe worth trying : Recipe
Celebrating together as a family is also tradition on its own, even as it changes year by year. Being with one another under one roof lets me know it's that special time of year once again.
The girls' dresses are our Charlotte sy Dimby creations.
The hair bows are by Eva's house.
Follow Jessica and her family on Instagram : @blakeacres
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