Make Memories for the Holidays


I have experienced a lot of change in the last few years. Some of it was by choice and some, well, not so much. The holidays tend to mark milestones in our lives from the time we’re very young. And when traditions and family structures change, the holidays can carry with them a lot of baggage.

In our late 20s, Matt and I moved to Georgia. Every year we would return to Michigan to visit our families over Christmas. Eventually, we found our forever home in Asheville North Carolina. As our family dynamic changed, so did our desires for the winter holidays. We wanted nothing more than to make new memories in our own home.

This year, our last Christmas in Atlanta as Matt finishes law school, will be the last time we don’t spend the holidays in our home in Asheville. So I’ve been thinking about and imagining what I want to do during the season once we move back. The holidays are a perfect time to make new memories. Here are some things I’m envisioning for the future.


Winter Solstice Celebration

For years, Matt and I celebrated the Winter Solstice for practical purposes. Since we would be driving to Michigan to spend Christmas there, we didn’t want to cart all of our presents to each other 12 hours there and then again 12 hours back. We opened our gifts to one another on December 21st. Sometimes we made dinner at home and sometimes we went out just depending on our schedule.

Now that we’re not traveling, we still want to mark the Solstice. Last year, we attended A Celtic Christmas here in Atlanta. Once we’re in Asheville, we can find similar events. We’ve also begun a new tradition of buying a few trinkets from the catalog that Matt’s mom shopped from during the holidays. Even though we know what they are, we wrap them and write tags “From Santa.” We open them on the Solstice.


Christmas Eve Open House

One tradition I am excited about starting in the future is a Christmas Eve Open House. This is born from our tradition of midnight baking. When Matt’s mom would go to Midnight Mass, Matt and I would stay up and bake. We would pick a new recipe every year and listen to the Jon Solomon 25 Hour Christmas Marathon, which is full of super weird music and stories.

Once we’re back in Asheville, we want to open our tradition up to anyone who wants to stop in. We will do baking and have the music playing. We’ll also have lots of food and drinks available. I would love to incorporate a Feast of The Seven Fishes if we can. We hope to the place everyone wants to drop by for a little while.


Breakin’ Up Christmas

A few years ago, I learned about an Appalachian folk tradition called Breakin’ Up Christmas. It’s celebrated mostly in the area of the North Carolina mountains close to the Virginia state line. The idea is that every home in the neighborhood hosts a party on one of the 12 days of Christmas. People bring food, furniture is moved for dancing, and music played late into the night.

While we may not be able to replicate this exactly, we would love to be a part of a tradition with multiple gatherings throughout the holiday season. 


Mele Kalikimaka Tiki Christmas Party

All of my friends know that I am currently obsessed with mid-century modern Tiki culture. And one of our fun projects as soon as we move back home is to build an outdoor Tiki bar. We want to host friends for a monthly or even weekly Tiki cocktail event.

Christmas is the perfect time to put a spin on that. Turn up the holiday surf rock and make cocktails with the flavors of the season. If the weather is delightful in Asheville, which it often is, we plan to host an outdoor Tiki holiday celebration next year. Mele Kalikimaka! 

What holiday traditions do celebrate in December? Let me know in the comments or on social media.  


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