BRIGHT.LIFE

Start feeling festive: My top five holiday traditions

This post is in partnership with Crest; all views my own.

1.Watching Holiday Commercials

I grew up in the UK where holiday ads are a *huge* deal – think Super Bowl huge! The commercials would last over 3 minutes and have full on plot lines with charming characters that were even turned into plush toys! My heartmate and I often sit together and watch all the commercials before choosing our favorite. When my friends at Crest reached out and told me about their holiday ad I was intrigued to check it out. I love how it has such a warm, eel-good message. The commercial stars Bertha Nunn, a mother and grandmother whose lifelong dream was to act on TV. Crest partnered with the organization Wish of a Lifetime to grant Bertha’s wish and make her dream come true! I think it’s so heartwarming! Check out the behind the scenes video and the finished ad below:


2. Christmas Cooking and roast potatoes

The holidays are such a great time because work always quiets down over Christmas so I have the chance to cook some more complex meals with my heartmate. Everyday life is so busy and we don’t get the chance to spend as much time together in the kitchen preparing full meals from scratch. One of our favorite things to do together on Christmas day is making roast potatoes. IMHO mash potatoes are great, but they aren’t anything on their roasted cousin! They are simple to make, all you need to do is:

Peel Yukon gold potatoes. if there is a large potato then cut it into two but small and medium sizes can stay whole.
Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes in a pan of salted water. While the potatoes are boiling heat a roasting tray covered with oil and sea salt in the oven at 375F.
Once the potatoes are par boiled, drain them and allow them to sit in the colander for 3 minutes to dry. Then, give them a good shake to fluff up the sides of the potatoes.
Next, tip the potatoes into the roasting tray and cover them in the oil and roast in an oven for around 1hr -1hr 15minutes.

The potatoes will come out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. At Christmas I often do one of Jamie Oliver’s flavor combinations, you can find them here.

3. Going to the Ballet

The first year we moved to NYC, we had only arrived six weeks before Christmas and barely had our apartment set up — we didn’t have any kitchen utensils or plates! We were walking around on Christmas Eve near Lincoln Center and went to the box office and lucked out — they had some standing tickets for The Nutcracker. We stood right at the back for the whole performance and loved it! We have been every year since and it’s become our yearly holiday tradition.

4. Donating to Charity

Something that always makes me feel festive at this time of year is making sure I stop to think of others. In that spirit, I always try to make a donation to charity at this time of year, as well as donating coats to the NY Cares Coat drive. It’s also a great time to volunteer — last year, my heartmate and I volunteered at the New York City food bank where we served senior citizens breakfast and helped to prepare lunch.

5. Holiday Reads

There’s nothing like a good winter read to get me into the festive spirit! Here are my top three holiday reads:

Comfort and Joy by India Knight | Honestly, this is the funniest holiday book I have ever read!
The Swimmer by Joakim Zander | This thriller has many winter scenes in it and it’s one of my all-time favorite thrillers I’ve read. It goes around the world and involves an ex-CIA agent – a perfect read for relaxing night in front of the fire this holiday season.
White Out by Ragnar Jonasson | This murder mystery is set just before Christmas and is sure to give you a festive feeling.

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