The kids and I had a great holiday season full of many of our favorite traditions. It’s funny how much my kids have come to love traditions – I think they appreciate that while our family has changed, our holiday rhythms have not.

We started by going to Winter Fest OC – a holiday extravaganza at the fairgrounds of Orange County.  This was our third year going and we always have so much fun. There is sledding, fair rides, holiday lights and food . . . but my kids love the tents of snow play most of all.

We went with friends and these SoCal kids spent a lot of time throwing snowballs at each other. We also let them split off from us and ride all of the gut-punch roller coasters, which I was happy to skip. We had some hot chocolate and some fair food, and went home tired but happy.

We also hosted our annual Buddy the Elf Spaghetti Bar. This has become another favorite. I make tons of spaghetii and then let the kids and their friends top it with candy and syrup just like Buddy does in the movie. (I also make marinara and meatballs for the less brave adults.)


I also went to my (former) inlaws to open gifts with them. I’m thankful for inlaws who have remained family despite our divorce.

Our neighbor hosted a pretty epic white elephant exchange, to which I brought my enneagram 3 A-game, and I think India went home the winner.

We had our Christmas Eve brunch with the same friends we’ve had brunch with for 18 years running. Such a treasured tradition.


And Christmas morning, we did our usual routine of opening stockings followed by a slow breakfast, and then opening presents.

To quote @markhowerton: “Yes, matching pj’s. We’re divorced, not barbarians.” 😂

And then we spend the afternoon cleaning up and packing for our trip to Tokyo the day after Christmas. I can’t wait to share those photos with you!