This holiday season will definitely be different this year, so we thought we’d reach out to members of our team to see how they normally celebrate this season but also how they will be changing their traditions for this year. Let us know how you celebrate by sharing with us on Instagram at @ifp_life or in our Wechat group. Happy Holidays!
My family celebrates Xmas together, but I don’t so much now. Same with New Year’s. Sometimes I go to my mom’s, as does my sister and her family, to open presents from under the tree on Xmas morning and have turkey dinner in the evening with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, coleslaw, cranberries, etc. Other times, I stay home, sleep in, and laze around the house all day.
When there’s a new Star Wars film released around Xmas, we go to see it in the theatre together. When I was a kid, we always watched the Sound of Music.
This will probably be quite the same as other years, where I sleep in and laze around all day.
My whole family usually goes to my parents’ farm in the country to spend time together over Christmas Eve – Boxing Day. There is a ton of food and many excited nieces and nephews running around!
My family does a stocking exchange every year filled with many small, silly gifts. We spend Christmas day eating – there is food out all day and a big family dinner. We always have a Christmas punch and a ton of baking – my mom’s shortbread cookies are my favourite!
Christmas isn’t Christmas without listening to “All I Want for Christmas is You” and watching Christmas classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Instead of having a big family Christmas this year, I will be celebrating with my husband and my two cats! But we’ll likely get everyone together virtually to celebrate safely.
My family usually spend Christmas at my parents’ house and my grandma comes over. We eat a lot throughout the day, and open presents in the morning before relaxing and watching some films in the afternoon. In England it’s a bit of a tradition to watch the Queen’s speech in the afternoon – she does one every year.
We always decorate the house and the tree at the start of December, and my dad likes to put up the Christmas cards on the walls. Sending Christmas cards to friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours is very common and he likes to count how many he gets… I always watch A Muppet Christmas Carol!
For food, we always have a turkey roast dinner with lots of vegetables and gravy. Music really helps put us in the Christmas spirit! Lots of Christmas albums, Elvis and Bing Crosby and some others too.
This year I’ll be doing a lot of zoom stuff. My partner’s family live nearby and we’ll try to see them distantly, but also zoom is also a nice opportunity to get everyone together in one place which isn’t usually possible in real life – I like to look for the positives!
I usually travel to some place warm (sometimes visit my family, sometimes beach) – I attend a candle light service in church on Christmas eve and New Year eve and have a special Christmas/New Year dinner with family or friends (depending where I am). I always dress up for holidays!
During Christmas season, I do a lot of gift exchanging with family and friends; New Year’s eve, I like to stay up till the first streak of sunlight then sleep till late afternoon on New Year’s day.
Instead of turkey, we ate lamb or duck and a side of sweet and sour rice dish with nuts and cinnamon. Also, mulled wine and Asiago cheese for all other holiday gatherings that are not dinner “Elf” and lots of Hallmark movies.
The things I do are not common where I grew up; but I came up with these traditions since I was in college and I try to do them wherever I live. This year I will still meet up with some friends (keeping the numbers as limited as recommended for health reasons), but I won’t be attending church candlelight services so probably we will light up scented candles during dinner.
Have yourself very happy holidays, everyone!
I grew up Muslim and my husband is French-Canadian. Though both of us are now Atheists, when we got together we took the best parts of the holiday season (cooking, having drinks, and getting together with friends and family), and made something that felt special to us. We visit our families on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. We dress up nicely for Christmas Eve dinner, and casual for the rest. PJs for Christmas breakfast is a MUST!
Growing up, on Christmas day my family would go to a local Chinese restaurant then see a movie at the theatre. Where I grew up in Toronto, it was very common to go to a Chinese restaurant and the movies, which were often the only places open during Christmas day.
Now that my partner and I have a toddler, we decorate the house top to bottom. We have two trees – one which we decorate, and the other made out of felt for my toddler to decorate. Secret Santa with friends is fun and we always go for a Boxing Day morning hike or walk. On NYE, we watch Big Fat Quiz – it’s this hilarious panel show from the UK! We’re not big partiers, but will toast the new year with a drink.
My husband always makes Tourtière, a French-Canadian meat pie dish, with a recipe that’s been passed down in his family from the early 1900s. I always add a touch of Bengali-Indian flare by making mango-saffron lassi, instead of eggnog!
My husband’s tradition is that we have to watch Die Hard and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation during the holidays. For me, we have to watch Elf and Scrooged. We usually have holiday music playing in the background – Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs are ALWAYS on the playlist!
Holiday celebrations this year will be just myself, my husband, and our toddler. We want to protect our loved ones, so the best thing we can do is stay home as much as possible. But we are celebrating with friends and family via Zoom.
I celebrate a secular Christmas by having dinner with friends and traveling home to the US to see family. I dress up a bit for dinners, but Christmas Day is usually spent at home in pajamas. We decorate our tree and house early, and turn the lights and candles on each evening. We make sure to watch the same Christmas movies every year, and listen to a lot of Christmas music.
On New Years’ Eve I find fireworks across the world on YouTube for my daughter to see, so we don’t have to stay up too late.
My relatives do a “Secret Santa” exchange and only buy a gift for one adult each. The kids, however, get a huge amount of gifts from everyone. We always drink a lot of hot cocoa at Christmastime, and bake some cookies.
This year, my little family will only hang out with one other family that we have been close with all year. It will be tough, but we will FaceTime our relatives for dinners and send gifts through the mail.
We celebrate with family, candy, and presents. Since I live far away from most of my family I try to use the holidays as a chance to see them, and also get them things that they will like. It’s all very casual and matching pajamas are often present.
Our traditions include decorating a tree and the apartment, filling stockings, and opening presents while a fireplace plays on the TV! Nutella crepes on Christmas morning are a must, and Mariah Carey’s Christmas album too.
This year we will have a zoom holiday with my family abroad, and we will do our best to still make it a special day for my family I live with.
I spend time with our family and have dinner together and exchange gifts on Christmas 🙂 it’s very casual.
In Japan, New Year is family gathering time and we eat a special New Year meal called Osechi, so I usually make & eat it with my friends here during new year holidays 🙂 Osechi is eaten to pray for good health and harvest for a year:)
In terms of traditions, we send New year’s cards to our family and friends in Japan and my go-to movie is Love actually!
We usually celebrate quietly with a small group, so might be the same. Lol If the restriction gets worse, I’ll enjoy zoom parties with my friends and family 🙂
For Christmas, my 3 siblings and their families share an evening together! It’s an excuse to dress up and get out of pj’s! Everyone has to throw on a Santa’s cap! We have a gift exchange with funny gag gifts with no particular person in mind as we draw numbers! For New Year’s, we watch live fireworks with friends or watch the ball drop in New York’s Times Square on TV after sharing a nice dinner. Christmas and New year’s with family is usually celebrated with Chinese food as a tradition with a bottle of champagne, prosecco or wine!
For Chinese New Year, we give the kids a red package with money for good luck and a nice multiple course meal!
We sing along to the Christmas carols that we hear on the speakers! Or sing to au lang syne as we count down to New Year’s on the eve! For Christmas, I go to my once-a-year Catholic midnight mass on Christmas eve. One year I accidentally ended up in an Ethiopian mass as the old church converted without posting notices! I may find a Cathedral streaming or maybe a mass from the Vatican this year!?
This year, we will have a Zoom with family toasting each other with best wishes! I will deliver little treats to their doors or email each of them with a treat before Christmas. I like to take a drive to the cemetery with pots of flowers to pay my respects to my parents and nephew. I may continue this tradition this year!
Every year, my friends get together at someone’s house to have large celebrations together. It’s like having a giant family celebration! However, this year to stay safe, all my celebrations will be from the comfort of my own home.
The Holidays are all about comfort, so I’m always celebrating in my warm, fuzzy pyjamas and bunny slippers!
For Christmas, I decorate a Christmas tree with my family, and play “Bad Santa” with my friends and family. “Bad Santa” is a fun game where you bring a secret gift, and everyone takes turns to either open a secret gift, or steal a gift from someone that they’ve already opened. I highly recommend it! Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it SNOW!
As the designated Christmas Cook in my household, I always cook a giant Christmas dinner, with turkey, mashed potatoes, and ALL THE APPLE PIE. I also have a tradition of taking 3 days off every December to bake Christmas cookies with my friends – our record is a whopping 350 cookies that we baked over 3 days! For New Year’s, I usually will put together a deli & cheese platter, and wait for the countdown to pop a bottle of champagne.
My family always celebrated Christmas together, but growing up, the Lunar New Year celebrations were always much more important and elaborate than New Year’s Eve on Dec 31.
This year my friends and I have decided to do a distanced Christmas Dinner potluck – each family will cook 1-2 dishes (enough to feed 15 people), and then drop portions off at each other’s houses on the day before. Then, we will all heat up Christmas dinner together at the same time, and set up a virtual meeting so we can have dinner together virtually.
In even-numbered years, I go my families’ farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in odd-numbered years, I visit my in-laws in Tennessee. Either way, there’s lots of hiking – yes, even in the snow! And WAY too much food. Because I drive, I end up seeing lots of friends on the way to or from either place, which is so lovely but also kind of exhausting! When I’m in Minnesota, we always eat lefse and pickled herring because of my family’s Norwegian heritage! Other than that, lots and lots of cookies, brownies, and candy… I love peppermint, so I’m always quite a fan of candy canes.
It’s very casual, unless we go to church. But on Christmas morning, we stay in pajamas. I always get books, so after we finished opening gifts and eating, I usually settle in to read.
I love It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. When I was a kid, my dad always read us “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve, and although we sometimes to forget to do it now, we try to keep that tradition alive.
This year I’m staying at home. I normally don’t decorate a tree because I’m gone for the holiday, but this time, my partner and I are getting a tree. We’re going to have food delivered to my mother-in-law so she can have a feast. I’m looking forward to reading a lot.
My family and I usually celebrate Christmas on the beach. Every year we fly out to Cuba and spend two weeks in the sun, recharging our batteries for the long Canadian winter. My husband does kite surfing
and my six year old daughter and I love to take our SUP out to the coral reef and pretend we are explorers.
For Christmas Eve we dress nicely and have a fancy dinner, usually with friends we meet at the resort every year. The dinner is sometimes a challenge for me, because I am vegetarian and most of the really fancy stuff in Cuba is meat based. But desserts are amazing, and I always end up eating too many sweets. My family watches Home Alone every year and we play lots of carols while we share food.
Before we leave, we decorate the tree at our house so we can find it nice and welcoming when we return from our annual trip. My daughter and I also build and decorate a gingerbread house together every year. This has been our family tradition since she was one year old.
My background is Romanian and the sweets and treats I prepare for Christmas are usually recipes I learnt from my grandmother. I make sweet cakes and cookies, which I share with friends and neighbours. I usually bring some to work, to enjoy with my colleagues, but this year I guess I will have to just show them off on Zoom. One thing we celebrate that is specific to our Romanian culture is St. Nicholas Day. The night of December 6th, we leave our boots lined up by the door for St. Nicholas to come and fill them with treats (if we were nice) or a stick (if we were naughty). We each get lots of chocolate, which our daughter ends up raiding over the holidays.
This year we will enjoy our time at home and take advantage of winter activities such as snow shoeing, tubing, and hiking through the woods behind our house. There is something magical about spending slow time in our cozy home together, watching the Nutcracker, playing board games, and playing with our cute toy poodle. It will be different from what we usually do, but different can be good. That’s how we grow!
I hope the winter break will give you time to reflect on what is most important to you. This year has been difficult, but if nothing else, it has put things in perspective and shown us what we are capable of (individually and collectively) when we put our minds to it. Happy winter holidays, everyone!