Rave: How we’re spending our holidays

We’ve been counting down to this time of year since, well, last December! Whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else, we’re all looking forward to a few days of rest, relaxation and time with our nearest and dearest. Everyone has different family holiday traditions, so we thought it would be fun to share what we’re up to over the coming weeks.
My fiancé and I are spending Christmas Eve with the in-laws, Christmas Day with my parental units and then taking off for the Dominican Republic (alone) for one week of all-inclusive bliss! After a hectic, fun-filled fall, I’m craving some time off to lay on a beach (wearing SPF 50, of course) and read a good book. I’ve been counting down the days – literally, with a white board on my fridge – to bathing suits, flip flops and snorkeling. Added bonus: we’re gone for New Year’s, eliminating the need to plan for the most-hyped night of the year. 
Michelle was so jealous of my plans, she’s bringing her whole family to a resort down the road. 😉 See you at the airport, Mich!
My family has had a home in Florida since I was very young, so we travel there every year during the holidays. We visit my dad (who lives there six months of the year), catch up on loads of movies and books, eat good food, shop and rest. We have a beautiful lake outside our door and egrets and ducks that run around wild. On New Years Eve, we make wishes off of the bridge over the lake. It doesn’t matter if the weather is warm, or cool – it’s just our very special escape. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. Our home away from home. 
Lara
I’m spending my holiday in NYC, my home away from home.  🙂
 
Okay, I lied a little. I’ll actually be staying in Brooklyn at my friend’s house, while she’s away visiting her boyfriend in Switzerland. My plans there consist of:

– Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at least once to commute into the city.
– Exploring the High Line


– Seeing one of my favourite bands on New Years Eve and Day (and maybe also on December 30 if I end up getting a scalped ticket once I’m there)! 
– Eating dinner at least once at a low-key restaurant I discovered (and am a little hesitant to share, but be that as it may, they deserve it), Alta in the West Village. 
– Trying the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. 
– Trying not to eat at all of the restaurants of every chef that I watch and love on Chopped, like Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Santos (especially Chris Santos) and Geoffrey Zakarian. 
– Going to Eataly for ingredients to make delicious home-cooked meals in my Brooklyn abode. 
– Doing what I always do when in NYC:  just walking walking walking, looking looking looking, and smiling smiling smiling.

If The Ghost of Christmas Past were to tell me anything, it’s that the first half of my vacation will be spent Christmas shopping. Every year I tell myself I won’t wait until the last minute, and every year I find myself scrambling. I’ll also watch lots of Christmas movies (It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer are some of my favourites). Then comes the really good stuff…
Christmas Eve
Dinner with my boyfriend, Jesse, and his brother (Kelly) and sister-in-law (Rita). We’re going to have a big feast at my house with lobster as the main course. Jesse’s cooking – he’s the best cook ever.
Christmas Day
Christmas dinner with my entire immediate family, plus Kelly and Rita. So like 10 people and two dogs in my tiny apartment. Turkey and the works. It’s stressing me out. I will definitely be drinking.
Boxing Day
A lunchtime visit with the grandparents (mom’s side). Afternoon/evening – visiting my dad’s side of the family at my grandmother’s house. It’s a tradition – we gather there every year, eat ourselves silly, drink lots of wine and exchange gifts. 
Aside from fitting in as much sleep as I can, that’s pretty much it. I’m sure more fun stuff will pop up, but I’m just taking that as it comes. Merry Christmas!
I live away from all of my family, so the holidays are really the only time I get to see them all at the same time, in the same place. My fiancé, Justin, and I are celebrating Christmas together in Toronto on December 23; then we’ll head our separate ways for family bashes. My family is really big, so it’s always loud and hectic, but lots of fun. Lots of kids, lots of laughs and the odd drink or two.
 Evidently, we are people that put costumes on our pets. 
I’m going to St. Thomas (Ontario, not the Virgin Island, unfortunately) to see my mom, dad, brother and sister at various places over the holidays. One of our Christmas celebrations is at a farm, so we will often hook up a wagon to a tractor and head out into the countryside for a snowy ride (complete with hot chocolate and sitting on hay bales). I guess I am a small-town girl at heart.

I am over going out for New Years Eve. Bars are too expensive, too crowded and ultimately disappointing. So this year, our good friends are having a house party in Leslieville. Everyone is bringing snacks and drinks, and I know it’s going to be a blast. 

I love that holidays mean quality time with people you care about (and, I also love getting gifts).
On December 23, my first day of holiday vacation, I will probably just sleep in and watch some holiday movies. Elf is a favourite.
On Christmas Eve, I am going back to my suburbian hometown, Pickering, to have dinner with my family, which is always entertaining. It’s become a tradition that later in the evening, a few of my girlfriends (who are also visiting back home) and I get together to enjoy some wine and giggles.
And this year, on December 25 at 5 p.m. (yes, I am also counting down), I will be heading south to the Dominican Republic with my mom and two sisters. I won’t be checking email for seven days, which will take a couple of days (make that hours) to get used to.  
I plan on relaxing, reading, tanning, exploring, dancing and potentially having a holiday fling (joking)! I am also happy to report that I will still be in the Dominican for New Year’s Eve, so will be ringing in 2011 wearing a little summer dress, sandals and bare legs!
 New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic will look something like this.
For the holidays, I’m a Miami girl through and through. There, I’ll be on a steady diet of Original Pancake House chocolate chip pancakes and Cheesecake Factory grilled cheese. 
 Delicious chocolate chip pancakes.
I can be found by the pool in a mismatched bathing suit, reading Cutting for Stone or Half Broke Horses. During tanning breaks, I’ll be shopping at Barney’s, Bloomies and Saks. Dinners and movies are with friends and family; the food is always good and the movies are always comedies. After a week away, I’ll come back relaxed, tanned and wearing a new Alex Wang outfit. Yesss.
My hubby, Ariel, and I are staycationing. The plan is to put our son into daycare (sorry Oliver!) and enjoy our time together (ALONE!) just doing everyday things. Movies, lingering lunches, massages, naps. You get the idea. Happy Holidays!
My holiday vacation will be filled with shopping, movies, coffee dates, trying new restaurants, cottaging and most of all, partying. 
 Christmas at Muskoka Wharf.
I’m most excited about a tradition with my dad and three sisters, where we spend the day together and shop for Christmas presents for my mom. We’ve kept this tradition going for 20 years, and it is easily our favourite day of the year. Especially since it gives us all time to enjoy lunch together, chat and take in the Christmas-y spirit!
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