Extraordinary in Ordinary
NYBlender team is split across different continents, yet distance nor time difference have never created any boundaries between us. It is difficult to share major holidays though. We invite you to have a glimpse into our traditions, favorite recipes and simply the way we do holiday season, wish farewell to the old year and greet the New Year.
Jana in Dubai
Christmas mood kicks in for me around the first week of December. This is when I start getting excited everytime I see a Christmas tree, red ribbon or snowflakes. The time to complain about the heat and dream about white, puffy snow. This is when I decide there is an urgency to go back to Europe and then once I do, I begin to accumulate reasons to complain about the rigid cold, freezing eyeballs, greyish views, the snow or the lack of daylight whatsoever. This results in a week of gluttony and a year-load of mulled wine.
It has become a tradition to throw a holiday gala dinner party while I’m visiting Europe in December. That evening we gather and share most memorable moments of the past year, pair food with wine, exchange gifts and forget about our phones to focus on friendships. Worth mentioning that the star of this year’s dinner and probably the best gastronomic discovery of this year in terms of desserts went to Shef Sentjurin, who has prepared absolutely delicious and instagram-worthy little vegan chocolate cakes with almond mousse and lingonberry filling.
When I happily return to Dubai with a suitcase full of early gifts and good memories of the times spent with friends, first thing to do once I step off the plane is to order the Christmas tree. This year the tree is from Ace Dubai. These guys are my saviors! Since I am fashionably vegan and environmentally friendly, I surely cannot live with decorated plastic in my house, thus the choice is always real tree with fresh pine aroma.
Speaking of aromas, Christmas is all about scents; the scent of apple-cinnamon tea, freshly baked gingerbreads, roasted chestnuts, and spiced cranberry candles. It’s about the sounds of crackling fire and soft jazz while taking hot baths with sea salts and essential oils from Joik. It’s about spending whole days in silky pajamas, cooking and eating, and eating, and eating. That is why no matter what, you will see me visiting the gym religiously every day in December. It is also a great time to bond with gym regulars since only the rare few will show up on the Christmas day, which makes you a part of the dedicated gym squad with an extra special feeling.
Come mid-December it is time to hunt for next year’s agenda. I got hooked on bullet journaling, and now I religiously shop for that perfect inside-out notebook that will be my memory and brain for the year ahead. Believe me that the color is very important here, as it will appear on many Instagram posts and has to match every outfit. My personal preference is for dotted pages and natural white paper. Well, you get it - it is important for me!
Christmas tree decoration is also special, it is almost a meditative ritual for me. This year I have asked my friends to give me one bauble that will go on the tree and remind me of them, it will be full of warm memories and make me smile every time I look at it.
Christmas Day is all about family, and this year I am flying my mom into sunny Dubai. I plan to indulge us in good food, long walks, thankfully the weather is allowing for that, share new experiences like spectacular show of Le Perle by Dragone, and simply spend some quality mother-daughter time. Of course a few brunches with friends and cold champagne for breakfasts are planned as well, as bubbly perfectly fits festive atmosphere.
Marina in NYC
Christmas holds a dear place in my heart. This is about family, warm and tasty food, good vibes, surprises and simple togetherness. From the time I was a kid, Christmas was a big deal in our family, and we continue to celebrate this joyous holiday by getting together and having a good time.
December is my favorite month of the year for many reasons: it’s the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, dressed up in lights cities, sparkles and ribbons on gifts- it’s about the magic of anything and everything to happen, and it is my birthday month too. This year more unusually than others the holiday season came in like a typhoon and swept me away. Started a month of celebrations in Dubai, followed by spectacular Hong Kong, quick stop over in New York to raise a toast with family and friends in honor of me, then a short visit to Los Angeles, and wrapping the year up in Miami with my family.
Traditionally we have always celebrated on Christmas Eve, the evening of December 24th. Family and friends would come over early evening and with everyone participating in cooking and setting up the table we get into cozy celebratory mood. We gather around the dinner table and focus on each other, laughing and eating and drinking, with plenty of surprises for kids from Santa.
Today we continue by hosting family and friends on December 24th in whichever town we are. For the last five years, we have been coming down to Florida for the holidays and with each year the dinner table keeps growing and growing. From close and distant family, to friends from all over the world, people fly in to celebrate the year and each other.
Since I’m usually gone for Thanksgiving, I use this opportunity to cook the turducken, which is braised for nine hours to perfection, and excellently paired with my husband’s signature mashed potatoes. Accompanied by salads, cheese and meat boards, and plenty of wine – the menu is complete! My favorites for reds are the Chateau Simard and Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, for white Guillaume Vrignaud Fourneaux Chablis Vielles Vignes, and for sparkling we go with the Gucci family vineyard Uberto Gucci prosecco Rose or Brut.
We have made it a tradition to spend Christmas Day on a boat. We drink rose all day and dive into blue warm waters. Ride jet skis and simply fool around. This is the time to act like a kid, make magical gestures, live the dream, and enjoy extraordinary in ordinary. Holidays are nothing without the family, which is the most important to me.
Everyone has different ways to celebrate and special routines to follow. However, sharing our own with each other and how we prepare for holidays creates the feeling like we are doing it together. The entire month of December is about friends and family after all, so we are bonding and sending out to the World positive vibes of love and joy!
There are no rules or traditions to follow but to create your own.
Your fabulous NYBlender Team