It used to be unthinkable to spend the holidays away from my family, but life changes and unfortunately that’s not always possible. Growing up, Christmas meant driving to Janesville, Wisconsin on snowy, country roads for a ridiculously early dinner at my grandma and grandpa’s house with chocolate steam pudding and chocolate chip pie, card games, opening presents, listening to old stories, and an inevitable nap. Later my mom added the tradition of making lasagna on Christmas Eve and letting us open one gift (or more if we begged) early. Now there are obstacles which make it harder to continue these traditions: my very pregnant sister, my grandma’s physical inabilities, distance, work, and other in-law families who deserve time, too. I stopped going back to Milwaukee about 3 years ago and despite the fact that I tremendously miss those traditions with family and friends (don’t think I am forgetting about our famous White Elephant parties my dears!), I have started some new traditions here in Los Angeles and those have offered me some sense of familiarity and love.
For the third year in a row, I spent Christmas Eve at Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant in Alhambra known for its Juicy Pork Dumplings. When everyone else leaves town for the holidays, you can always count on the Chinese! My Christmas Day was spent almost entirely at Wi Spa, a Korean spa in Koreatown. This is also becoming a tradition since last year part of my celebration included getting pampered at another spa, but I assure you that the Korean spa experience was nothing I could have prepared for! Look into it if you’re curious ;). And like any good celebration, the day also involved good cheese, ice cream, and champagne. Big love to those who shared the day with me.
Below I have some images of my delicious Christmas Eve dinner and the after party ;). New or old, I hope you all enjoyed your holiday traditions.