The holidays are in full swing here at the Printfresh studio! Snow is in the forecast, we’re planning our office holiday party, and the sound of Mariah Carey belting out “All I Want For Christmas Is You” can be heard over the speakers. To get even more in the celebratory spirit, we’ve decided to share a few of our holiday favorites below...
Favorite holiday tradition?
Amy (Creative Director): Our tradition is that we actually celebrate two holidays—my family celebrates Christmas while Leo’s family celebrates New Year’s, where Russian Santa (Ded Moroz, or Father Frost), accompanied by his granddaughter the snow maiden, visits kids to give them gifts.
Christiane (Designer): Going with my family to pick our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving is my favorite! I’m from a rural area of PA with lots of tree farms, so we always pile into my dad’s pick-up and have an extended debate over what the ideal tree looks like before cutting one down. We also usually celebrate Christmas Day with edibles, Chinese food and an action movie (we’ve spent the last few years working our way through the new Star Wars films).
Sophia (Marketing Manager): I love visiting Longwood Gardens while it’s decorated for Christmas. One year, it snowed a few inches while we were there and covered everything. It was freezing but absolutely beautiful and unforgettable.
Kat (Photographer): My parents had this artificial Christmas tree that is actually older than I am. I was always the first to get it out of storage and build it for everyone to decorate. A few years ago they gifted the tree to me to keep, so now I get to build and decorate it in my apartment and let my cats go crazy trying to climb it!
Diana (Shipping Manager): Making tamales with my mom is definitely my fave tradition! We make them the Saturday before Christmas. I literally cry every year just because it makes me so happy. The house is filled with Mexican music, gossiping, beer and laughter as we make them. It’s pretty cute.
A present you asked for as a child but never received?
Amy: I always wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll. My parents didn’t believe in plastic toys (really, total design snob hippies, if that’s a thing) and instead got me a beautiful handmade cloth one... which of course I didn’t appreciate until much later in life!
Christiane: I always wanted a pet skunk! In PA it’s pretty easy to adopt one that has been de-scented from a breeder. A traveling vet we knew had one and would take her along for car rides and to Home Depot with him (she would just sit quietly in his lap). But for some reason my parents thought it was better to just stick with dogs and cats...
Sophia: Furby! I wanted a Furby so badly and asked for one for several years, I think. But after the nightmare that was my 10 Tamagotchis, my parents were not about to get me another talking toy.
Kat: A rolling backpack!
Diana: A puppy :((( But then I surprised them and got one later in life and realized, “Oh.” RIP Charlie, he was the best.
Heavy decorating or keep it simple?
Amy: Since we have two holidays, and now started taking a trip abroad with the kids over the holidays (every other year), we don’t decorate a lot. I have a December birthday (go Sags!) so I don’t like getting a tree until after my birthday, which doesn’t give us much time to get festive. As a kid, I always dreamed of living in a house that was outlined in blue lights and had a candle in every window—I’m hoping to someday make that happen! This year I took the step to getting the lights, but the kids keep messing with them. Maybe next year I’ll get the candles to stay in the windows.
Christiane: Definitely simple. I put up a tree and don’t do much else. I wish I were someone who put up lots of lights outside my house, but it’s just too much work!
Sophia: I have two cats that can’t keep their paws to themselves, so I’m kind of forced to keep it simple.
Kat: I’d like to say I am a heavy decorator, but I’m just too lazy. I do love driving around to different neighborhoods and looking at awesome lighting setups!
Diana: Pretty simple. We haven’t taken down our Christmas lights since 2017, so not much work ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Real or fake Christmas tree?
Amy: Ok, I’m such a purist that you would think I’d go for real... however, the needles that fall off drive me nuts. We have silver ones at the studio which I love, and I’ve been wanting to get a white one for the house as it would show off all of our beautiful ornaments I’ve collected over the years.
Christiane: Real!!!! The smell is the best smell in the world. This year a friend got intel on an old tree farm that was being bulldozed to put up a UPS warehouse. We got permission to pick out as many free trees as we wanted! I drove back to Philly with two trees (one for myself and one for a friend) stuffed in the back of my Subaru.
Sophia: Fake. I’m sure a real tree is beautiful and smells great, but it’s too much effort for me.
Kat: Fake. I love my 30-year-old artificial one!
Diana: Fake. One Christmas we did get a real one and I think collectively as a family it was one big “Nope.”
Favorite holiday movie?
Amy: I love cheesy Christmas rom-com movies much to Leo’s chagrin. This year I want to rewatch Four Christmases, Elf (because it’s been a while), and Love Actually.
Christiane: I’m a sucker for old animated classics like the stop-motion Rudolph, a Charlie Brown Christmas, the OG Grinch, and the Little Brown Burrow which is a really hilarious made for tv movie from the 70s. Also, does Gremlins count?!
Sophia: The Nightmare Before Christmas. I also liked Krampus. I guess I lean toward slightly less traditional Christmas movies? But I do love the occasional holiday rom-com like A Christmas Prince.
Kat: Home Alone, definitely. But I also love the old animation Cricket on the Hearth, which might be the strangest movie I’ve ever seen haha.
Diana: Die Hard, hello young Bruce Willis!
When is it acceptable to start listening to Christmas music?
Amy: Well, we actually start designing our holiday collection months before most people would say it’s acceptable so I like to get started kind of early to get in the spirit. But, outside of the studio walls, I definitely listen to it after Thanksgiving.
Christiane: December! I don’t listen to much Christmas music on my own, but my best friend manages a boutique and always makes the best mixes for her store. Ashanti and *NSYNC Christmas songs are my favs.
Sophia: Personally, I don’t start listening to Christmas music until December, but I don’t get mad if I hear it in November the way some people do haha. Honestly, if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” came on the radio in June I’d still listen to it!
Kat: I tend to wait until after Thanksgiving, only because if I start before that, I run out of music and get bored.
Diana: I have to go with Christmas Eve. You get two days and that’s it! I've worked in retail since I was a teenager and even worked as a photographer taking pictures of kids with Santa, so Christmas music started playing insanely too early in the year. That being said, I really do get into Christmas music once it’s on, so after Thanksgiving is fine...
Favorite holiday treat?
Amy: French Chocolate bark. I make a really good one by Ina Garten, it’s super easy, looks fancy and is that amazing mix of salty and sweet. Plus, it’s not so filling, which is nice after a big meal.
Christiane: I LOVE butter balls. We use a recipe that my neighbor’s grandmother used to make, and it is the absolute best (browned butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and ground pecans, how could you go wrong?!). If I could eat browned butter every day of the week I would!
Sophia: My parents’ neighbor always drops off her homemade rum cake on Christmas Eve and I’m OBSESSED. We host a big dinner with friends on Christmas Day and I don’t put the cake out until I’ve cut off half to save for myself. (Sorry not sorry!)
Kat: My mom makes these amazing molasses cookies from scratch. I tried making them using her recipe but they just aren’t as good as hers!
Diana: Tamales! You can eat them whenever but they just taste better during Christmas.
Do you consider yourself a good gift giver? What’s a favorite gift you’ve given?
Amy: Well, gift-giving is my love language. I'm notorious for being a total creep and keeping a list of things I know people would like throughout the year. I love surprising someone with a random thing they wanted 10 months earlier. My favorite gift to give though is at my parent’s house for some reason none of the pens or pencils ever work, I love to sneak down in the early morning and fill up their writing implement cup with fresh beautiful pens and pencils.
Christiane: I’m good at giving thoughtful gifts when I find something random that reminds me of someone, but not the best at gifts for specific occasions. I’ve been trying to be better at buying in advance, and this year, while I was in India, I picked up some colorful block printed button-up shirts for my brother and a fancy ayurvedic anti-aging lotion for my mom.
Sophia: I’d say I’m a thoughtful gift giver. One year I collected all the group photos my friends and I had taken throughout the year and had little photo albums printed for each of us—they all loved them and we still look through them when we’re together.
Kat: I love giving gifts. I have an animal-loving family, so I usually go for the animal lover gifts. And candles, lots of candles.
Diana: Mmm… no. I can’t even think of a good gift I’ve ever given. My friendship? Yikes.