Earlier this week we showed you how Aimee does holiday gifting, with a little help from our new àplat culinary and wine tote bags. To continue our love affair with all things holiday gifting, Christiana shows us how to choose - and package - the perfect holiday gifts that everyone on your list will love.
Hygge & West: What are your tried-and-true tips for making any holiday celebration - big or small - more hygge?
Christiana Coop: These will sound pretty basic, but adding candle light or lighting a fire is by far the quickest and easiest way to make any gathering feel more intimate and cozy. Serving drinks and food in lovely glasses and dishes immediately elevates any gathering to make it feel special, I think. My mom has collected some beautiful china and crystal from England over the years and always brings it out during the holidays, which makes our meals even more festive. Plus we can always have a good chat while washing the dishes by hand after.
H&W: Gift-giving is like hygge for the soul. What are your tips for choosing the perfect gift?
CC: For the men in my life, booze is usually the answer. Otherwise I generally only give gifts that I’d want to buy for myself. Not sure that’s actually the best approach, but for my closest friends and mom it seems to work. When I was in law school, my mom came to visit and we had an extra long day out in the city. It had been raining so I remember us both being cold and tired by the time we got back to my little studio apartment. I ran a bath for her with my favorite bubble bath, lit a candle, and brought her a glass of wine, just how I like it. She still mentions how much she loved that bath.
So this year, I put together an updated gift bag of my favorite bath things. I choose a festive looking and very tasty Sangria, rose bath gel from Molton Brown, and a small H&W candle.
Then I tied everything up with some green ribbon and a candy cane.
Now if only I could gift it with some coordinating wallpaper, Jungalow style!
H&W: What are you most looking forward to about the holiday season this year?
CC: I’m heading home to New Mexico for Christmas and can hardly wait. Christmas in NM is so full of traditions for me. I love going to Santa Fe to see the plaza in holiday lights, eating green chile when it’s cold outside, and strolling to see luminarias in my neighborhood.
David, Christiana's nephew, showing off a Christmas tree in Belize last year
Introducing Eli, Christiana's nephew, to the perfect vacation junk food combination
But Christmas is still the most fun seen through the eyes of my nephews. I spent some time with them last year in Belize for the holidays, but this year they’re heading to NM as well, and I truly can’t wait to just spend time with them. And then for New Years, I’ll be heading to New York to meet up with my boyfriend, Joe, and his kids. It’s their annual tradition to spend a week in NYC every year between Christmas and New Years and it’ll be my first time joining in. I’ve never been to NYC during the holidays, so it should be lots of fun – holiday windows, Central Park in the snow, Broadway shows, cozy cafes…
H&W: Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
CC: I really, really want to cook more. Does two recipes a month sound doable? Baby steps. I know, it’s so pathetic. One recipe I’ve made several times, so I'm confident enough to gift it, is Tartine’s savory bread pudding. I made it this year for Joe (and his dog Calum may or may not have gotten a few nibbles…). The hardest part was getting to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients.
Here’s the recipe. Honestly is it so good… and basically fool proof! I did bacon instead of smoked ham. Just something to consider :)
Bring this to brunch in an àplat tote and you’re sure to be a hit! At least according to Calum.
Bonus points if you pack up Bloody Mary fixings to go along with it!
And don’t forget salt for the rim and a squeeze of lemon.
Christiana's mom and dad in New Mexico
H&W: What's your all-time favorite holiday movie or song?
CC: A Christmas Carol, the one with George C. Scott. I’ve watched this practically every year since I can remember. First just on TV with the pledge drive breaks, then a recorded version that you’d have to fast forward through, then we upgraded to a VHS, then a DVD… it never gets old! My favorite song is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby. I’ve actually been fortunate enough to spend every Christmas with my parents, but I remember my dad telling me how he used to listen to this song when he was in the Navy and wished so much that he was back home in Iowa with his family. I think it’s my favorite song because it reminds me of him and makes me feel so grateful that we can all be together.
filed under: #HowIHygge