Hello hello, and welcome to episode 12 of Life on the Brink!
This is a very special episode, not just because it’s one of our special holiday episodes, but because I have the great pleasure of featuring another guest on the show!
If you’ve listened to this podcast for any amount of time, you know that we’re big on traditions around here. I’d say that’s even more so during the holidays, as so many of us have certain ways we love to celebrate or beautiful memories that we like to recount each year.
I really enjoy hearing about how other people celebrate Christmas, and thought it would be fun to have a cozy little discussion with one of my dear friends all about our favorite holiday traditions. We’ll talk childhood memories, holiday movies, drinks, gigs, baking, you name it.
Enter: my friend Caroline!
Caroline is one of my best friends and bandmates. We sing together in a group called the Truetone Honeys with our friend Jeanette and generally have the best time. Caroline is a singer, thereminist (check it out), songwriter, and all-around fantastic artist. Plus she makes a mean charcuterie board.
Today Caroline and I are chatting about our favorite Christmas traditions, as we both love this time of the year. We’re both from big families and love traditions and nostalgia, but we’ve also had very different experiences and love different things, which makes it fun. During our interview we talk about some of our favorite Christmas memories, holiday concerts, and new ways we’re celebrating this year. I’ve left the highlights here, but you’ll want to listen to it to get all the magic, trust me!
**Caroline is the baby in that first photo, you can see how the family has grown over time**
CHILDHOOD CHRISTMAS MEMORIES (4:46)
Caroline’s favorite memories: More than anything, Caroline enjoys the tradition of doing the same things with her family each year. Every Christmas morning Caroline wakes up her four other siblings (this is well into adulthood as well!) and they all have to wait at the top of the stairs as her parents prepare breakfast and get things ready. Her mom, the legendary Sharon Scruggs, would arrange the gifts “from Santa” in beautiful displays, rather than wrapping them.
Caroline also talked about how she always loved the anticipation of Christmas Eve even more than Christmas Day, and recounts an adorable story about a possible Santa encounter from when she was young.
My favorite memories: In the same way, I love family traditions. Every Christmas Eve my family gathers at my grandparents house for the Puerto Rican Navidad Extravaganza dinner. There’s pork and rice and punch, and we always end up inviting some new people every year. At the end of the night we play Bingo, and I remember as a kid going that same night to the nearby park to drive through Christmas lights. The next morning is a very special particular breakfast that my grandma makes specifically because she knows I love it. Plus, I mentioned one particular Christmas when my siblings and I all got bicycles, which was a riot.
CURRENT TRADITIONS (16:38)
Caroline’s traditions: Caroline has one very special friend from childhood that she always sees every year around this time to have a baking day. They end up baking an insane amount of cookies, and it’s a tradition that they’ve kept up with through the years.
My traditions: I personally love a tradition that Caroline and Jeanette and I have made of walking through Christmas lights, and then going back to Caroline’s, making pasta, decorating a gingerbread house, watching a Christmas movie, and usually also making brownies. I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate it this year, but it’s always such a fun time.
Mutual traditions: Throughout our conversation, both Caroline and I talk about our experiences caroling, our love of singing, and how much we’re missing the Christmas gigs this year. Practicing and performing Christmas music is something that is specific yet constant to our holiday seasons, and is something we look forward to in future years.
HOLIDAY DRINKS (24:47)
Caroline’s favorites: She’s found a new love in the Harney and Sons Holiday Spice Tea (which we’re drinking throughout this talk), and we all know I love a seasonal tea, it’s so good!
She also included that her favorite alcoholic beverage during this season is a good Old Fashioned, specifically the ones her dad makes.
My favorites: I have a thing for wassail, or Christmas punch. I usually have to have at least one glass every holiday season, and this year I might go so far as to make my own.
As far as alcohol, I’m not an eggnog girl, but I do like a bit of coquito, which is basically the Puerto Rican equivalent.
MUST-WATCH MOVIES (29:45)
Caroline’s favorites: White Christmas is her favorite classic Christmas film, but her other favorite is Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (we decided to watch it this year cause I’ve never heard of such a thing)
My favoties: My favorite classic pick is, of course, It’s a Wonderful Life, and I like it in black and white better I think. But my favorite Christmas movie of all time is A Christmas Carol, the 2009 animated version. The story, the animation, the MUSIC is all perfect.
NEW WAYS TO CELEBRATE (36:11)
Caroline’s new way to celebrate: Caroline made a goal to herself to send a letter or postcard every day in December to someone that she doesn’t necessarily see too often, and has decided to make it a sort of Christmas tradition. I think it’s very sweet, and Caroline shared some beautiful thoughts on making others feel seen and loved during this season, especially after the year we’ve all had.
My new way to celebrate: As I mentioned in the last podcast, I’m sort of embracing a quieter Christmas season this year. Not only am I in a new apartment with less people (and therefore less noise), but my schedule is also much more open than it usually is at this time of year. Even though I’m still spending lots of time with my family, on the day-to-day I find myself embracing a more calm, quiet Christmas season.
Caroline’s Little Joy: Her sweet dog Lilah. Lately Caroline has set her alarm a few minutes early and started her morning by snuggling her puppy. It’s so cute the way she describes it, and I know firsthand how wonderful Lilah is. It sounds like the best way to start a day, honestly.
What Caroline’s Listening To: The soundtrack to The Queen’s Gambit. We both loved this new Netflix miniseries, as well as it’s awesome mix of 1960’s tunes and beautiful original score. It’s definitely a feel-good playlist, so wonderfully curated. I totally recommend the series, the soundtrack, the costuming, the hair, all of it. Never wanted to play chess more.
If you'd like, comment below with your favorite Christmas traditions, I'd love to hear.
I hope however you're celebrating this year is lovely, and I'll be back soon with another holiday episode. Have a lovely week!