13 Things I Cannot Live Without for Christmas

Merry Christmas!! I love all of the traditions that surround this time of year. It’s by far my favorite holiday! Spending time with loved ones, giving gifts that you know your friends and family are going to love, eating all sorts of yummy, bad-for-you food, lights/decorations…

These are 13 things that, for me, are tried and true, each and every year. My Christmas isn’t complete without them.

1. Tree

Rob and I went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree, which, needless to say, was a hilarious adventure.

2. Music

nsync home for christmas

1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by N’Sync (Obnoxiously on repeat…)

2. What Christmas Means To Me by Hanson (No judgement, you know you like this, too!)

3. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (Classic, duh)

4. Let It Snow! by Frank Sinatra

5. White Christmas by The Drifters

3. Movies


1. The Grinch (This one is my absolute fav!)

2. Home Alone (The first one only, Home Alone 2 isn’t my jam)

3. Elf (I’m not always a Will Ferrel fan, but this is a classic)

4. Cookies

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

[Photo: my Instagram!]

Growing up, Christmas cookies were something my family looked forward to. My mom would bake all of our favorites- ginger snaps, chocolate chip, coconut joys, and on and on! I made these Vegan Peanut Butter cookies this Thanksgiving, and Rob loves them so much, I’ve made them again for Christmas.

5. Breakfast


[Photo: PopSugar Fitness]

Rob and I are now fully committed to vegan living, so this year will be a little different than previous years (eggs, bacon, french toast, cinnamon rolls). We’re going to make vegan pancakes, soy sausages, tons of yummy fruit and of course, coffee!

6. Feast for Dinner

vegan dinner

[Photo: Vegan Cookbook Aficionado]

Again, this year is going to be a little different. Both of our families would do traditional Christmas dinners complete with chicken, or a roast, mashed potatoes, etc. We’re going to be making some maple bourbon brussel sprouts (rob’s speciality, but here is a similar recipe), coconut mashed potatoes and a yummy grilled veggie angel hair pasta. It’s going to be gooooood!

7. Festive Cocktails

peppermint cocktail

Of course, we’ll have our fair share of wine, but we’ll likely be tasting some spiced hot cocoa, or something like this Peppermint Coconut Cocktail I saw on a Beautiful Mess (sounds crazy good!)

8. Decorating the Tree

our christmas tree decorated

Decorating the tree has to be my favorite part. My Mom and Dad started a tradition long ago, where they would buy each other (and then their kids) an ornament special to that person and the year. The idea was that once my brother and I moved out on our own, we would have our own ornaments to fill our own trees. I loved this tradition so much that Rob and I have decided we’re going to carry this on with each other- but we’re going to make our ornaments together. Sweet, right?

9. Snuggling Up Next to a Crackling Fire


I’ve never had a real fire place until now. It’s amazing! Especially for Christmas Eve and Day. It doesn’t get much better!

10. Christmas Lights


There is just something about it… makes me so happy! We have a place near us called Candy Cane Lane, and we first went to it last year. You can walk, or drive, around this crazy neighborhood where EVERY house is decked out in Christmas lights. It’s pretty incredible and they even have people with little stand set up selling hot chocolate and coffee. I’m sure lots of places have something similar- or you can just drive around your local hood- that’s what my mom and I used to do in Minnesota!

11. Stockings


My brother and I used to wake up EARLY (like 5 am) and anxiously wait for my parents to wake up so we could open presents from santa. While we waited, we were able to look through our stockings. My parents would always fill them with fun, silly things: candy, socks, little toys, gift cards, etc. This is the first year Rob and I are exchanging stockings, and let me tell you, filling that sucker up was much harder than I anticipated. I wasn’t sure what to get him! Fingers crossed that he likes it!

12. Games

cards against humanity

I’m a total game person. I think it’s so fun to sit around with friends, drinking, laughing and getting a little competitive. Last year, I bought Rob a mini foosball and ping pong table. The ping pong is super hard, but the foosball is great. We also like to play Cards Against Humanity with a larger group. Such a funny game!

13. Quality Time with Family and Friends


This year Rob and I are spending the holidays just the two of us in Los Angeles. Both of our families live far away (mine are in Minnesota and his are in NY), but we’re lucky to have each other and we’ve been having a lot of fun making our own traditions. Though I have to admit, I am going to miss having a white Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that.

What are your traditions or Christmas “must haves”? Leave a comment below or on Instagram and share them with me!

Merry Christmas, all!

XO, Ali

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