Tips From Camille Styles on Creating Lasting Holiday Memories

Camille Style is one of our favorite lifestyle bloggers.  With a thriving blog and a cookbook under her belt, we love turning to her when we need inspiration for effortless, easy and beautiful ideas for food and decor.  So it was a no-brainer to invite Camille to participate in our 12 Days of Tradition post.   we to  so we had to ask her to participate in our 12 Days of Tradition campaign.  Again she didn’t disappoint highlighting some simple but lovely ideas of creating lasting traditions with friends and family.  Take a look at what Camille says below ….

When someone asks me to name my favorite Christmas gifts I received as a child, I can honestly only recall two or three of them. But ask me about my favorite Christmas memories? Baking cookies with my mom, opening one special gift on Christmas Eve, going to see the Nutcracker at the ballet… the list goes on and on. With that in mind, I’ve started making an effort to prioritize creating and fostering traditions instead of buying loads of presents to wrap up under the tree. After all, cherished memories are some of the very best gifts we can give the people we love! Here are a few ideas for creating lasting ones that will infuse the holiday season with loads of fun:

Make Home a Holiday Haven.


Trim the tree. For as long as I can remember, I’ve anxiously anticipated bringing our big box of ornaments down from the attic and carefully unwrapping each one to hang on the tree. We turn on holiday tunes, pour mugs of rich cocoa topped with plenty of marshmallows and get to work. Later that night, we’ll watch classic movies with bowls of popcorn as we savor the sight of our decked-out tree twinkling in the background.

Create a meaningful ornament collection. Growing up, my parents would buy my brother, sister and me one new ornament each year. It was always personal – I might receive a teacup or a dancing girl depending on my age – and by the time I reached adulthood, I had 20 special ornaments that represented each holiday since my birth.

Read together. There are so many beautiful Christmas books — The Gift of the Magi, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express — and during the holiday season I stack them in a basket by the fire for our family to read in the evening. I love knowing that as my kids grow up, they’ll associate Christmas with these classic tales!

Create Food Memories.


Let everyone own part of the menu. My English mother-in-law makes the best roast beef with horseradish sauce and Yorkshire pudding this side of the Atlantic, and it’s always the centerpiece to our Christmas dinner. My mom shapes her famous loaf of Almond Kringle into the shape of a heart every Christmas morning. It’s fun to let everyone have a “specialty” that they look forward to making (and everyone else looks forward to eating!) each year.

Decorate Christmas Cookies. It’s definitely my 3-year-old’s favorite time of the year – endless sugar, and frosting-covered fingers! There’s nothing more fun than covering the table with butcher paper and letting kids go crazy with their edible creations.


Make it feel like home for those that are faraway. It can be tough to be away from immediate family during the holidays, and as our family grows and my siblings’ spouses join us for celebrations here in Austin, I look for ways to incorporate some of their families’ food traditions into the menu. This year, I’ll add a Cajun influence into a couple of our dishes so that my sister’s Louisiana-bred new husband will get to taste a little bit of home!

Embrace Holiday Experiences.


Go see the Nutcracker. Every year growing up, my mom and grandmother would take me to see a performance of the Nutcracker ballet. The symphony music, graceful movements of the dancers and sparkling set design left an indelible impression on my mind, and I can’t wait to continue this tradition with my own kids when they’re a bit older.

Look at the lights. Austin has a famous display of lavish Christmas light creations called “Trail of Lights,” and every year, thousands of people head downtown to take it all in. But no matter where you live, there are undoubtedly streets in your town where the neighbors go all out and turn it into a wonderland. Pack a thermos of cocoa and tune in to the holiday station on the radio, then spend an evening driving around and viewing the glittering display.

Brighten the holidays for those less fortunate. There’s no better time of year to start a tradition of service, and the holidays present many meaningful ways to give — both our time and our resources. Our family has always participated in a program called Operation Christmas Child, where you choose a child of a certain age, fill a shoe box with gifts – both necessities and toys – then drop it off to be shipped to impoverished countries around the world. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, pull a stocking on a giving tree, join carolers at a nursing home. As much of a cliché as it may be, the act of giving is really the best gift of all.

To see more great holidays ideas and inspiration, visit Camille and her team at http://camillestyles.com.

Photography: Buff Strickland

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