Christmas in July

Christmas Traditions Interrupted

One year a long time ago, my family was unable to gather together for Christmas. Although the reason no longer comes to mind, the usual Yuletide festivities were greatly missed that year.

I did, however, try to decorate my home in order to keep the Christmas spirit alive for myself. I remember getting the lights out, putting up a tree, and, of course, playing some favorite carols while the sweet aroma of fresh-baked (store-bought) gingerbread cookies filled the house.

In addition, placing a wreath on my front door was the finishing touch—like putting up an outdoor beacon, hailing to all those passersby that the spirit of the season still reigned supreme in this household.

That was the first year that, although family festivities were missed, there was no lack of celebrating in that happily bedecked home. And the beauty of the experience was one that kept on giving.

Because we were unable to meet as a family, someone suggested we meet for Christmas in July instead. And even though I’d heard of such a thing before, I’d always thought it was silly so why bother?

 We met on a weekend in July—with festive mounds of  Christmas gifts, turkey dinner, and an already decorated tree. My family celebrated in the summer sparking a new tradition that still lives on to this day. It was one of the most memorable holiday celebrations I have ever had.


Pandemic Celebrations

The pandemic has made it difficult for many families to gather in person due to risks of getting the Coronavirus: flying almost came to a standstill; borders between countries closed, and those that were open levied strict quarantine guidelines that were almost impossible to follow.

In this case, many families had to resort to other ways of celebrating, not only Christmas traditions, but many other festivities as well such as births, weddings, birthdays, and other important milestones along the way.

Many folks took to the internet to try to reconnect with loved ones. Thank goodness for those online venues that offered ways for family members to at least see one another. My mom and I, for instance, live in different countries so we enjoyed a Christmas dinner together via Skype. She had a glass of her favorite sweet wine and I had mine so we toasted one another and sent cyber hugs and kisses to celebrate the occasion.

The pandemic reminded me of that special Christmas-in-July year and the fact that no matter where our loved ones might live, we are so creative as humans that we can essentially overcome anything.

There’s no reason to miss any celebration anymore these days. In fact, I personally like to celebrate the little things along the way: Tuesdays, for instance. I call it Happy Purple Tuesday and try wearing something of that color to mark the day and little things in life, even if it means having Christmas in July.

Celebrate everything with all the joy and happiness you can muster up. If you’re able to be with friends and family or even if you’re alone with your dog, just enjoy each moment as much as possible!

Written By Hillaire Kendal

Easter Celebration Ideas

Easter has always been one of my favorite celebrations growing up. My mom and my dad had very different ways of celebrating but both were special to me. My mom and I would go to the Easter Church service and have a ham dinner with my grandma. Where my dad would do an arguably over the top egg hunt for my sister and I full of eggs that contained money, candy, and even large eggs with saran wrapped video games attached to them! Easter was essentially a mini Christmas at my dad’s house. As I have grown older and started my own family I have decided to change some of the traditions I have grown up with. One of the things I enjoy about the holidays is that families each create their own traditions. When you add new people into your family whether by a new friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, life partner, child, or even fur babies traditions will change. No matter who you add to your family traditions are likely to change and grow into lasting new celebrations that bring everyone closer together. My son is 20 months old this Easter and since he is becoming more and more a toddler every day (help me!) I wanted to find some fun ways for our family to celebrate Easter together. Scouring through the internet has been a fun and exciting way to find great ideas that we can try.
Source: Adobe Stock


Every Easter morning has to start with breakfast. Whether you want to do something fancy or quick while the kids hunt for eggs in the yard there is nothing like a good holiday breakfast. A quick and easy idea my dad would always do for breakfast is Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Now I know this seems like it isn’t all that special, but oddly enough I only eat cinnamon rolls on holiday mornings so it is something that starts the day off right. I found an adorable way to make cinnamon rolls more festive by shaping them into little bunnies! How adorable is that!
Source: Adobe Stock Adorable little girl hunting for Easter egg in blooming spring garden on Easter day

The hunt:

Now I grew up with a tooooon of Easter candy, however now that I am a mom and my son is such a picky eater I try not to take up his tummy space with less nutritious items. Instead of filling plastic Easter eggs with little candies why not fill it with some “vouchers” for things to do. Things like “Trip to the zoo” “Stay up late” or maybe for older kids “Skip a chore”. My son is too little to read, but I think that just finding brightly colored eggs with nothing inside will excite him. I am not trying to have my whole house covered in little miniature toys either so I love some of the alternative suggestions I have seen for Easter baskets. Some of my favorites are a new cup with their favorite character, a cute new pair of shoes, or maybe even a new book!

Adult Easter fun

Kids don’t have to be the only ones to have some Easter fun. For the adults try minute to win it games. Even an egg hunt with adult beverages stashed inside of some eggs! There are all kinds of fun ways to bring a touch of elegance to egg decorating too! From these gorgeous Martha Stewart, decoupage eggs to cool tye dye techniques.
Source: Adobe Stock Honey ham on Easter table with eggs, flowers and decoration.

Easter Dinner

In my family, Easter dinner has traditionally been a delicious baked ham with all sorts of sides. Since it will just be my husband, son and I for Easter this year there is no way mama is making a ham! So I set out to find some alternatives (I love the internet). I haven’t decided yet, however, my husband has been perfecting a wonderful Beef Bourguignon recipe that I think would be a perfect Easter meal for our little family. Some other ideas I have found if you have a larger party are Easter bunny spinach dip, bourbon mustard glazed ham, and for dessert Easter egg fruit pizza!
Source: Adobe Stock A funny little Dalmatian puppy
This year I am looking forward to trying out all sorts of new things for the Easter holiday. I hope that I can find some fun things to keep my little toddler happy and for us to come closer to setting up traditions that will last for generations. What kind of traditions does your family have for Easter? Do you have a go-to recipe for a festive day? Is there an event in your town that you attend every year? I would love to hear all about your Easter traditions in the comments below

Keeping family traditions during Christmas

by Rebecca Young

Growing up in my home Christmas was a very special and beloved time for our family. There was always an abundance of homemade Christmas cookies that my mother would spend hours preparing. My three younger brothers and I would deliver tins to several families in our neighborhood. Sometimes we would complain about doing this because of how snowy or cold it was but my mother insisted we do it anyways because Christmas was also a time for spreading joy to others. Nothing said holiday cheer like homemade fudge and chocolate covered peanut butter balls. The neighbors were always delighted to have us four showing up at their doorsteps. Mothers do a lot of work during these times and often aren’t acknowledged or thanked for their efforts nearly enough. My father would always take my brothers and I into town on Christmas Eve to pick out something special for mom.

I don’t know how many candles and pot holders that woman has unwrapped under the Christmas tree in the past 20 years. I do know she treasured every one of them. My favorite of all the Christmas traditions I grew up with was decorating our home. We had a huge box full of ornaments that we would go through as a family and place around the Christmas tree, a porcelain nativity scene that we kept on top of the piano and a silly old battery- operated wreath that would light up and sing Christmas songs when you walked by. To this day the wreath still sings and ironically enough, my own children have become entirely captivated by it, just as I was at their age. As a mother I hope I can keep these traditions alive and maybe start a few new ones along the way.

The Magic of a Real Wreath

By Holly Scudero

Growing up, we always had an artificial tree for Christmas. Always. I didn’t really even know real trees were a thing until I was in middle school at least, and even then, I didn’t see the appeal. For our family, there was something special about the process of the artificial tree: pulling the branches down, “fluffing” them, doing our best to make the tree look natural and real. And then, of course, decorating it.

An artificial tree meant decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and leaving everything up until the day after New Year’s. And that is something you can’t do with a “real” tree.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up with real trees. Their tradition involved going to the local tree lot a week or so before Christmas and finding that perfect tree. Not too big, not too small. The right spread of branches, the right height, the perfect fit for their living room.

And the smell. Oh, that smell. For my husband, it’s not quite Christmas without that fresh scent of pine.

In our married life, we have ultimately settled down with a nice artificial tree–I won that debate. Artificial trees don’t involve cutting down a tree every year. They make significantly less mess. We only had to buy it once. And we can leave it up for weeks.

The only thing that’s been missing is that fresh pine smell.

And that’s where new Christmas traditions come into play. This last year, our Christmas decor had an addition: a fresh, beautifully-made pine wreath. Hanging from a door in the living room, it added that touch of fresh forest scent our home needed for it to truly feel like Christmas.

We had always talked about doing this, but last winter was the first time we actually had one on display. And honestly, I don’t know how we have managed so long without a wreath. Winter just felt more like winter. Christmas felt more like Christmas. Next year, buying a wreath will be at the top of my holiday shopping list.

Holly Scudero is a mom of two and a wife of ten years currently living in Virginia. Her writing about family, food, and home has appeared in Natural Mother Magazine, City Book Review, Parent Co., VegNews, and other venues.

Sustainable Harvest Practices

At Alpine Farms we earn our living just as a farmer would, by harvesting plant material from the land, so sustainable harvesting practices are very important to us. We appreciate and respect the bounty of the earth. The jobs we generate help sustain our economy, and our products enable repeated traditions that build healthy and happy families.

Wreath Bough Harvest:

  • Boughs are harvested by “tipping”, or pruning mature trees, no trees are cut down in the harvesting process.
  • The pruning process improves overall forest health by encouraging further growth, and increasing airflow and sun light access.
  • Our Noble fir boughs are harvested high in the Cascade Mountains near the foothills of Mount Rainier. We also harvest Noble boughs from overgrown Christmas tree plantations once the snow load prevents mountain access.
  • The other bough materials are harvested throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho in the same sustainable manor.