How I Holiday with White ShantyDecember 4, 2017
If you’ve ever spent this time of year sitting in mall traffic, you know there are some holiday traditions you’d be better off without.
That’s why blogger Jenna Wright of White Shanty makes time for festivities that eschew the season’s hubbub. For her, it’s all about slowing down to spend time with family. Along with their five children, she and her husband, Seth, live in an industrial barn home in Utah, where beloved holiday traditions are in no short supply.
“Each year I try to keep the most important traditions going. It’s how I find peace during the hustle and bustle of the season,” Jenna tells us. “There’s always going to be the newest next-best-thing, but there’s beauty in the simplicity of traditions, and I try to embrace that.”
The family kicks things off with Nutcracker Day. For this just-the-gals outing, Jenna takes her daughters shopping for holiday dresses, followed by dinner on the town. “After that, we go and see the ‘Nutcracker’—we look forward this day all year,” she says.
Polar Express Night is another favorite. Once the kids are in bed, Jenna and Seth sound an antique train whistle to signal the beginning of the season. Waking everyone up is worth it: they take a car ride through the city, admiring the lights and sipping hot chocolate. “I always read them the Polar Express story during the week we’re planning the surprise night,” says Jenna. “I think they’re starting to catch on!”
Although Polar Express Night tops the little ones’ list, Jenna’s favorite tradition is their candlelight Winter Solstice dinner. “The kids dress up in their nicest clothes, we eat a big turkey dinner, read the Christmas story, and talk about the true meaning of the season,” she says.
As for dessert, there’s no shortage of the family’s signature chocolate turtles this time of year. Four generations of Jenna’s family come together to bake the family’s chocolate caramel treats over the course of three days, making extras to gift to friends and neighbors.
Get the look: The Reactive Collection makes baking holiday treats a little brighter.
Of course no tradition forms overnight, and Jenna attributes her month of family fun to Decembers of the past. “We carry on a lot of the activities that my mom carried on,” she says. “Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents always made sure this time of year was magical, with an abundance of everything we could want or need.”
Get the look: When decorating her holiday home, Jenna can’t resist a minimal pine garland strung with lights. Case-in-point? The Glittering Lit Garland.
When it comes to making new traditions, Jenna says the most important thing is that they center around loved ones. “Find traditions that feel truest to your family, and soak in the beauty of that.”
She adds, “Seth and I come from families that are so big—he’s one of nine kids and I’m one of seven—and this is the time when everyone can get together. It’s when everyone is here, and everyone is happy.”
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