Our Christmas Plans

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Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

I can’t believe Christmas is just over a week away! Our family is SO excited for the holiday this year– it changes everything that both kids are old enough this time around to really participate. I feel like a kid again getting to experience everything through their eyes! We’ve been having a blast participating in all the holiday things: baking cookies, going to holiday shows, using our advent calendar, seeing what our house elf gets up to every day. It’s a lifestyle! LOL.

I’m also excited because I’m taking a bit of vacay for the holiday! Starting this Saturday, I won’t be posting any new content to the blog until January 3rd. I will still be on social media, however– I’m not totally crazy! Hahah. I’m really excited to be giving myself a little break from content creation to just hang with my fam and send the year out in style. I wanted to make sure you guys were aware of my little break from new content. I highly recommend that you use the time to scour the HEA archives! There is so much content from the years buried deep in here. Do you even remember when I used to shoot my blog photos with my iPhone 4?! LOL. Yeah maybe don’t go back that far…

Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

Here’s everything we’re looking forward to this Christmas!

Romantic Holiday Movie Time

Kyle and I both LOVE holiday movies, but our kids don’t really have the attention span yet. We actually love lighting a fire in the fireplace, ordering in, opening a great bottle of wine, and cozying up together to watch our faves after the kids are down. Some of our favorites are: Love Actually, The Holiday, Elf, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Santa Claus, Miracle On 34th Street, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Home Alone.

Ice Skating

Marlowe has been begging me to go ice skating since last year, and this year I think she’s finally old enough for it not to end in total disaster. I can’t decide if I want to take her for a classic NYC experience, or try it out first somewhere more close by. I’m not the best ice skater myself, so I will definitely need to have her push around one of those little kid stabilizers!

Yearly Donations

Every year, I have my kids pick out a selection of toys to donate to less fortunate children. I think it’s really important to teach them how lucky they are to get new presents for Christmas, and involving them in the process early on helps them understand how crucial it is to give back.

Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

Christmas Eve Cookie Making Lunch

This year we plan to get together with a couple family friends and all their kids, and make cookies together for Santa on Christmas Eve! We always make Christmas Eve cookies, but I thought it would be great to start a tradition for our kids and their besties. I love having a house full of people, and I plan on ordering pizza and staying in jammies while we bake.

Fancy Christmas Eve Dinner Out

Marlowe decided this year that she wanted everyone in our family to “dress handsome” for Christmas Eve dinner. The idea of doing that together, just the four of us, in our own house seemed a little bizarre…Ha! So we decided to go out for a nice family dinner all dressed up on Christmas Eve. I love that Marlowe is following in my Fancy Nancy ways. LOL.

Christmas Eve Light Hunting

Last year we started a really fun tradition where we went out driving for an hour searching for the best Christmas lights and house decorations. We blasted Christmas tunes on the car stereo, and we each picked our favorite house. We will definitely do that on our way home from dinner this year!

Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

“T’was The Night Before Christmas” Before Bed

You have to keep up the most classic Christmas tradition of all time! I love reading this book to my kids before bed on Christmas Eve

Family Jammies

We always go to bed in matching holiday Jammies on Christmas Eve. This year we will be wearing these ones, and I can’t wait!

Christmas Morning Presents!

One of my favorite things in my whole life is hearing my kids realizing it’s Christmas Day right when they wake up in the morning. Watching them walk in to the Living Room and see their presents from Santa literally makes my heart swell at least two sizes. I wake up a bit earlier than them on Christmas morning so I can get a video of them walking in to the room, and also so I can make some biscuits for us all to eat while we open presents and stockings!


Pancakes on Christmas morning are a must for our family. I put chocolate chips in them for the kids. Last year I got an amazing waffle maker and we added some Christmas morning waffles. They were a hit!

Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

Christmas Dinner With Family

On Christmas Day, we’re having some family over for dinner! I ordered a HoneyBaked Ham, and I’m making Brussel sprouts, Mac and cheese, goat cheese & Chive whipped potatoes, and fresh rolls. We’ll probably have some great wine too!

Caviar & Board Games on NYE

Last year, Kyle and I bought great champagne, lots of caviar, and stuffed our faces on New Year’s Eve while playing Scrabble. We had such a great time, and it was especially fun since he had to work so early the next morning. We weren’t officially partying, but we weren’t being total Debby Downers either! I think we are going to repeat the experience this year, and maybe throw another game in to the mix too. Let me know if there is a great game you love playing as a couple!

What are you looking forward to the most this Holiday season? Let me know in the comments below!

Eva Amurri Martino shares her 2018 holiday decor!

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  1. Suzie says:

    Love all those traditions. Sounds like you will have a great holiday! Enjoy your time off. Oh, and I’m definitely copying your Christmas dinner menu. I’m hosting Christmas dinner and haven’t even started planning the menu yet…. Sooooo thanks!

    12.17.18 Reply
  2. Lauren Abrams says:

    How fun! Have you tried ice skating at Longshore? It’s so easy and the views aren’t bad either. Much less daunting than going to skate in NYC. May be fun to try that with Marlowe! Merry Christmas!

    12.17.18 Reply
  3. Jillian says:

    Love your holiday plans! Enjoy your family and relax.

    12.17.18 Reply
  4. Jo says:

    Def. try skating at Longshore and check out Wonderland at Roseville on your light hunt. It’s a big hit with our boys

    12.17.18 Reply
  5. Kendra says:

    This is a great list! I might have to incorporate some of these ideas into our holiday itinerary as well. Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your much deserved break!

    12.17.18 Reply
  6. Barbara Owens-DeWitt says:

    I’ll be stealing a few of these!

    Skipbo is a favorite in our family – we play as a couple and with our daughters. It can get competitive!

    Have a wonderful holiday.

    12.17.18 Reply
  7. Jennifer Stoops says:

    One of our favorite games to play as a couple is called Splendor! It’s so fun and bring out both of our competitive sides, haha! We’ve kept a running tally of our wins in the lid of the box for the last few years and it’s always fun to look back and see how many times we’ve played together ?

    12.17.18 Reply
    • OMG how have I not even heard of this game?! Ordering immediately thank you!

      12.17.18 Reply
  8. Ravelle says:

    Love these beautiful plans! The holidays are so much more fun with kiddos, right?!
    (I’m commenting on the post, per your insta story request ?)
    I love your blog and your insta platform…enjoy the break with your family!!

    12.17.18 Reply
  9. Charlotte says:

    Love all the traditions and family fun! I am having trouble getting in the spirit still but maybe if I wrote out our fun plans and family traditions it will help. Thank you!!

    12.17.18 Reply
    • Yes! That’s a great idea for getting in the holiday spirit!

      12.17.18 Reply
  10. Erin Dutka says:

    Sounds like a fabulous holiday. Have a Merry Christmas!

    12.17.18 Reply
  11. Brigit says:

    Hi Eva. You have such a cute family. I usually spend the holidays with my sister in laws. I like that. I used to spend it with my nonna when she was alive she passed in 2013 I just am looking forward to having some quiet time and ringing in the new year with a party. Looking forward to making my own new memories.

    12.17.18 Reply
  12. Loreto says:

    Just reading your post made me all warm a fuzzy with Christmas spirit lol! I love doing all those things around the holidays, watching Christmas movies, baking, ice skating, driving around looking for Christmas lights! It sounds like you guys will be having a wonderful time together ❤️

    12.17.18 Reply
  13. Irina Visan says:

    Awww your plans are adorbale!! Taking this opportunity to wish you Happy Holidays! I am super excited for family time, Christmas Movies – especially Home Alone and Grinch (Jim Carrey version) and for my first Christmas tree in my new living room. Hope you have the best time!! Xoxo

    12.17.18 Reply
  14. Lauren Becker says:

    So glad you’re taking some much-needed time off! Your plans sound so fun and festive, can’t wait to see what you share on Insta!

    12.17.18 Reply
  15. Meg says:

    Your holiday plans sound a lot like ours! Christmas eve we order in and do movies and we do cinnamon buns Christmas morning while have coffee and open gifts. This year after losing my dad it’s my first Christmas without both of my parents I’m switching things up a bit and having my best friend and her family over for brunch… I’m looking forward to keeping old traditions and starting new ones. Your NYE sounds perfect, staying in with my hubby and reconnecting while welcoming 2019 is just what I need!

    Merry Christmas Eva!

    12.17.18 Reply
  16. Emily says:

    Sounds amazing! It seems like you have the perfect mix of family time and being social (and dressing handsome! haha). Fancy Christmas Eves out are so fun but I also LOVE staying in on New Years Eve. This year we’re going up to Maine to watch movies, play games, eat charcuterie and drink champagne by the fire (and to decompress after a week of extended family!) Hope you have a really wonderful, rejuvenating holiday season!

    12.17.18 Reply
  17. Heather says:

    My two grandkids are 3 this year so it’s been magical doing the holidays with them! Our family does Brunch on Christmas Eve to allow everybody to do Christmas Day with in-laws and step families. It works out nicely because we do the greedy bit on Christmas Eve day so that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are more spiritual. Christmas Day is all chill with leftovers from the previous days feast. My mom died in 2017 so we toned things down a bit but this year I am striving to do a bigger Christmas (because that’s what she would do!)

    12.17.18 Reply
  18. Trixie says:

    We love Parcheesi and pâté for game nights! Enjoy!

    12.17.18 Reply
  19. Meagan says:

    The NextDoor app has a great map for finding streets that have houses decorated for the holidays. Makes the hunt a little easier. Happy Holidays!

    12.17.18 Reply
  20. Hannah says:

    You guys are so cute!! Happy holidays!! Can’t wait to see where this year leads you!

    12.17.18 Reply
  21. Johanna says:

    Very excited for all your holiday plans! Do you have a non-dairy Mac and Cheese recipe? Enjoy your vacation and Merry Christmas!

    12.17.18 Reply
    • I don’t 🙁 I usually get the Daiya one for myself if I’m eating it. Otherwise I just make in the slow cooker for my fam!

      12.17.18 Reply
      • Johanna says:

        I’ll try out the Daiya one! I’m allergic to cows milk now so at least I can still get Mac n cheese in some form!

        12.17.18 Reply
        • Verónica says:

          I’ve tried Dayia mac and cheese with lacteeze mill and goats butter … also rice macaroni, it works wonderful just need to make sure you whisk it a lot to incorporate properly .. do it gradually, works best. Good luck!

          12.17.18 Reply
  22. Melissa Symons says:

    I love your breakfast room mantle! Those are lovely Christmas traditions. I am looking forward to Christmas Day I just love watching the kids open their presents and then we’re having family over for a lovely dinner that night – my husband wants to have goose! I hope he’s making it lol. Merry Christmas!

    12.17.18 Reply
  23. Natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing! I love traditions. Our big celebration day is Christmas Eve and every year, My grandfather and now my father read us T’was the night before Christmas. Love love love it!!

    12.17.18 Reply
  24. Emily Elmore says:

    Ah I love your holiday spirit! It’s making me excited and helping me not focus on the stress that comes with all the planning and executing lol!

    12.17.18 Reply
  25. Kelly says:

    My kids are finally old enough to participate too this year! And I definitely feel way more into Christmas this year because of it! Happy holidays!!

    12.17.18 Reply
  26. Ann says:

    so many good traditions!!

    12.17.18 Reply
  27. Emily says:

    Your plans sound amazing. There is a great light display in Fairfield, ct. Celebrating my sons 2nd Birthday on 12/26. We are also going to the museum of natural history and taking him on his first train ride! I’d go to NYC for ice skating. I remember my first time at Rockeller rink and Central Park

    12.17.18 Reply
  28. Jill says:

    Sounds so nice! Love the dressing handsome comment.

    12.17.18 Reply
  29. Desiree says:

    I love all of your fun holiday traditions!! It’s always been a dream of mine to go ice skating, but you have to BALANCE to do that & that word just doesn’t exist in my world haha!! I lived away from my immediate family for almost 10 years & missed a lot of family Christmas’, so all of us being together is my favorite thing about the holidays.. One of my favorite traditions that my 23 year old brother & my 35 year old self have started up again is sleeping in the family room near the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve night! It was our annual tradition when he was little.. We would set up all of our blankets & pillows on the couches, make hot cocoa, leave out cookies/milk/carrots for Santa & the reindeer, watch some of our favorite Christmas movies, and pass out LOL!! Then in the morning we would wake up to all of our presents from “Santa” under the tree.. We are pretty deep sleepers so it wasn’t that hard for “Santa” to set everything up haha!! Can’t wait to check out your IG to see all the fun you guys have next week!!

    12.17.18 Reply
  30. Robyn Mizell says:

    Eva, Thank you for sharing your family traditions and fun. Sounds wonderful. Take lots of pictures. Hope you’ll share some recipes too. We love games. Backgammon is a favorite and Scrabble. Have the best time. Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Hugs Robyn

    12.17.18 Reply
  31. Verónica says:

    Christmas is a week form now and there are still so many things to do.
    We definitely get some sort of jammies or footwear for Christmas eve/morning. This year my mother in law got us the snoopy ones from the same website … we also donout version of white elephant on Christmas eve and the next morinig we open preents for over three hours… there is 13 to 15 of us so it can get to be a long morning.
    We then have a delish breakfast with bagels loc and champagne … no kids yet so its all adults … we play tons of games and snuggle at some point with a movie.
    My husband and I do get some alone time to open special presents and try to get time alone… we are trying to make out own traditions and things like spending time together and reading or watching a special movie/book are the best.
    Thanks for the ideas for NYE. We always do prime rib sprouts and taters .. his fave.
    Donating is important to me so this year i will buy dinnes for a special foundation.
    Have a Great Holiday Eva and fam and to all here that follow you!

    12.17.18 Reply
  32. Alissa says:

    Such fun plans! Do you have a great Mac and cheese recipe?!

    12.17.18 Reply
  33. Tracy says:

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday and and that it is a joyous and memorable one with the family. My kids still do gingerbread houses and cookies and board games with me so I enjoy the time together. The break from school routine is so nice also. My husband and I play a game when commercials are on where we try to guess the voice in the commercial if it is someone famous. We dont really keep score but we are always so proud if we figure out whose voice it is on a new commercial ?.

    12.17.18 Reply
  34. Jen says:

    Have the most wonderful holiday and well deserved time off! I also recommend Boggle for your NYE game night! Hubby and I LOVE Scrabble too! Looking forward to continuing to celebrate this year… got married both turned 50 and my stepdaughter started college! 2018 was one for the books! Enjoy your last Christmas in your beautiful home!

    12.17.18 Reply
  35. Daphne says:

    I am not a mom but i love your blog! I came across it when i was looking for a mulled wine recipe and have been a loyal reader ever since.
    I am single and committed to making my own traditions. I love sending funny cards and magnets to friends and this year I’m taking the train to Montreal to see friends and enjoy a spa for the day.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    12.18.18 Reply
  36. Laura M says:

    Love reading this!! Your plans sound amazing. I think the biscuits during presents, followed by pancakes/waffles sounds like the right idea to me! Merry Christmas and can’t wait (dying) for your new house pics/construction updates/selections!! You have inspired me in so many ways, from decor to fashion to kids fashion to cooking to activities. I just love love love your blog and insta. Thank you for sharing with all of us. XOXO

    12.18.18 Reply
  37. Sheila McGregor says:

    They just opened a new ice skating rink in Mill River Park in Stamford. Great size (bigger than Bryant Park) and outside surrounded by Christmas lights. A great new local experience!

    Merry Christmas to your beautiful family- love all of your ideas. You are inspiring me to be more creative next week, even if it’s just my husband, puppy and I 🙂

    12.18.18 Reply
  38. Glenda says:

    We love the movies Elf, Home Alone and Christmas Vacation. We drive and watch the lights too! Christmas Eve we have traditional dinner (pernil and rice w/ gandules (a pigeon pea) We bake cookies. Christmas Day we have Brunch (ham, mashed potatoes and buttered corn, w/ rolls) and open all our gifts as a family. Merry Christmas to your beautiful family! Enjoy your time off!

    12.18.18 Reply
  39. Luanne Fanelli says:

    Thanks fir sharing your family with us Eva. Sending you and yours best wishes for a Merry Christmas and much joy in the new year. xoxo

    12.19.18 Reply
  40. Gabriela Gonçalves says:

    Love the hunt for holiday lights on Christmas Eve! What a fun tradition. My family exchanges gifts at midnight and we have a dance off countdown until the clock strikes twelve every Christmas Eve! Unfortunately no one is in any shape to hunt for holiday lights (cue champagne bottle pop) Xmas eve night so we can’t add a holiday light hunt to the list of traditions. Whomp, whomp. But no worries the whole gang crashes at the host’s home and in the morning we recover on coffee,Christmas cookies, and take our new gadgets for a spin!

    12.20.18 Reply