Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

Christmas Traditions and A Blog Award!


Happy December, interwebz! (Look, I’m hip. I used a z) Scroll down to the bottom of my post to see an exciting announcement about an award I received from a fellow blogger!

Now that it’s officially after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music is rolling and holiday movies are on all of the TVs in the house. I’ve been attempting to think about Christmas past (not the ghost) to maybe share a cute holiday memory with the blogosphere.

All I could think of was a jumble of Jurassic Park and Spice Girls toys, visits to Santa, Christmas Eves at church, seeing both sides of my family, and more. I couldn’t think of one specific, best holiday moment.

Instead, what stands out for me are the traditions that we partake in every year. Each Christmas may be different, but there are always certain constants. Here’s what I look forward to every year:


The Christmas Tree! I’ll probably post more about this once our tree goes up next week, but I love this part! The house takes on a special glow as soon as my dad carries that tree into our great room. My mom decorates our house like a madwoman, and the end result truly belongs in a magazine. I love our tree.

Jasmine loved playing by the Christmas Tree in my apartment

Jasmine loved playing by the Christmas Tree in my apartment


The cookie baking extravaganza! Every year my mother and I buy what seems like a Paula Deen’s army of butter (and other less important cookie baking ingredients. Sugar, GF flour – bah!) and spend 3 or more days baking cookies. I bake about 30 dozen cookies. About.

Yeah. Dozen. 30. Dozen. Yes, that’s a lot. And that’s NOT COUNTING the cookies that my mom makes, which tacks on an additional 6-8 dozen.

WE LOVE COOKIES. More importantly, we love giving cookies to our family and friends. That’s why we make so many. We spread holiday cheer through sugar highs and butter and carbs. The best way, of course.

Last year's GF chocolate pinwheels

Last year’s GF chocolate pinwheels


Church on Christmas Eve. I don’t really go to church. It’s not my thing. But I do go for holidays. And if we don’t go to church on Christmas Eve, I feel as if the holiday was a waste. We don’t believe in Santa, we believe in Christmas for all of its religious importance. Starting the celebrations with church just seems right to me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Christmas Eve with my Dad’s Family. Traditionally, since before I could remember, we have had Christmas Eve with my dad’s family. Grandma and Grandpa bring presents before Santa! We would eat honey balls (or struffoli, not that I can eat them any more until I find an adequate recipe for my GF life), sit by the old brick fireplace, eat dinner and dessert, open presents, and share a lot of love. Now that my grandparents have gotten very old, it’s definitely different, but it’s still special, no matter how odd the visit is.

Old people say and do funny things, ya know?


Picture from Food Network.com. Sorry, Alton Brown, but you and my grandpa can keep them all! No smelts for me.

Picture from Food Network.com. Sorry, Alton Brown, but you and my grandpa can keep them all! No smelts for me.

The Feast of 7 Fishes. All right, all right. This one doesn’t really appeal to me too much. Speaking of my father’s side of the family, we do the whole super Italian, super Sicilian Feast of 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve. It’s not always 7 different fishes, but we at least have 7 different dishes. I don’t love fish. I only eat it a lot now out of necessity since salmon is usually the token GF item on most restaurant menus. And I do like shellfish. But smelts? Goodness gracious why would I ever eat smelts, Grandpa? Fried what? Calamari is not up my alley. Get those little legs away from me. No thank you.

But part of the tradition is sitting with my mom and laughing at some of the questionable fish dishes that my very traditional grandfather makes as we sit safely with our salmon and linguini with clam sauce. It’s all in good fun.


24 Hours of A Christmas Story. Remember last year when TBS was not working on any of my TVs on Christmas Eve-Christmas and it was the worst First World Problem ever?


Because it meant that I missed the 24 Hours of A Christmas Story marathon. I don’t know when TBS started doing this, but I have made it my goal, every year, to watch as much of it as possible. At this point in my life, I could not put this movie in chronological scene order if it were all jumbled up. I watch bits and pieces all day and it’s the one night a year where I leave my TV on all night and listen to it in my sleep.

One year, my mom gave me this for Christmas. Ok, Ma.

One year, my mom gave me this for Christmas. Ok, Ma.

If TBS were to ever stop this, I would buy the DVD and just put it on repeat myself because it is the quintessential Christmas movie for me. You just can’t open Christmas presents without it. Just can’t.


Christmas morning. Present opening time! This is my favorite because, honestly, whatever about the gifts I get. I am excited to give gifts to my parents and give back to them after they give to me all year long. Sometimes we sit near the fireplace, but usually we sit in the basement. Wherever we are, we’re on a comfy couch and still watching to see Ralphie shoot his eye out.


Christmas Day. It’s time to be with my mom’s family! They are crazy. There are a lot of us. And there’s enough food to feed 12 armies. How Italian are we?

Massive antipasti salad. Homemade sausage bread – in 2 varieties. Olives. Cheeses with crackers. Sopressata and other meats. Baked clam dip. Shrimp cocktail. Just the appetizers.

Macaroni (brown rice and regular) with meatballs, sausage, and sauce. Homemade manicotti. Sometimes a small turkey. Roasted vegetables such as carrots and asparagus. Oh, and lasagna. Not enough pasta for you? Yeah, that’s why we threw in the gluten free lasagna too. Just in case, ya know? More carbs, more cheese? Oh yeah, baby.

By time we’re all getting ready for the dessert, let’s not forget that actually, the ham is finally out of the oven. But we’re all really ready for dessert. So the ham goes on the table. With the dessert. Take a little ham, take a cookie.

Last year's dessert/ham table. HashtagNormalItalianThings

Part of last year’s dessert/ham table. HashtagNormalItalianThings


A million varieties of cookies, including my own 400 or so and my aunt’s rainbow cookies (tre-colore, Venezia, whatever you call them), chocolate covered everything, cannoli (duh), other pastries up the wazoo, sometimes cake, a lot of times I also make a chocolate fondue, fruit, nuts, chestnuts, cocktails, Italian cheesecake, I’m probably forgetting something.

Goes well with ham, right? Yes it does.

The best part of all of this is sitting on the couch, by the tree and by the fire, listening to my loud, crazy family talk about life, insult each other, praise each other, and have them all near me watching great, classic movies.

That’s how I spend my holidays. This is what I look forward to every year.




What are your traditions for the holidays that you celebrate?



Announcement time! I just realized that The Better Way CFS nominated me for the very meaningful Dragon’s Loyalty Award. What is that? Let’s see!

“The philosophy of the award is: The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just someone who follows and comments regularly”. 

There are some rules that one must follow in order to fully accept the award and they are as follows:

1. Firstly, display the Award on your site. You earned it and you deserve it!

2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your acceptance post;

3. Nominate 15 well deserving bloggers for the Award and let them know the wonderful news by sending them a message on their site;

4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself”

Thank you, so very, very much, to The Better Way CFS. I thank you for the nomination and for always sharing support. You comments, likes, and your own blog posts remind me that I am never alone in the chronic illness battle, and that we all have so much more to our lives than the definition of our illnesses.

All right, so #3 is a little tough. We are still a small and humble blog here at Honesty Time, so I’m really breaking the rules and only giving this to those who really stand out as loyal “dragons” for us, whether you blog about life, illness, food, writing, or what-have-you. Thank you, all.


  1. The Better Way CFS – http://thebetterwaycfs.wordpress.com/ I have to give this back to you because you also deserve it – again! Thank you for always being positive.
  2. Just Another F-Bomb http://justanotherfbomb.wordpress.com/
  3. GF and ME http://gfandme.wordpress.com/
  4. Awesome Åshild – http://awesomeashild.com/
  5. Emily Miller Writes – http://emilymiller91.wordpress.com/
  6. Jeyna Grace – http://jeynagrace.wordpress.com/
  7. Cancer Killing Recipe – http://cancerkillingrecipe.wordpress.com/
  8. Megan – http://meganhasocd.com/
  9. Brett – http://dreamhelmet.wordpress.com/

I’m cheating here, but I also need to nominate my fellow Honesty Time bros who make this all possible. They are my Dragon Bros (I am picturing dragons wearing lax tanks and trucker hats, odd) and I would not be doing this without their constant support and friendship.

  1. Lori – https://honestytime.wordpress.com/about/lori/
  2. Rachel – https://honestytime.wordpress.com/about/rachel/
  3. Kaely – https://honestytime.wordpress.com/about/kaely/
  4. Amanda – https://honestytime.wordpress.com/about/amanda/


And lastly – 7 Interesting Facts About Me! Where shall we start…

  1. I’m left handed. Woop!
  2. I am only 4’11” – yikes!
  3. I minored in sociology AND women’s/gender studies in college.
  4. I have a massive makeup and nail polish collection. The nail polish collection is organized by color, of course.
  5. Similarly – organizing, highlighting, post-its, etc. get me all crazy excited. For example, making my binder for a new show is always my favorite thing to do.
  6. I take friendship very seriously – one of my very best friends and I have been bffls since we were 3 and 4 years old!
  7. Sometimes I wish I went to school to be a vet – I love animals so much – but I would never be able to stand the heartbreak of lost pets. But I love animals more than I can explain!


Phew! That was a big post! Happy December! And Happy Hanukkah to those who are still celebrating!


Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

4 thoughts on “Christmas Traditions and A Blog Award!

  1. Since you nominated us, does that mean each of us have to do the award….?

    I like the idea of us being dragons.

    Also, I want cookies!

  2. Thanks so much for the nomination! Love your recipes! And those pinwheel cookies look amazing!

Be Honest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s