Holiday Traditions

As hard as I try, the holiday celebrations in our family are far from instagram-worthy. Most of my friends put on the most incredible Christmas with holiday cheer, traditions, beauty, and fanfare. But for whatever reason, (maybe it is because I am Jewish and did not celebrate Christmas growing up), I always fall short. Simply put, I am #BadAtXmas. I was never told about how Santa operates, the magic of Elf-on-a-shelf, the music, the outfits, the sugar-cookie-creation; all of it is a different language and I don’t know how to speak it. I am the first to admit that I need a private tutor to help me understand HOW CHRISTMAS WORKS.


My kids are also at the age now where they ask about it… why our presents are under the tree in early December, why we open presents well before the 25th (we generally leave town as soon as Winter Break starts), why we don’t have stockings, why there is no Christmas Dinner…we just have never had a “normal” Christmas, and I am having tremendous Mom Guilt. I have to remind myself that I do a lot of things well — like their predictable and constantly well performed bedtime routine, or the fact that I never forget them at school. But holiday traditions are something I need to work on — perhaps a goal for 2018?


As a mixed religion family, we celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas. That said, Hannukah in the Jewish Tradition is not a big ordeal: it is simply lighting of the candles, a prayer, gift exchange, and maybe some latkas and dreidel playing. So we do that and it is fun and all, but there is nothing BIG and HUGE that makes it that memorable and exciting. For Christmas, we are always together as a family somewhere that is not home. We do have a Christmas Tree in our home in NYC, but we don’t have the same traditions and customs that most of my friends do.


So with all of that said, I always breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas and the holidays are over. Once it has passed, I no longer fear my failure as a mom and can concentrate on the things I am better at. So, for those of you who are good at holidays, what and how do you do it? And is it fake it till you make it? Or is it genuine and real? Or do I just embrace the fact that “this” is something I am not good at, and learn from my weaknesses?


Lighting of the candle.  With the Christmas tree in the background.

Another night lighting.

The smile.


I hope everyone has a great week and finishes up 2017 in a strong and loving way.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Sunriver Christmas 2015

Happy 2016 and back to reality! We are back to the routine (school, work, pressure, paying attention to time, the hustle and bustle of the city, oh me oh my!), which makes me even more nostalgic of last week’s Sunriver vacation with my family. Although my dad claims that there is “family” and “vacation” and no such thing as “family vacation,” I happen to disagree. We had the best time with my brother, sister-in-law, parents, nieces and nephew; and loved every minute of our time with them. Here are some pictures to enjoy!


SNOW! And lots of it! Unlike the 70 degree Christmas in NYC, the west coast was hammered with cold temperatures and lots of show -- perfect for a ski vacation!

SNOW! And lots of it! Unlike the 70 degree Christmas in NYC, the West Coast was hammered with cold temperatures and lots of snow — perfect for a ski vacation!

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Christmas 2015

A short and sweet, simple Merry Christmas to you and yours. As you read this, we are somewhere on an airplane traveling from Florida to Sunriver, Oregon to spend a week in the snow with my side of the family.


Happy everything!

Happy everything! And yes, those sweaters are hand knit art work created by my mother. Next on her list of projects, a matching sweater for me! I can’t wait.

Happy happy!!!

Happy happy!!!


Although most people take the week off from posting on the world wide web, I will be doing regular posts (#JosieGirlNeverStops), so please stop on by! Thanks so much for all your continuous support and viewership (#ForeverGrateful) and have a very Merry Holiday.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Christmas Celebration 2015

Hello from (grey and cold) Florida! We had an early Christmas celebration this past Friday night since we were all headed in different directions (Florida then Oregon for us Natori Juniors, the Philippines for the Natori Seniors, and New Jersey for my sister, Courtney). Take a look. And listen to this because it is amazing!


Santa visited us (thankfully, I remembered that he was expected to bring presents to the kids -- so darted out to the closest toy store to get MORE presents for the kids, as we celebrated "Christmas' in the morning as our family of four). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves and a little creepy, was BY FAR the best santa that we have seen compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

Santa visited us (the four of us actually celebrated Christmas that morning…. so I had to run out and get more presents for Santa to deliver to the kids!). This Santa, although wearing latex gloves, was BY FAR the best Santa that we have had compared to years past. No flask, no chain smoker, no creepiness.

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Xmas with the Natoris

We safely arrived yesterday in Oregon where we will spend the next week lounging, eating, skiing, reading, and laughing with my parents, also known as Nana and Tata. (I wrote that sentence before our flight.  We are here missing a bag and had to drive four hours through the mountains because we missed our connecting flight and they couldn’t guarantee us on another flight until Tuesday.  So we are flustered, but yes, still safe!) We are all so happy to be with them and to celebrate the holidays.  As Ken’s parents just left for the Philippines to be with Ken’s grandmother, we had a “pretend Christmas” (as Cruzzie said) at the end of last week at the Natoris. Here are Christmas posts from 2012 and 2011, and now CURRENT shots of the Natori Srs apartment from this year! Enjoy!

White Winter Wonderland! Last year, the decor was pink, this year, ALL WHITE.

White Winter Wonderland! Last year, the decor was pink, this year, ALL WHITE.

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Christmas 2012

Back in the saddle after Monday’s hiatus. It’s been a long week –  overly tired (baby Zoe is teething so no sleep for me), busy traveling (quick family-of-four trip to Florida), and gift wrapping (lots of presents), therefore had no time to write. I hope everyone had a super duper Christmas (and Hannukah earlier in the month!) We had a great night with my in-laws and family. Here are some highlights of Christmas Day Night with the Natoris!

holiday outfits

Holiday outfits.

pink tree

PINK TREE! Electric, neon, modern, cool, fresh, unique, and awesome!

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