As I’ve mentioned, Ken and I are in some ways polar opposites.  West Coast/East Coast.  Polish-Mexican/Japanese-Filipino.  Family of academics/family of entrepreneurs.  And, Jewish/Catholic.


I love these festive little Scandanavian Elves that sit on our mantle during the Holiday Season.

Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree in our apartment. Most of the ornaments are pretty stars or snowflakes -- nothing religious. I absolutely love the smell of the tree -- it is actually my 2nd tree EVER! The first tree we had was two years ago and it was such a novelty for me. And believe it or not, Cruzzie -- who rips and grabs at everything -- rarely notices the tree in the middle of the apartment.

Hannukah candles

I am all set with the menorah candles -- I just need to buy a menorah now. I am so particular about what the menorah needs to look like -- I love the ones that my parents have in Oregon, so I might have to "borrow" that when we are there next week. There is something so special about my childhood menorah -- I have a vivid picture of it in my mind, and nothing in stores comes close to its beauty or meaning. I am tempted to buy a Moose Menorah that my sister found at Michael's (The Craft Store) -- super cheesy, but until I find a menorah that I love, it will have to do.

This time of year can be stressful or fun for a multi-religious family, but we make the most of it, which leads to twice the celebration, tradition, (and gifts!).  We will celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Natoris, and then head to Oregon on the 26th to be with my family.  We will eat traditional Christmas Dinner with Ken’s parents and a lot of extended family members, then have Christmas Day brunch with the Natori parents and my sister, Courtney, in a more intimate setting, and then have a HUGE Christmas Day Dinner with the Natoris and several dozen family members and their friends. My in-laws might think it is a casual get-together, but everyone gets decked out in their finest outifits, heels, and holiday best. Fashion show at the Natoris on the 25th!


This is a picture of my Natori family on Christmas Eve two years ago (2009). The Natori apartment is always incredibly decorated with every inch of the apartment decked out in insanely beautiful decorations. Always lots of greenery, lights, sparkles, and color.

Christmas Eve, although still fancy, is usually a smaller get-together with a dinner followed by midnight mass. While all of the Catholics go to mass, this Jew goes to bed!

Proskurowski-Rob-Fairbanks Family

In 2009, the whole Proskurowski-Fairbanks-Rob family celebrated Christmas with the Natoris in New York. Everyone camped out in both apartments (my in-laws are always gracious hosts and extremely generous) and we had one BIG HAPPY Christmas.

My favorite Christmas tradition with the Natoris is Christmas Day Brunch. We are all in pajamas and loungewear (good thing it is chic Natori loungewear!), exchange presents in front of the fireplace, and eat a scrumptious home cooked breakfast of scrambled eggs and fish roe. I know, extravagant, but what better reason to splurge on something extraordinary and exquisite than family and Holidays? In our previous Christmases, we did not have a walking-talking-will-not-sit-down-monkey, so this year, we might be chasing him around more than eating. (Last year, we had a family trip including the Natori parents and the Proskurowski parents to the Philippines, and the year before that, Cruzzie was just a newborn). Out of next weekend’s big holiday celebrations, I am most excited for the six of us (Natori parents, me/Ken/Cruzzie, and my sister) spending the morning together and being low key and comfortable.

Christmas 2010

Last Christmas, we were in the Philippines celebrating with the family there. My parents joined us as well!

Boat 2009

One day in the Philippines last Christmas week, we went on a daylong boat excursion. It was a great day and the grandparents loved being with their beloved grandson.

Hannukah with my family is much less festive and traditional. That said, it is just as important. We rarely do anything “Hannukah-esque,” meaning we rarely light the menorah candles, play dreidel, or say the prayers, but that is the type of Jews my family members are. Judaism and the holidays are more about food and family than the actual meaning or rituals of the holiday. I am sure we will eat latkes with sour cream and applesauce and blintzes at some point but there is nothing set in stone and everything is more up in the air. This year, our Hannukah week together will include the three of us, my brother/wife/3 kids/dog, and my youngest sister introducing her boyfriend to everyone. Holy party! Holy noise! Holy commotion! Holy fun!

Old School

This picture is super old school -- back in 2003. Usually we spend the week after Christmas skiing and relaxing together as a family in Oregon.


Chilling and relaxing after a day of skiing and being together for the holidays. Obviously, this is pre-Cruz, because I doubt we have relaxed and read on a couch once in the past 2 the long johns look.

Different families, traditions, and activities, but equally fabulous, wonderful, and great. I am excited for next weekend with the Natoris and after that, the week with my family out west. It will be great to be all together and celebrate family and love, which is more special and precious than any gift or meaning of both Christmas and Hannukah. The holidays are just an excuse to all be together.

So whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, anything else, or any combination of the above, have a great Holiday!

— AYN, aka The Josie Girl

Josie Girl


  1. Very interesting to hear about your family. every family is different, and it is great to hear about yours. i love the pictures! Have a great christmas and hannukah!

  2. It sounds like you are going to have a fun filled holiday!! Make sure to have latkes… they are AWESOME!!

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