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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Special Plate and Announcement

DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLL…….my hubba hubba husband is now El Capitan of The Natori Company (also know as President). For some readers, you might think OBVI, he is the son, so of course, he is President. But that is not the case. Ken never thought he was going to work for his mother and set out to make a name for himself. He was a TV and radio broadcaster at Bloomberg for 5 years (Ken Natori, What’s the story?), then went to Stanford Business School (near-perfect GMAT scores), worked at Lehman Brothers for several years (left before the crash), and then joined the family business in 2007. I am proud of my husband for working hard, committing to what he believes in, being a diligent and thoughtful worker, and at the same time as being the smartest person I have ever met (other than my brother and father —  they all tie for first place). So now, a new era of new life for the Natori business, and I am proud and in awe of my husband’s dedication, drive, and talents. So to celebrate, I got him this plate (this is not a joke).


YUP, "You are special today" BEST GIFT EVER.

YUP, “You are special today” BEST GIFT EVER.

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Thanksgiving 13

Happy December! And Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend celebrating your loved ones, your life, and your health. We had a terrific holiday full of resting and family activities with the Natoris, although we missed my parents and brother who were all together celebrating Thanksgiving a la Oregon style. Here are some pictures, thanks for looking at them!

My everything.

My everything.

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Passover Traditions

Morning! For those of you who celebrated Passover last night — or who are celebrating it again tonight (and even for you NON Jews who want a special treat!), my lovely friend Heidi-ho (nickname) made an AMAZING treat for all us Josie Girls (Jews, Christians, and all religions alike)! Since I am solo in Florida with the kids, and therefore being a bad Jew and eating bread, more bread, and MORE bread, AND not having a seder or two or ten to attend….. I am thrilled Heidi-ho is riding to the rescue with a great post on the tradition of Passover .and the food that comes with it! (And come back for another guest blog on Friday on Easter traditions from Georgia Frasch). Without further ado, my lovely friend and guest blogger Heidi will take it from here:

Heidi. Don't you just LOVE her already? So fitting (jew special post) that we met each other in 1996 on an Israel Team Tour. She didn't know Oregon had jews, and I had no idea someone could be so fun. (Good trade off, huh?)

Heidi. Don’t you just LOVE her already? So fitting that we met each other in 1996 on an Israel Team Tour. She didn’t know Oregon had Jews, and I had no idea someone could be so fun. (Good trade off, huh?)

Does your kitchen smell like brisket today?  Ah, mine does!  The sweet celebration of Passover is upon us and, while we may lose out on bread and some other fun carbs for eight days, we do okay with some Passover specialties.  Favorites like matzo ball soup (this is the version simmering on my stove this year!), matzo brie (trust me), matzo bark (the kosher-for-passover version of this) and I haven’t even started on the real desserts yet.  Stay with me – it’s coming.

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