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Holiday Traditions with Kendra Thornton

The holidays are by far my favorite time of the year.
With that being said, I have teamed up with Kendra Thornton to share some of her holiday traditions. Kendra Thornton is a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and a mother to three children. She is also the founder of Thornton Public Relations LLC and has appeared regularly as a travel expert on ABC, CBS, NBC and CW affiliates. I am quite thrilled to be collaborating with her today to share her Christmas story.

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays!

The holidays are upon us, and once again the stores are buzzing with Christmas shoppers, the radios are singing out yuletide cheer, and that lovely nip in the air is bringing out the desire for cocoa in everyone! Though I know every place has their own level of excitement and cheer, our home in Chicago is such a wonderland of wintry snow, lights and festivity. As Christmas closes in, my family and I are gearing up for our yearly holiday traditions. Much of them come from my Norwegian side of the family, but they are fun and dear to all of us.

Our holidays are filled with regular family time cooking lefse and kringla, our annual wintry treats. Once Christmas Eve comes around, we start off our special night with everyone shooting a raw oyster at once into their mouth, and then spooning up some marvelous oyster stew as we laugh over it. A toast follows this for everyone; but instead of cider or champagne, we drink the Scandinavian beverage "Akvavit". With the Norwegian cheer of "Skol" to announce our toast, it may burn our throats but it doesn't dampen our spirits.

We make it a point every year to let the kids help decorate our tree, and then snuggle with a cup of hot chocolate afterwards. They love to ice skate at our local rink this time of year, and they always get a kick out of helping to make our Norwegian dinner as well as decorate our Christmas cookies that we leave out for Santa. Right before bedtime on Christmas Eve, it's time for us to make some reindeer dust that we put outside of the windows in each of our children's bedrooms. This dust is said to lead Santa's reindeer right to the house so that they don't miss it. What fun for our children!

I used to have a job where I traveled all over the world, and I got a chance to experience many different climates, temperatures and weather conditions. But when it comes to Christmas, there is absolutely nothing that beats being home for the holidays. I read an article on Gogobot that discussed warm vs. cold Christmas’s and despite the arguments for getting away to Florida for the winter, I would not trade my freezing Chicago with its pine trees and Christmas lights for all of the warm beaches and sunny skies in the world.! Christmas is so special where I live, and being with my family and watching the snowfall is more than I can ask for. What is it like where you live during Christmastime?

I have lived my whole life with cold Christmases, and my entire family and I love it! This year, once again, we will be at home, and are very excited to be having our extended family with us after our fabulous Thanksgiving with everyone. May all of you have a tremendous winter and holiday season, and may your food be abundant, your households be filled with lovely people and your homes ring with laughter. I was hoping to get some fashion inspiration from you this year Grace and hear any tips for things to wear this holiday season! Happy holidays from the Thornton family!
{ Kendra's three kids }

 In response, my ideal wardrobe for the holidays consist of...

 1. At least 1 holiday dress. For me, it's this Vera Wang tartan dress that I scored on sale two years ago.

 2. A sequin skirt. It's the perfect party skirt to wear to ANY holiday party and making quite the entrance is kind of the best part. Let's be real.

 3. If you can't find a plaid / tartan dress, aim for a plaid blazer. You can always style your LBD, black/red heels, some sparkly baubles and let the plaid blazer be your statement.

 4. Gloves. In my case, tartan gloves. My theory? If you're going to purchase a pair of gloves, might as well make a statement. You can find more tartan gloves here + here + here.
 5. The more plaid and gingham, the better. These button-downs make for easy layers with sweaters, dresses, and even by itself.
 6. A holiday bag. I always pull out my favorite Prada bag this time of year. Not only does it put me in the holiday spirit, but it gives me almost like a reminder that the holidays are drawing near and there's nothing quite like that feeling.

 7. Lately, I've been loving the plaid + sequin combo. It's a great way to mix both trends this season and opt for something new.

Want to see more photos? Follow me on instagram at @bygracelee!

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