Holiday Wrap-Up

Natalie Bergen, notesbynatalie

The Holidays are notoriously known to be a time when family and friends gather to celebrate the season and all of its joy…or, in other words, to eat, drink, and be merry. Throw in a few puppies dressed as Santa and some eggnog and you’ve got the Bergen Family Christmas.

For me, every holiday season has been a time to reflect on the past year and think about what’s to come in the new one. This year I’ve been especially reflective as I continue on this new path and make decisions for my future. 2013 presented me with several significant events that have all contributed to where I am at this very moment and where I will be in the new year. The details for what comes next in 2014 are still being finalized, but I’m so happy that this December 31st I’ll be watching the ball drop knowing that what lies ahead is going to be a new, exciting adventure.

I am very grateful to have spent this month in New York with my family and friends. We definitely had the makings of a true east coast holiday: snowstorms, tree lightings, and wind chills that made your nose tingle. (My last post, Decemberings, filled you in on some of this, too.) The Christmas week kick-off began on Monday for my family…and the merriment continued through…well, it’s probably still in effect as we speak. Hey, it’s the weekend! Here’s a look at some of our holiday traditions…enjoy!

Monday, Christmas Eve Eve

You know the holidays are here when we whip out the doggy Santa suits. This year, Riley even got a hat!

Sleeping Santa Baby.

To start the celebrations, we went to a Mexican restaurant for some fajitas and margaritas. I called this night Merry Margarita Monday.

Margaritas with Mom and Kelly.

Nan looking very merry herself.

Kelly and Wayne enjoying the chips and salsa.

My sister and I love these: top shelf margaritas with a dash of sangria. Yum!

After dinner, I made my way into town to meet some friends at the local bar.

I found these two, Marisa and Justin, at a cozy table. Marisa is a close friend from high school who now lives in California. I was fortunate to be able to stay with her each time I was there this year. She moved out west from New York three years ago, and loves it. She probably loves it even more because it’s where she met Justin…who just happens to be her fiance! They got engaged during this holiday trip to New York. I’m so very happy and excited for them!


Tuesday, Christmas Eve

My family’s Christmas Eve tradition has changed these past two years. We ALWAYS did a big dinner at home, but recently we’ve decided to take the celebration to a local restaurant and give the kitchen (and my parents) a break.

All ready for dinner! I made my all-black outfit a bit more festive with a sequined scarf.

Well, I guess we didn’t cut out all home cooking…a little shrimp cocktail before dinner.

My mom seriously has the cutest holiday dishes.

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Olives.

A shot of some of my favorite ornaments on our tree. Initial blocks that we’ve had for years…one for me, my brother, and my sister. Natalie, Billy, Kelly.

Last minute foodie chats and snacks before heading to the restaurant.

The champagne arrives and my pretty sis is all smiles.

My brother and our favorite waiter, Carlos.

Someone getting their hands on the Fried Calamari.

Veal Parmigiana.

Now that’s a meal.

Lobster Ravioli.

My mom looking lovely and Billy being…Billy : )

Dad and Kelly enjoying the night.

Hi, Wayne!

And, my favorite dessert…an Espresso Martini!

Cheers! My brother’s roommate, Bram, is from the Netherlands so he spent Christmas with us this year. We were very happy to have him!

Back at home, it was time to find some early Christmas presents for our doggies…

Guinness and Riley were very good this year : )

After presents, it was time for Dad’s famous eggnog!

The Recipe:

  • eggnog
  • french vanilla coffee
  • rum
  • Cool Whip
  • nutmeg

So good!

After a few cups of this, Mom, Nan, and I popped in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and snuggled up on the couch. It was almost Santa time…

Wednesday, Christmas Day

Christmas morning came…I was awakened by yummy smells coming from the kitchen.

Always a fun picture to take : )

Family ornament.

After opening up presents and finally eating that delicious breakfast, we packed up the car and headed down to my aunt and uncle’s house in Staten Island. A festive house full of great people was waiting for us. Another night of good food, endless wine, and loud laughter ensued.

And, of course, we had a grab bag game…

Mom’s turn!

After snagging some cute gifts, it was time for Aunt Denise’s Famous Christmas Dinner.

Italian Family Feast: caesar salad, lasagna, potato croquettes, and rice balls. All homemade!

I could go for a plate of this right now : )

Merry Christmas!

It was a wonderful day. Naturally, the highlight of it all was getting to spend time with our family’s newest angel, Hannah. She is my cousin’s beautiful daughter and we all just had a ball watching her roam around in her sparkly, holiday dress…and later in her holiday pajamas.

Aunt Cathy and Hannah (Hannah’s grandmother).

Aunt Denise and Hannah.

This week was a fantastic way to bring 2013 to a close and a great reminder of all that I am thankful for. I hope your holidays were just as bright! Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year full of new adventures.

4 thoughts

  1. I should start doing the same with my dog, yours look adorable! It makes me happy to see that you’re having a great time with your family! That’s what Christmas is all about 🙂
    Wishing 2014 to bring you a lot of happiness, health and success!


    1. Thank you!! Hope the same for you…and hope we can grab that coffee in the New Year! Your dog would look so cute in a Santa suit…we used to have a Cairn terrier who was all white (he looked like your dog) and he just loved it 🙂


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