The Spirit of Christmas Past and Christmas Present

I went to see Coco last night. (Side note: amazing!) The theater showed a holiday-themed Frozen “long short” beforehand, centered around holiday traditions. While my date and I were not as impressed as his 3-year-old niece probably would be, it got me thinking about traditions.

Christmas Eve | Rochester, NY | c.1991

I LOVE Christmas. The snow, the lights, the trees. Yummy hot cocoa. That festive feeling that simply permeates the air.

Portland, OR | 2016

Growing up, I always went up North to my mom’s family for Christmas. In Rochester, NY as a kid, we would always have a cocktail party for family and neighbors on Christmas Eve. My grandfather would send my Christmas list to Santa (meaning he’d sneakily put it in his pocket after “throwing it up the chimney” while I raced to the door to watch it fly through the sky to the elves) and we’d put out homemade sugar cookies and milk before I went to bed. Christmas Day was always a blur of presents, brie cheese, eggnog, afternoon naps, snowball fights, and an evening feast.

Christmas Day | Rochester, NY | c.1994

Little changed when we started going up to Massachusetts after my grandparents moved. Though my aunt and uncle’s house is right by a lake where I’d get to trail run Christmas morning while we waiting for my grandmother to get ready for the day. (She was 100! We gave her as much damn time as she needed.)

Christmas Day | Hopedale, MA | 2013

Things changed when I moved to Colorado, though. Living in a ski town, I had to work through the holidays. Which generally was ok. It was very festive. And my family always preferred going on trips together rather than celebrating holidays.

Breckenridge, CO | 2014

Now that I’m in Portland, things are still up in the air most years. My first few years here I worked through Christmas, but had days off here and there, unlike in Breck, where I could go ski and feast with friends.

Christmas Eve | Mt Hood, OR | 2015
Portland, OR | 2016

Last year looked to be the same, but with my dad’s diagnosis, I rushed home to surprise them two days before Christmas. It was my very first Christmas in North Carolina, and at the beach no less.

Christmas Eve | Wrightsville Beach, NC | 2016

This Christmas looks to be another unusual one, too. I head home in two weeks. We’ll have a few days at the beach and then will drive up to Asheville (where I’m actually from) to clean out my childhood home, which my parent’s are selling in order to downsize. My aunt and uncle will meet us there for the few days around actual Christmas. It will be a little bizarre. A lot of things changing for our family. I’m sure we’ll be pretty emotional going through years worth of belongings while it’ll be my first Christmas in Asheville. I’m not even sure if my dad’s doctor will let us have a tree.

Christmas Day | Hopedale, MA | 2014

In this time of change during one of my favorite times of the year, I’m grateful for the traditions I have, new and old. I’m grateful for my family that I’ll be able to celebrate with, my Portland friends with whom I celebrated Thanksgiving and hope to see on New Year’s, my Sweat Pink community that is rocking out our second annual SweatFest during which we’re sharing all of our favorite holiday traditions and tips to stay healthy throughout this stressful time.

Christmas Eve | Rochester, NY | c.1991

Baking Sugar Cookies

My family always makes sugar cookies. And rum balls. And vienna balls. We LOVE our holiday cookies!

Christmas Eve | Rochester, NY | c.1992

As I’m a sugar fiend, I absolutely can’t wait to try out Christine’s Almond Pumpkin Spice Protein Cookies as a healthy alternative.

Photo: Collectively Christine

Play in the snow

Growing up celebrating Christmas up North, we were no strangers to White Christmases and getting out to play in the snow.

Christmas | Rochester, NY | c.1994

While I may not get a Christmas Eve or Day ski in this year, I know I’ll be able to get out there a time or two in the next two weeks to slide around on my skis in the mountains. It’s one of my favorite ways to celebrate the arrival of winter, the holidays, and the New Year!

New Year’s Eve | Mt Hood, OR | 2015


My mom and my aunt always bicker at Christmas, but not over the usual stuff. For example, they fight over who gets to do the dishes! Yup, reading it a second or a third time won’t change the fact that I just said they fight over who GETS to do the dishes.

As I’ve gotten older, I sometimes jump in on the battle. And sometimes my dad and I just sit back and watch them fight over it.

Christmas Eve | Hopedale, MA | 2014

This will be the first Christmas in 4 years all three Bent women will be reunited!

Christmas Eve | Hopedale, MA | 2014

Sweat, sweat, sweat

Spending a lot of time at home with the family sometimes means long periods of sitting. Since I was a teenager, we’ve made sure to get a sweat in every morning before the marathon of eating, drinking, and celebrating commences.

In Rochester, we’d go for some sort of romp in the snow. When I was little, it’d be a walk or an (attempted) ski. When I got older, my dad and I would run in the neighborhood.

Christmas | Rochester, NY | c.1995

Up in Hopedale, we’d always go for a run or hike around the lake.

Christmas Eve | Hopedale, MA | 2014

At the beach, it’s a paddle or a beach walk. I can’t wait to see what our Asheville routine is going to be.

Day after Christmas | Wrightsville Beach, NC | 2016

Luckily we have quite the sweat session line up for SweatFest this year! The live schedule is here, but check out what has been announced so far:

  • Stay fit while shopping during the holidays – tips from Ivanna from Ivanna Marie are on the blog
  • Gixo – We had a community sweat last week, but I know this app is going to come in handy throughout the holidays with all my travels and unusual schedule.
  • 12.1 at 11am PT – HIIT & Flow workout with Nic and me (sponsored by Joules Athletics)
  • 12.8 – Workout with Kasey from Powercakes

  • 12.13 – Airport Yoga with Stacey (sponsored by Gerolsteiner)
    • I’ll be leading the yoga session on FB Live at 9:30am PT from PDX airport!

How’s that for a holiday sweat schedule??

Photo: This

Need more holidays-ness? We have MORE! SweatFest also includes sessions on capsule wardrobe packing lists, healthy eating cook-a-longs, mommy-baby travel tips, holiday table decoration, and more!

What are your favorite holiday traditions from childhood and that you have now?

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