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Our Holiday Plans: The MSA Team Shares Their Favorite Traditions

As our personal plans begin to form for the upcoming holidays, we’ve found ourselves feeling more and more excited with each passing day! We’re hard at work creating the best possible experience for our readers—including our gift guides, our daily giveaways, and our upcoming annual Better Than Black Friday event. 

In addition to the guides and events we have planned for the holidays here at MSA, each member of our team has their own special wintertime traditions. While holiday festivities will look a little different this year, we’ll still be sticking to some of our most beloved traditions. Read on to get to know our team a little better, and feel free to share your favorite holiday traditions in the comments!

The MSA Team’s Holiday Plans (With Some COVID-Friendly Tweaks)

Our team was recently reflecting on their most cherished holiday traditions, and we wanted to share them with you. From hosting Friendsgiving to baking sugar cookies, shopping for a Christmas tree or, well, eating, our favorite traditions are the true highlight of the season! Here are our team’s answers to the question, “What’s your favorite tradition for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or winter?”

Megan, Senior Writer:

“A real Christmas Tree! I grew up with a fake one but my husband, Will, has always made sure we go pick out a super fragrant real-life tree each year now to make up for lost time!”


Andy, Photo Director

“We typically do Friendsgiving, a full weekend gathering of 25-30 friends and family on the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year would have been our 9th annual Friendsgiving, but we are opting to be safe and instead, we are planning to do a full day Zoom where friends can pop in and out whenever they can so we can keep a bit of the tradition going. Also, wrapping presents to Vince Guaraldi Trio’s Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.”


Christen, Copywriter & Editor:

“Making fresh-squeezed orange juice on Christmas Eve morning. My husband and his sister started this tradition when they were kids, and those of us who have joined the family since have kept the tradition. There’s not much of an explanation behind it; it’s just delicious and fun!”

Want to stock up on oranges so you can make your own “fresh squeezed?” Check out our list of the Best Fruit of the Month Clubs.


Sara, Content Manager:

Home Chef Thanksgiving Sides - green bean casserole

Image from our review.

“Normally I head over to my grandmother’s for dinner, who at 90, still insists on hosting. However, this year we’re all staying home and planning on a family virtual gift exchange.”

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for yourself this year and need a hand? See what Lindsey thought of Home Chef’s Thanksgiving Sides.


Sarah, Channel Manager:

“My family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas so I always look forward to my mom making latkes and our extended family coming over for Christmas Eve. Does wrapping all your presents in a panic on Christmas Eve count as a tradition? My mom also makes pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day for good luck. If I’m nearby, I still swing by to have some for dinner (although mine now includes fake sausage instead of pork).”


Simran, CEO

“My mom and I have been collecting Disney ornaments for the last 30 years, and each year we are on the lookout for a new one. It’s like our own little scavenger hunt. We then get super sentimental about the collection as we decorate the tree each year. I also do an annual holiday day with close friends – holiday markets, hot chocolate in hand, Secret Santa, and then decorating sugar cookies with Home Alone on in the background.”

Are you also a Disney-lover? Here are the MSA team’s top Disney+ picks.


Dan, Lead Engineer

“Growing up, my family always used to do Virginia Country Ham biscuits, ambrosia salad, deviled eggs, and She Crab soup as our Christmas eve dinner. It’s such a weird combo but I loved it. We’d then all open one gift after dinner before going to bed. I don’t get to do that as much now that I’m in New Jersey and surrounded by my in-laws but the few times we are in Virginia for Christmas, we keep the tradition alive with my side of the family.”


Lacey, Product Manager:

KnitCrate project

Image from our review.

“My favorite holiday tradition is filling up all four of our Christmas stockings with small gifts and treats. It’s low pressure as far as finding gifts, and super fun! I like to stick with candy and little blind box toys and such, and the kids always enjoy it. Last year I knit four coordinating stockings to hang on our mantle, one for each of us, and I love that it makes the living room feel super cozy.”

Who else has hand-knit items as part of their holiday decorations? We love the yarn sent in KnitCrate!


Mallory, Community Manager

“I love doing all of the cliché New York City holiday activities: visiting the big tree at Rockefeller Centre, ice skating in Central Park, browsing the holiday windows on 5th Avenue, and even drinking spiked hot chocolate in an igloo at 230 Fifth. The city is truly magical this time of year!”


Brad, CRO

“Watching the Lions lose on Thanksgiving Day!”

Did you know ESPN+ has a subscription bundle with Hulu and Disney+? See the MSA team’s watch picks here.


Jenny, Designer

“On Christmas Eve, we host an island of lost toys party for everyone who hasn’t gone home for the holiday. We make a ton of appetizers and cocktails and have a blast.

For Hanukkah, I always make way too many latkes and we eat them for a week (even though they are best fresh)!”


Adriane, Head of People:

Image from our review.

“Sugar cookie making and contests with my family!”

Thinking of starting your own cookie-baking tradition? Visit our list of the best subscriptions for foodies and find which baking box is right for you!


What are your favorite holiday traditions? How will you be keeping them going strong this year?

Written by Mallory @ MSA

Mallory @ MSA

Mallory joined the MSA team in 2020. She focuses on engaging with our community online, through daily emails, and across our social media channels. Based in New York City, she can often be found biking through Central Park, scoping out under-the-radar coffee shops, and listening to the Hamilton cast album on an endless loop. Her current favorite subscriptions are Hello Fresh and Fabletics.

Posted in MSA Community, Subscription Box News| 22 comments

Comments (22)

  1. This was a fun read 🙂

    Mallory, your tradition in NYC sounds like so much fun, and makes me want to go back! I was there once during the holidays for work, so I didn’t fully get to enjoy the scenery, but I did get to see the tree & ice rink which was fun… and were actually a lot smaller than I had thought, but I’ve learned I have a tendency to build things up in my head, lol. I was also in Chicago during the holidays for work once, and it was beyond beautiful! Truly a Christmas wonderland. Seeing all of the decorations EVERYWHERE both outside & inside buildings/stores and people dressed to the nines to go to the theater felt like being in a movie, lol.

    The day before Thanksgiving, I wrap all of the pre-Christmas gifts I want to give to family (like advent calendars, ornaments, Christmas socks, Christmas sweaters, holiday scented body products & candles… things I want them to enjoy during the holiday season leading up to Christmas). On Thanksgiving, my family tradition involves taking our time (well, really my time since I do all the cooking) cooking Thanksgiving dinner, so we don’t eat until somewhere between 3pm to 9pm, lol. Listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack while we eat dinner. Handing out pre-Christmas gifts while the food settles to make room for pie, then doing Black Friday shopping all day long the next day (which of course we’ll be forgoing this year). On Christmas we just chill watching Christmas horror movies all day, and open gifts all day long since my mom is usually in & out of the kitchen all day, so there are many intermissions, lol. And for New Years… I just try to stay awake! 😀

    • Hi Luna! Thanks for sharing this – I’ve never been to Chicago, but it sounds pretty magical as well. Hopefully you can make it back to New York in the future! 🙂 Enjoy the holidays!!

  2. Jealous of Mallory! Haven’t been to New York in so long cause my grandma moved closer to us and she lived in Queeens. I need to just pick and go one of these days. I miss it!! 💞 loved reading these traditions.

    • Hi Nikkim! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this piece, we all loved working on it and sharing our traditions 🙂 I hope you’re able to make it to NYC sometime soon!

  3. Can I be your friend Andy?!


    Happy Holidays everyone!

  4. We buy Christmas ornaments when on vacation. Then we love decorating the tree and talking about all the fun things we have done. No new ornaments this year, but we’ll still enjoy thinking of past years. Also, one of my favorites is wrapping presents after the kids are in bed and I get to drink wine and watch corny Christmas movies.

  5. @Lacey thanks to me discovering MSA and then telling my daughter about Knitcrate we have many hand-knitted ornaments for the tree and many scarves and hand warmers for the Winter months.

  6. I have zero family. I’m 30 and both my parents have passed, grandparents on both sides have passed. Nobody else really and no kids. I do have a husband & 3 cats. He doesn’t visit his family much.

    I’m festive though and do the best I can. I already started Christmas early with decor and wrapping presents.

    • Same here.. I’m 40 years young. Never knew my dad who passed away at the age of 47 of a massive heart attack. My mom was a very abusive alcoholic, both mentally and physically, so we never had a good relationship. She sadly passed away in her sleep 2 years ago this January. No kids. Both grandparents passed too. No friends to hang out with. I have friends I talk to on social media sites, but I have severe social anxiety, so I can hardly leave my house, only for doctor appts. and groceries. Christmas is a sad time for myself. I know it shouldn’t be, as I can still celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus by myself, which I do.. I sing Happy Birthday and am grateful for all that He has Blessed me with. This social anxiety thing sucks though, along with on and off depression too. It just gets lonely sometimes.. Sorry for rambling, I just wanted to let you know your not alone and I can relate. Stay strong Diamond!

      • Bless you both! I hope things get better for everyone this holiday season and onward.

    • I am alone, no family, no hubby but I live in Vegas so I usually go hit a sumptious buffet and then gamble. This year no buffets are open but the casinos are. Probably not going to go out at all but I’m good. I save everything I buy in Nov. and Dec and wrap it up and put it under my tree. I’m old and I forget what’s there so I am truely surprised when I open everything on Christmas morning.

  7. I find this super depressing to read during a year I can’t see my family for the holidays.

  8. I visited NYC over Christmas time a few years. I’m with Mallory – truly a magical experience. Seeing Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes, Macy’s, the list goes on and on.

    Unfortunately, no traveling this year. My kids will be coming home at separate times. We’ll make the best of it. Can’t wait to give them the Sugarfina advent calendars I purchased at a great price courtesy of MSA.

    • Hi Beth! I love that you can relate and have experienced the NYC holiday magic as well 🙂 Hope you’re able to make it back here next year!

  9. I loved reading these! I hope everyone has a peaceful, safe, and healthy holiday season.

    • Thanks so much, Alice! You as well 🙂

  10. I really enjoyed reading these! So fun.

    Also was super interested in seeing all the names and titles of the team. Neat

    • I agree, CC! So neat seeing names and titles of the crew and hearing more about their traditions!

    • Hi! I’m so glad you enjoyed this story – we all had so much fun putting it together!

  11. Any particular type of oranges, Christen?

    My grandpa had a couple of Valencia orange trees on his avocado ranch and used to love fresh-squeezing those, so your tradition is nostalgic for me, too!

    • I was wondering the same thing! I bet mandarin juice would be good too

    • That’s a great question, and I’m chuckling to myself as I realize I have no idea! 😅 My mother-in-law always has the oranges already bought and in a giant bowl waiting for us on the kitchen counter. It’s kind of sweet, and makes us feel like kids having it facilitated for us like that. I’ll have to ask this year. But I’ll bet no oranges we could get our hands on here in Pennsylvania could possibly compare to those fresh Valencia oranges from your grandpa’s ranch, Marion!!!

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