Our Holiday Traditions

by Sebastian Boyle

As 2017 draws to a close, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for the year that’s been, and wish you happy holidays and a wonderful year ahead.

It's been an exciting year for us. We've grown, we've done lots of new things, and we've had the good fortune to work on countless rich and rewarding projects with partners the world over. We look forward to continuing that in 2018. We already know it'll be a big year.


So with thoughts of food, family, and frivolity in our minds, we'd like to give you a glimpse of some of our team's holiday traditions, from both wintry North America, and summery New Zealand.

TimeZoneOne offices will be closed on public holidays in their respective countries, but open throughout the rest of the holiday period.


holiday divider 300x66


I join my relatives at a Christmas Eve church service – a different parish every year. My semi-deaf Aunt gets bored and talks loudly about the people around her, my Mum gives her vocal cords their annual operatic test-drive, and I inevitably get a case of the giggles. We then eat hot savouries, make Canadian Log (a Christmas lolly cake filled with cherries and walnuts), and watch Christmas movies on telly while we wrap presents and the pav rises.


Some key dishes on Christmas Day:

  • Aforementioned Canadian Log
  • Biscotti
  • Christmas cake
  • Shortbread
  • New potatoes from my mother or Uncle’s garden
  • Baby peas boiled with mint
  • Three meats: Lamb, ham and chicken
  • Homemade stuffing
  • Sliced kumara with orange sauce
  • A sherry-heavy trifle
  • Christmas pudding
  • Fresh berries
  • In the evening, we have left over meats, salads and bread fresh out of my mum’s bread-maker. Dem smells.


holiday divider 300x66



  • Eat lots o’ puppy chow
  • Saint Nick coming by on Dec 5th at night to stuff our stockings above the Christmas tree. We would always get an orange chocolate ball and a candy cane filled with chocolates, usually Reese’s for me.
  • On Christmas, my mom, brother, and I would go out to Olive Garden, our favorite restaurant for a nice meal and take a family photo. Then come home and (most of the time) watch Mamma Mia. Our present to each other would be the restaurant and just sitting down all together for once and also a calendar for the year ahead.
  • If there was a Christmas tree, my aunt would hide a plastic pickle ornament somewhere in the tree and the first kid to find it would get to open up a gift early (aka on the 24th)


In France:

  • Have a full-out 5 course meal which included lots of champagne.
  • Eat escargots as the entrée
  • Eat some kind of fish as the main
  • Eat a “buche de noel" for dessert

seb 180x180Sebastian

One thing I’ll always remember is this Christmas disco album playing on cassette every Christmas morning. I’m not sure why this was the Christmas soundtrack – I never got the impression my parents were disco enthusiasts – but for me, it’s become the definitive rendition of many Christmas carols, and inseparable from the concept of “Christmas Day”. I genuinely love it. And now I share it with others, to varying types of reception. And great news – you can now experience the full thing on Spotify! The only correct response is unmitigated joy and merriment.


holiday divider 300x66


When I was a girl, my family used to rug up on Christmas morning and walk along the wintery shore of Loch Ness to the church in Loch End. We liked the sociability, the carols, and the thermo-nuclear mince pies that would festively remove all the skin from the roof of your mouth. It was often snowy, and we were always late. In fact, we had an informal contest with our neighbours to see which family could skid in last.

Nowadays my festive traditions appear to be whinging about the midsummer heat, nostalgically remembering winter Christmases of yore, and being faintly appalled at the consumerist hell of it all. In short, I’m not having anywhere near as much fun. Maybe we need to start walking to church instead.


holiday divider 300x66


My mom and I always do afternoon tea at the Drake Hotel in Chicago (famous for its holiday decorations) off the Mag Mile. Lunch under the big tree at the Walnut Room restaurant at Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's department store, RIP) on State Street in downtown Chicago.




holiday divider 300x66

 KimKim 2

Our family tradition is hosting an enormous Christmas breakfast for all our friends and family. It’s not just a tradition, it has become an institution! We usually host it the weekend before Xmas (we just survived our 26th breakfast on Sunday!).

We make pancakes and waffles for about 60 people and we even hire a coffee van! Christmas really starts for me with this event and it’s a fantastic way of catching up with everybody.

We have a musical tradition, too: a self-compiled Xmas CD called The “Hick-lectic” Xmas Collection, and yes, it does have “Snoopy’s Christmas” and some disturbingly chirpy live tracks from a Susan Prentice concert where my boys sang!


holiday divider 300x66


As the youngest, it was up to me to distribute the loot from Santa when we were kids. As we grew older, the rule was those who were doing cooking or other prep were allowed a Baileys, it was a good encouragement to get everyone involved! This will be my 6th summer Christmas, and I still find them a bit odd. Now the tradition is an untraditional meal which feels right for this time of year, and my job is the lamb leg on the BBQ.


holiday divider 300x66


My wife and I make an effort to nurture the dual-spirit of both joy and irony during the holidays, which is why we begin our Christmas celebrations by decorating a delicious haunted gingerbread house.

And behold, below is one of those very gingerbread houses for your holiday inspo needs.

About the Author

Sebastian Boyle

Sebastian Boyle

Content Strategist

At TimeZoneOne, I write and arrange words in manners delightful to people and artificial intelligence. You might find it helpful to talk to me if you would like something written, something jazzed up, or if you’d just like an idea or seventeen.