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Family Holiday Traditions

Ladera families share their fondest holiday traditions.

Traditions Cookies


Christmas Cookie Party
For the last four years, Cristina has invited friends to sign up for her annual (Homemade) Cookie Exchange, "the most delicious party of the year.” The theme is Christmas cookies and each person bakes approximately six dozen. Christmas attire is always encouraged and Cristina gives fun prizes for the best, most unique and festive cookies. At the end of the evening, each guest fills a container to take home cookies and donate the extra cookies to families needing some holiday cheer.


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Family Trip to Arizona
For as long as I can remember, we have traveled to Arizona for Thanksgiving. Every year we enjoy a great Thanksgiving feast, then my Papa, sister and I jump in the freezing, unheated pool after our meal. Papa is the only person who gets excited about this tradition.
Next are the Christmas lights. Thankfully I get the easy job of holding the lights and pretending I didn’t hear any four-letter words from my dad (and I’m not talking about "Noel”). Then, the family decorates the Christmas tree and we rock out to Christmas carols in our pjs. By far the best tradition is the time we spend with friends and family.

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Christmas Train
The Nazzal family always visits the Irvine Christmas train with other Ladera Ranch families (in matching pjs or outfits). We do not have a lot of extended family who live locally so this is a special and exciting thing that our kids get to do with family friends who are like cousins, aunts and uncles. It is meaningful to us to have our village to raise our kids and celebrate the holidays together



Traditions Ures


A Christmas Carol Play
We have the tradition of going to see the play 'A Christmas Carol' every Christmas with our grandparents. Definitely gets us in the Christmas spirit. We love going to church together, getting everyone matching pjs and decorating the Christmas tree together.

Traditions Hanukkah


Hanukkah Party
Everything is centered around food. We go to my mom's house on the first night of Hanukkah and make latkes and have dinner, light candles and open presents.
We also have a big Hanukkah with all our family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) where we have dinner and latkes and then we always have an epic white elephant gift exchange.


Saybrooke Lane Candy Cane Tree
In the spirit of spreading joy for the Christmas season, the Kosciuk family has shared symbolic candy canes with the Ladera community since 2011. The idea started as a whimsical thought to hang hundreds of candy canes from their huge sycamore tree, like they were blooming in celebration. Jill says, "Our hearts are full, as neighbors now make their traditional visits to our home to start their holiday celebration. Each year we give out about 6,000-8,000 candy canes."