Tanvi Arora and Anshul Bakshi – Chicago, Illinois and Toronto, Canada
Tanvi: We have been dating for over three years, had our Roka (Punjabi pre-engagement ceremony), and our wedding is [set] for July 8, 2017 in Chicago. Anshul lives in Toronto and I live in Chicago.
We are either in Chicago or Toronto for the holidays and love spending time with family/friends. Since we are in a long-distant relationship, we love to cherish every moment!
This time we are doing different things in Toronto; made a list:
– Toronto Christmas Market
– Evergreen Winter Village
– Skiing/Snowboarding (maybe Blue Mountain Ski Resort)
– Love to try different cuisines (we always try a new cuisine every time we meet up)
– Go to different bars (we always try new drinks)
– Try out different breweries and wine tasting during the holidays
– We watch different Christmas movies
– We are huge fans of pizza (we always try a new pizza place in Toronto and Chicago)
– Our favorite place in Toronto: Real Sports Bar (both of us are big sports fans and love to watch different sports together)
We make sure wherever we go, we always try something new–I don’t think we have gone to [any] place a second time, unless it’s Real Sports Bar. We love to try new cuisines and drinks! We are more relaxed this holiday just because I am starting dental school on January 3, 2017 at University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC Dental School).
Reema and Steve Soman – Houston, Texas
Reema: This year, we are celebrating with our family, and preparing to welcome our newest member [a baby girl]. We love gathering to spend quality time together and celebrate our Lord.
Steve: We hung out stockings and put up our Christmas tree–a delightful Christmas tradition in both of our families. The tree skirt says “Soman Family,” as we begin our own family and look forward to passing down our tradition to our baby. We really love our ornaments–like “Our First Christmas” when we started dating or our wedding ornament, which we hang to remind us of special events in our lives. We hope to let our kids hang things up on the tree that are special to them. It is also our tradition to celebrate Christmas with church service, hot chocolate, fresh-baked cookies, and a day out by ourselves at the park or a special event like the symphony. We are truly blessed; God gave us each other and everything is a gift that we cherish! Christmas is a time to celebrate each of those moments and to remember the gift of God’s love for us–a reminder that no matter where life’s journey takes you, God is always there and always loving us. This season we hope to spread some of that cheer and say, “God loves you; Merry Christmas”!
Ayesha and Saatwik Khanna – New Jersey
Ayesha: The holidays are a wonderful time for everyone, but for us it’s even more special and means double the celebrations because our anniversary falls during Thanksgiving. It feels great that we get to enjoy and spend some quality time together as a family!
While we live in Jersey City, a trip to the local mall to visit Santa and the Rockefeller Center in New York City are a must–a family tradition we love to maintain, thanks to our beautiful six-year-old daughter.
We also love to travel around the holiday season to explore new cities and enjoy the local festivities. This year, we traveled to Bermuda and it was exciting to see the city lit up each evening with Christmas decorations. Fortunately, for us, we had a stunning Christmas tree set up at the hotel lobby (Hamilton Princess Bermuda). We were so excited to take a beautiful family pic in front of it. We can’t wait to add it to our album for the year 2016 (another holiday tradition of ours) and complete it with a happy note.
Bijal and Anuj Vohra – New York
Bijal: Our holiday plans involve family, giving back, and giving thanks. We are so fortunate to have our health and our loving family, and like to give back to those that are in need. My husband runs the emergency room at Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown, New York, so I’m able to get an idea of how many patients are admitted on Christmas as well as [gain] easy access. My family and I buy toys, balloons, and appropriate gifts for those young and old, and walk to every patients’ room with a smile and gifts. We’ve been doing this as a couple the last few years, and now we will be adding our six-month-old twins and two-year-old toddler to the tradition. After the visit, we like to redo Thanksgiving–I make the turkey feast all over again and we go around the table saying what we are thankful for.
Farheen and Tanveer Vaidya – Houston, Texas
Farheen: Days are incredibly busy when you have a toddler, so when holiday season comes along, it turns into a period of catching up on all our errands and chores around the house. Spending more time with our little 14-month-old son, Raiyaan, is usually at the top of the list. Taking him to parks, spending countless hours entertaining him, that’s definitely part of the holiday fun! We also like to go shopping and will either take turns, or go as a family and get some holiday shopping done–it’s so much easier to go when [someone] can watch the baby!
Our family also enjoys getting together on Christmas Day; we visit my cousins’ house with his 10-foot-tall tree and enjoy the Christmas spirit with all the decadent lunch options and desserts, and basically just have a good time. The men will start out watching football and proceed to playing it outside (if weather permits) and the women are usually inside chatting and watching over the tens of little kids running around, since most of the kids are under five. The holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones, your family, and that’s what makes it worthwhile.
Sabaah and Zahid Rahman – Houston, Texas
Sabaah: We celebrate the holidays because we have kids and they enjoy it, even though we [don’t practice] in that religion. I decorate my house and put a tree up. We do the whole gifts under the tree. My house is lit up. We even have friends come over and celebrate the Ugly Sweater party or participate in the White Elephant game.