4 holiday memories that remind us what the season is really all about.
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General Mills

Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

For me, one in particular stands out. I was about 15, and it was another hot, island Christmas (I grew up in the Virgin Islands, so Christmas was always over 80 degrees, and every day looked like a postcard). My mom, sister, a chunk of my family, and I went over to my gran’s house to spend time with her and with each other, ushering in the season.

Gran had made her famous homemade eggnog (for which she refused to give away the recipe). The entire family crowded into the kitchen for our serving before moving to the patio, where we watched the sun go down while drinking eggnog, arguing about music, and debating the merits of Mariah Carey.


That memory is what the holidays mean to me. Everyone being together, laughing, and celebrating the season and that we’d almost made it through another year.

The gazebo in downtown Frederiksted, St. Croix, all decked out for the holidays. Image via iStock.  

The holidays mean something a little bit different to each of us, but in the kitchen and around the dinner table, we make some of our favorite memories.

General Mills has been around for 150 years and knows a thing or two about food and the holidays. They asked a few of their blogger fans to share their favorite holiday traditions, and one thing was pretty clear: Food and family are key ingredients for many of us during the holiday season. Their sweet memories — which many of us can relate to — will give you all the holiday feels.

1. Like cookie-decorating extravaganzas that each generation of kids loves.

The great cookie decorating tradition continues with Liz's kids. Image used with permission.

Liz, author of the blog Eat Move Make, remembers she and her siblings helped their mom to decorate holiday treats.

"My mom would bake cut-out cookies, and we'd decorate them. ... We took our little works of art seriously! It was so fun to find the ones we knew we had made. I distinctly remember the crunch of the colored sugars as I'd take a bite," she wrote on her blog.

"I still use the same recipe and decorating technique with my own kids since it's such a fond memory, and my kids insist to this day that those cookies be a part of their tradition every year as well."

2. And then there's the playful squabbles that take place every holiday between the same two family members.

Myrah (also know as the "Coupon Mamacita") recalls her parents' playful bickering each year as her dad attempted to carve the turkey.

Myrah and her parents in front of the Christmas tree. Image used with permission.

Myrah's dad would give carving his best effort, and her mom would poke and prod at him, pretending to be upset with his efforts. She'd tell him, "You’re ruining it!" while he asserted "It’s fine. Let me do it, " Myrah recalls on her blog. "All the hand waving that went with it was so comforting and warming to me. It was a tradition that made me smile as I watched them have their annual 'war.'"

3. Baking for Santa is a tradition that can never grow old.

Stephanie, who blogs as The Tiptoe Fairy, cherishes the moments spent with her kids baking pastries for Santa and family friends.

It's all hands on deck as Stephanie and her kids bake holiday treats. Images used with permission.

"Our favorite holiday tradition is baking together," she shares on her blog. "My  kids love helping me bake. Every year, we make tons of baked goodies for their teachers, friends, and my husband’s coworkers. We also always bake something yummy for Santa to enjoy while he’s leaving gifts. Each year I come up with something new. This year it’s Brownie Stuffed Crescent Rolls. One of these fresh out of the oven is just melt-in-your-mouth heavenly.”

4. And there's nothing like savoring a treat while the family gathers around the Christmas tree.

For Heather, author of the blog Who Needs a Cape, nothing compares to her family's picture-perfect Christmas mornings in front of the tree.

Heather's delicious apple crescent ring, a Christmas morning favorite in her family. Image used with permission.

"As cliche as it is ... Christmas morning is always just my husband, me and our kids (ok the dog is there this year too)," Heather writes. "I LOVE just spending the majority of our day in our jammies. Kids ripping through presents, my husband and I with coffee watching ... we open our gifts after the kids are off playing with whatever new thing is the best. I make something EASY but super yummy [like her apple crescent ring]. It's easy and delish and everyone in my family loves a fancy treat for Christmas Morning!"

What's your favorite holiday tradition?

Whether it's time spent relaxing with your family, stealing food off each other's dinner plates during a shared meal, or swapping stories from the past year and hopes and dreams for the year to come, we wish you a wonderful holiday.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.