Her plans sound so festive!

Stacey Ballis
December 22, 2020
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Rachael Ray, her husband John Cusimano and their new pup Bella will be hunkering down like so many of us this holiday season. And while she is still working on what she calls her “30-page list of holiday cheer,” gifting to those that are special to her, she and John are focused on making this unusual holiday special for its own sake. She recently took to Instagram to answer users' questions about how they're celebrating Christmas this year.

While some of their traditions are put on pause, others remain tried and true. Usually, Rachael says she would be decorating several trees to decorate their home, but this year is scaled down for obvious reasons, so she is focused on just one tree to brighten their days. (Though she did decorate her back porch with some festive fairy lights and greenery!)

And she shared in her Instagram video that their gifting traditions with each other will still be celebrated this year. Every year Rachael asks John, a talented musician, what genre of instrument he might most enjoy, and she finds something new for him in that arena. Because they have such similar tastes, John has a small "secret list of stores" that he uses for gifts for Rachael, and she respects that secrecy and doesn’t peek at bags or boxes he might be sneaking into the house. Rachael admits that with their aesthetics so in tune, if she knew where he was shopping, she’d probably just go there and buy everything! She says she really does like being surprised, so it's part of the fun to not know where he is sourcing the wonderful things he gets for her.

A lot of their traditions are just between the two of them. They have a list of holiday movies they watch over and over, which always includes A Christmas Story. Rachael makes a “Christmas Pasta” that John just loves, and he always makes playlists of holiday music for them to listen to (you can listen to his festive playlist here). They both love to spoil the dog every day, but as this is Bella’s first Christmas they are wanting to make it extra special for her.

The big surprise? Despite being such a terrific cook, Rachael leaves the Christmas cookie production to her sister. She only took it on once, years ago, and by her own admission she did not enjoy it. “I was a grumpy elf,” she acknowledges.

But despite everything, Rachael and John are looking forward to celebrating the holidays this year “just us chickens,” she says. Like all of us, they still have much to be thankful for, and just because the holidays are different and smaller, doesn’t mean the joy needs to be diminished. Which is a good lesson for all of us.