Alexander James Rodriguez may have moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting and music career, but the Marbella-born and British-raised singer is spilling on the holiday traditions from where he grew up! In his own words, Alexander shares his favorite foods, family memories, and more. Plus, listen to his 2021 take on the holiday classic, “We Need a Little Christmas.”
During the Christmas season, I really love to see the Christmas lights on Oxford and Regents Street, walking around Harrods, attending the carol service at the Royal Albert Hall, and going to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This year we are celebrating our Christmas traditions in Los Angeles!
At the top of my list in Los Angeles is decorating the Christmas tree whilst listening to Holiday music with the fire on (both on the TV and in the lounge!) I look forward to baking traditional Christmas mince pies, and always wrap some up for friends and neighbors to try with whipped cream on top. Each year, we attend a Pantomime. In Los Angeles the Lythgoe family put on a very British panto, they are so much fun.
On Christmas Eve we attend the local church service for Christmas carols, and we light the Silent Night candle, one of my favorite moments of Christmas Eve – then we head home for a Christmas movie. In England, the whole family walks to the village church, which is freezing inside, and we sing-along with the local choir and see our breath in the air!
Christmas Day is spent opening a handful of gifts and then riding my horse whilst dinner is in the oven. We always have a Christmas cracker at the table and put on the paper hat and read the silly joke inside. Then we tuck into turkey, ham, roast potatoes, roasted veggies, stuffing and lashings of gravy sitting in front of the television (I rarely eat in front of the TV) watching a movie. Last year was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and this year it will be The Sound of Music – it’s always on each year in England and I haven’t seen it in forever. We top off the feast with traditional Christmas pudding which is flamed to perfection and eaten until our bellies are ready to pop!
My favorite Christmas song is, “We Need A Little Christmas,” which is why this year I recorded my version and added a third verse about egg nog and Hallmark movies, to modernize it a little!
Boxing Day is a big part of my Christmas tradition. It falls on December 26th and is like celebrating a second Christmas Day. It is a Bank Holiday in England (meaning a public holiday). Originally, it is said, this day was celebrated by the servants, or tradesman, to the wealthy – having prepared the excessive feast of Christmas Day for the elites, Boxing Day was their day to celebrate the Christmastide. It was a charitable day for the servants and the poor who were given gifts, trinkets, and food parcels. This lesser class also boxed up gifts for their own families in celebration of Christmas.
December 26th is also Saint Stephen’s Day. This day commemorates the first Christian martyr who was known for his service to the poor and needy. So you can see a big tie in for this special day of giving back. If you get a chance, listen to the 1853 Christmas hymn, ‘Good King Wenceslas’, it was written for the Feast of Stephen, better known as Boxing Day, and it celebrates the long tradition of charitable giving on the Second Day of Christmas.
For me it is the day to be with my family, eat cold cuts, cheese and leftovers, box up any unwanted toys to make room for the new and basically just enjoy a second Christmas.
Happy Holidays, #YSBNowFam!