Slideshow: Staff Picks: Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

Cookie Decorating Party
Cookie Decorating Party
"One of my best friends from high school has a cookie decorating party every year, and at least a dozen people show up, with dozens and dozens of cookies to be iced. Two of the sisters in the family, both really talented artists, tend to go pretty crazy with their cookies... I can't compete! But I liked the backside of the bear cookie here, the double-headed elf thing, and I think this snowman was one of my best." Carey Jones

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Playing Music
Playing Music
"My favorite holiday tradition used to be our annual whiskey exchange/tasting. We'd all give each other bottles of Scotch or bourbon, making sure to communicate so we'd have no repeats, then we'd hold a blind tasting with tasting sheets and all before finally playing a 'guess which one came from which bottle' game.

These days I can't drink like I used to could, so we've toned it down a bit. Now when after dinner drinks roll around, we instead pick up the instruments and start playing music together. A few years ago we got my dad a banjo for Christmas. A very very very loud banjo. I'm still not sure if that was a wise move or not." J.Kenji Lopez-Alt

[Photograph: Someone related to Kenji took this]

Cookie Decorating
Cookie Decorating
"My favorite holiday tradition is definitely cookie decorating. I get the cookie recipe from my mom, who's been making the same buttery roll out cookies forever. We make royal icing in lots of different colors and buy tons of different sprinkles. (Last year we found candy cane-shaped sprinkles. They were the best for decorating the tree-shapes!) The real fun is when I invite friends over and we all decorate together. This year my boyfriend got in on the game. He made a Christmas dragon. I ate it to spare Santa the confusion." Carrie Vasios

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Mulled Wine
Mulled Wine
" 'Tis the time of year when all I really want to be doing is snuggling up with a warm mug of mulled wine. Whatever cheap red wine (from a box? sure!) that's hanging out goes into a pot with orange zest, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and other spices. I know it's been a good night of merrymaking if my teeth are stained red from all that glorious mulled wine. (Read Max's helpful guide here.) "Erin Zimmer

[Photograph: Wes Anderson]

Latkes and Fried Chicken
Latkes and Fried Chicken
"My favorite holiday tradition is my family's annual Hanukkah party, where we dine on Stew Leonard's fried chicken and homemade latkes, and then light the menorah." Jessica Leibowitz

[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

Peanut Butter Dates
Peanut Butter Dates
"At my grandmother's house growing up, the kids were always put in charge of the peanut butter stuffed dates. You take the pits out and fill the dried dates with peanut butter, then roll in granulated sugar. Totally delicious." Maggie Hoffman

[Date photo: Shutterstock]

Caramel Sticky Buns
Caramel Sticky Buns
"I'm forcing these caramel sticky buns from the Serious Eats book to be a new holiday tradition at my house. I'm not anticipating any complaints from the fam; they're every bit as good as they look." Paul Cline

[Photograph: Paul Cline]

Cookie Swapping
Cookie Swapping
"Swapping cookies, of course!" Alaina Browne

[Photograph: Robyn Lee