Continuing our three-part conversation with Co-Founder Kate Hudson, we got comfy back inside her parents’ Aspen ranch to talk about the upcoming holiday season. As we looked out at the incredible mountain landscape, Kate animatedly discussed her plans for the season, her holiday traditions and why the festive season is all about spending as much time as possible with family.
Do you carve out time to mentally prepare yourself before the New Year?
Oh yes, I definitely carve out time to mentally prepare for the holidays. When you’ve got a big family it’s always a lot! The holidays, as we all know, can be a very stressful time as well as incredibly beautiful and magical. It’s just chaos when we come home for the holidays. It’s just out of control! Kids running around everywhere, skiing every day and between the gloves getting lost and the goggles going missing and getting everyone to share, you know. We just have to set all these rules down for everybody. It’s mayhem and at the same time it’s the best. So I find that I usually start thinking about the holidays around October to begin planning things out. I also think about what I’ve accomplished that year and what my resolutions were. I can already tell you right now, I wanted to be fluent in French but I’m not quite there yet… that’s gonna have to roll over into 2017!
“There’s something really wonderful about giving back in December and hopefully it sets a good intention for your next year.”
I also try to stay very active in December because between all the parties and holiday food, it’s hard to stay focused! You just walk into any store and there’s free chocolate everywhere. People are like, “Would you like some eggnog?” “Would you like some champagne?” And you’re just like, “No, I don’t want any of it!” But it’s all about pacing yourself. I think one of the things that’s been really rewarding is I pick a charity every Christmas that becomes my go-to, instead of just sending someone a Christmas card. And you send off a message to your friends in a card and say “I’ve donated towards this cause in everybody’s name.” There’s something really wonderful about giving back in December and hopefully it sets a good intention for your next year.
A couple of years ago you shared that your New Year resolution was to spend more time developing a meditation practice. How has that impacted you?
So meditation’s been—I talk about this quite a lot—something that was a real focus for me. I think it’s really important to share with people because I find that when something is powerful for an individual, collectively it can be even more powerful. It’s impacted me in terms of my reactivity and my focus. It’s slowed things down for me, made me relook at the way I live my life, simplify things, connect to things differently. It’s been a great tool for me to recognize when I’m starting to get off track, which continues to happen and always will! I think it’s really brought more joy into my life because I feel more content. The second I started meditating regularly was when I started looking at my life differently. When I’ve gone a couple of days and I haven’t done any kind of meditation, I can feel it in the way that my brain starts to move.
What about the landscapes inspires you?
Landscapes inspire me differently depending on where I’m at, and I think that goes for what kind of activities I’m inspired to be doing. But on the whole, I think being outdoors makes you want to be active or it makes you aware that you need to be more active. And to me, the landscape just gets me excited to be hiking and mountain biking and horseback riding. When I’m by the ocean, I’m excited to swim or stand up paddle and do beach workouts. So landscape is a great motivator.
“The second I started meditating regularly was when I started looking at my life differently.”
Do you have any campfire traditions around the holidays?
So, the tradition in our family is that every New Years, we build an enormous bonfire outside our house. We write down everything we want to be rid of and we throw it into the fire. We get a bunch of drums and just get really weird around this huge bonfire! It’s almost like “Where the Wild Things Are;” it’s like we’re the monsters just dancing with the wild rumpus. What’s interesting to me is that I’m very attracted to fire because I’m an Aries, it’s my element, so fire is one of those things that I can get lost in. I can stare at it forever, almost like seeing things in the fire, you know. But yeah, our family do it big, it’s like our yearly ceremony. We talk about the things that we’ve accomplished and the things that we didn’t. It’s beautiful.
Will you share a memory of being around a campfire with your family?
I think just sitting around a campfire is where you really connect. I have to say as a mother, one of the best things is roasting marshmallows with your kids. There’s this adult element where you all sit around and have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and chat but there’s nothing quite like making s’mores. When we were kids, we would spend our summers in Northern Ontario in a place called Muskoka—it’s lake country, but we found this place over by a river, where we would go out and build a fire and make s’mores every night. Then that went from us being 14 and teenagers to us doing it with our own kids, and it’s this tradition for us now.
“I think being outdoors makes you want to be active or it makes you aware that you need to be more active.”
Do you have any traditions around gift giving to share?
We do! Every year, Santa comes and leaves presents for the kids out in the open. Sometimes Santa likes to wrap a couple of them but usually he leaves them open so the kids can see what they are. The first thing we all do is look in our stockings and look at what Santa’s been noticing about our year. Santa is very clever, he’s very funny so he likes to give the adults very funny presents! And we usually leave Santa something every year. One year we heard that Santa wanted rum, root beer and liquorice. One year he wanted gluten-free cookies and almond milk. Another year, I think he wanted a Cabernet and some chocolates. So Santa likes to change quite a bit! Our traditions are very much based around Santa, so we read “The Night Before Christmas.” We do the Santa tracker and then the kids run up and go to sleep while the adults stay up for a little bit. We’re a big gift giving family, but we’re big on sentimental gifts. So, someone always wins the sentimental gift of the year!
“I think I just love gathering people together and seeing people happy. It’s the time where everybody needs to gather, do a big group hug and enjoy the festivities. We’re really celebrating life in those moments.”
What are some ways you make the season special for people in your life?
Well, I love to entertain. So, every year I grab my group of girlfriends and we do a cookie bake-off, which is really fun. Not to say that we’re gender specific, but it seems to turn out that the girls end up baking the cookies and the guys end up judging them and eating them! Usually, I do a dinner with my girlfriends and that’s one of my favorite parties because it’s just 10 girls and we sit around, talk and give each other presents. I love a party and I love the tradition of Christmas, and I’m Jewish so I don’t know how that worked out! I think I just love gathering people together and seeing people happy. It’s the time where everybody needs to gather, do a big group hug and enjoy the festivities. We’re really celebrating life in those moments.
What are you looking forward to this holiday season?
I look forward to the holiday season because it’s a time that I get to spend with my family that’s uninterrupted. And it’s filled with traditions that make me feel comfortable and cozy. It’s just this beautiful, special time of year. The older you get, the more you realize that you want to prolong those moments for as long as you can, probably because I love my family so much, so I just want to like soak it all up.