Family is Everything: Our Unique Holiday Traditions

This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

#FamilyistheGreatestGift, isn't it? Read about our unique holiday traditions and share your own. Enter the Gift My Gathering contest TODAY to win! #IC #AD

The holidays. Ah. Take a deep breath with me here. In our house, they are the zaniest, most hectic and messy time of year and I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I look at our 18-foot tree and think of how many gifts I still have to buy, and all I can do is smile. That’s our way! We signed up for this, or rather, life handed us some twists and turns. Family is everything.

My husband and I are both from blended families. When I was very young, my father passed away suddenly. My mom remarried a man with three kids (he lost his wife the same summer) and we became “The Brady Bunch”. That’s the only life I know, and I know that family is everything. Now my parents have eight grandkids with another one on the way. As a professional photographer, I try to capture all of what makes our family so special. And there’s a whole lot of that!

With five kids – each of us with our own needs and bedrooms – we’ve had some fun times together. Since our blended family had four family sides, we would often double up in bedrooms so that guests could have a quiet place to sleep. In fact, I think we had house guests more than we didn’t! Some stayed for long visits. With a big family, and a lot of friends, we got to grow up witnessing just how big our parent’s hearts are – to care for so many people without a second thought. I admire that so much. I strive to be that way, if I’m not already. My dad’s parents are in their 90’s and he visits them weekly. My mom’s parents both lived to age 100, and my mom was the quintessential sandwich generation until my Nana Jane’s passing.

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What’s been crazy for me is how similar my husband’s family is. Cassidy’s parents are divorced and remarried, so I have four in-laws. His great-aunt lived to age 104, so they have longevity on that side too. I think we both have a good grasp on the concept of family. Quite simply, family is everything, and that’s what makes the world go round. We go through everything together. No one else understands you like your family, and you don’t understand anyone else the way you do your family.

holiday traditions

And I think that’s what makes the gift giving so much fun!

You know who we love? T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. Why? They all understand that your family is your greatest gift, so they have introduced the Gift My Gathering contest! This contest inspires people to connect and celebrate what truly matters most – each other. This is really exciting! They’re making it possible for FIVE families from across the U.S. to come together and celebrate at a holiday gathering. Not only that, but T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods have teamed up with Carla Hall to share her tips and tricks for great holiday gatherings, allowing you more time to focus on what matters most.

And that’s family.

holiday traditions

Through November 28th, visit and talk about how they can help you gather with the people that matter the most this holiday season. Then, they’ll select five families from across the U.S. to make it possible for them to celebrate together with a custom holiday gathering. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Gift My Gathering is sponsored by The TJX Companies, Inc. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. and Puerto Rico, 18 & older. Begins 8:00 a.m. ET on 11/13/17 & ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 11/28/17. For official rules, visit

Not to mention, that we LOVE T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods and especially this time of year because they have everything we need for family gatherings! And I’m talking holiday décor, entertaining essentials, and gifts for loved ones! In fact, that reminds me of one of the ways our holidays are unique – and that’s starting with our holiday tradition #1 here:

1 – We do AMAZING Secret Santa exchanges. Since there are five of us kids, and spouses, we pull names and then have fun shopping for our Secret Santa recipient. And this is separate from getting all the eight, almost nine, grandkids gifts. Last year, I pulled my brother’s name and got him his special gifts at T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.

2 – We grew up celebrating both Chanukah and Christmas. Well my husband did as well, and so did my brother-in-law. It’s so special to show our kids the wonders of the holiday season and I love our traditions.

3 – Building on that, every year we have a huge Chanukah party and two huge Christmas parties with three sets of grandparents.

4 – We have a huge brunch and then stay in our pajamas all day until the huge dinner. What a luxury!

5 – We always get a pretty crazy tree!

#FamilyistheGreatestGift, isn't it? Read about our unique holiday traditions and share your own. Enter the Gift My Gathering contest TODAY to win! #IC #AD

What makes your family’s holiday traditions unique?

Holiday Recipe: Kale Spiral Ham With Stuffing

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This post is in collaboration with Smithfield – a brand my family is proud to know and love. At Tamara Like Camera, we strive to create simple, delicious recipes full of goodness and flavor. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe during the holiday season.

This spiral ham recipe with a kale, craisins, walnuts, double cheese

We need to talk about this Kale Spiral Ham recipe, because it’s quite honestly, the most impressive ham I’ve ever seen.

It oozes full of flavor. Literally. When you watch the cheese, kale, dried cranberries and nuts melt into the ham, you will be so excited to eat this! Also, the “stuffing” before baking makes the most exquisite salad ever. The Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham steals the show, though. Smithfield is here to arm you with everything you need to make hosting for all meal occasions look effortless! I’m talking from the holiday meal to the morning brunch leftovers. You’re covered from morning to night.

All season long, you can visit for all of your entertaining needs in Smithfield’s Holiday Hub. There you will find foolproof tips and simple recipes that will wow your loved ones. You’ll be able to breathe easy knowing you’re serving flavor-filled dishes for all the celebrations the season brings. Good food? It’s the cornerstone of any holiday celebration. I like it to be memorable, and best enjoyed with loved ones near and far. No holiday dinner table is complete without a Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham in the center – perfectly cooked and spiral sliced – filled with my amazing stuffing. I love that these delicious hams make holiday cooking a breeze for any holiday feast. Plus, leftovers the next day? Bliss! My recipe:

Kale Spiral Ham With Stuffing

Kale Spiral Ham With Stuffing


  1. 1 Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham
  2. 1/2 bag kale
  3. Bag of Dried Cranberries - 6 oz
  4. 6.5 oz walnuts
  5. 1 lb Swiss cheese, shredded
  6. 1/2 lb Parmesan cheese, shredded/grated
  7. 6 oz honey
  8. 1/2 bag of glaze (reserve 1/2 to pour on ham while cooking)
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh coarse ground pepper
  10. 1 tablespoon garlic powder


  • 1. Preheat oven to 275°F
  • 2. Place unwrapped ham in shallow roasting pan, flat side down
  • 3. Cover ham with foil and bake for approximately 15 minutes per pound
  • 4. Place refrigerated glaze packet under warm water for 1 minute until it's softened
  • 5. Meanwhile, chop kale coarse to medium
  • 6. Chop walnuts medium
  • 7. Grate Swiss cheese and Parmesan, if not already grated
  • 8. Mix all ingredients in a bowl to mix evenly
  • 9. Add honey and 1/2 glaze packet last to bind ingredients
  • 10. Remove ham from oven 10-15 minutes before the end of warming time and carefully use utensils to turn it over
  • 11. Stuff mixture between each ham slice, making sure to push it all the way in
  • 12. Apply the last 1/2 of glaze packet evenly over ham surface and let it sit for 5-10 minutes
  • 13. Bake uncovered for the last 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted
  • 14. Enjoy!
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Is your mouth watering yet? The kale stuffing is the best part. As you can see from the recipe, you make it yourself in a bowl and add the refrigerated glaze packet last. It’s such a delicious stuffing and doesn’t require a lot of heat. I actually remember how it smelled the first time I made it. I took it to a friend’s house and had to smell it for the whole car ride, but I couldn’t eat it yet! Then at my friend’s house, we popped it in the oven for warming and we all loved it.

This spiral ham recipe with a kale, craisins, walnuts, double cheese

It’s bursting with the flavors of tart dried cranberries, two types of cheese, coarse black pepper, and the honey and glaze.

You’ll know when it’s ready to serve, because it will fill your house with the most delicious smell.

This spiral ham recipe with a kale, craisins, walnuts, double cheese

During the month of December, Smithfield is giving away a prize every day to members signed up for their rewards program, Smithfield Rewards. As part of 31 Days of Smithfield Cheer, there will be daily and weekly prizes as well as a grand prize of $5,000 to pay off holiday debt! All consumers have to do is log-in or create an account, and visit the Holiday Hub page, to be entered for the chance to win any of the sweepstake prizes, including gift cards, a shopping spree, and night out for the New Year.

Use the secret word TAMARACAMERA when you register before December 31, 2017 and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Beaches All-Inclusive Resort – Jamaica! See Official Rules for more details

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield.