For Jenna Bush Hager, it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas Eve without the foods of one marvelous corn-based cuisine.
The TODAY with Hoda & Jenna co-host has many family traditions she’s looking forward to this holiday season, but she’s particularly psyched about one that pays homage to her Texan roots.
“The main tradition that we have over Christmas is Mexican food on Christmas Eve, Tex-Mex. So it’s tamales and enchiladas, guacamole, etc.,” the 41-year-old explained in a new streaming special, “Holidays in My House,” on TODAY All Day.
Watch “Holidays in My House” at 9:30pm on the TODAY All Day streaming channel on Peacock or your smart TV.
Every family has its own unique approach to holiday meals, and it takes a little while for Jenna’s husband, Henry Hager, to warm up to hers.
“The first year that my husband spent Christmas with my family he was like, ‘Wait, where’s the ham?’ He couldn’t believe that was the way we celebrated,” she said. “But it’s just such a beautiful tradition. And one that we love to celebrate.”
The mother of three has always been vocal about her love for Tex-Mex food, and has shared her go-to queso recipe in the past (Savannah Guthrie is a big fan).
“I absolutely love queso. Queso is basically considered a food group in Texas,” she said at the time. “Growing up, when my mom was tired of cooking, we would go out to eat at least once a week, and it was almost always Mexican, so we ate a lot of queso!”
On TODAY All Day, Jenna also provided a glimpse into what her childhood Christmas celebrations in Texas were like.
“We were always with my mom’s parents, Jenna and Harold Welch. And we were in West Texas, which got pretty warm into the desert, so there wasn’t much snow. Although it did snow one year, and we couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Now that Jenna has her own children, Christmas is all about watching “the magic in their eyes” and reliving her own childhood. But the holidays are also about giving back, and that’s something the mother-of-three is especially passionate about.
“It’s like that old phrase, ‘It’s better to give than to receive,’ and it’s so true. And I think this year in particular, that’s sort of our theme as a little family is that we want to make sure that we’re giving as much as we possibly can because we know that people are hurting,” she said.
This holiday season, Jenna and her family plan to do one service project every weekend to get in on the season of giving.
“There’s an organization that we work with, it’s a food bank that delivers food to different homes and you can still do it (virtually),” she said.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com