What are some of your family’s favorite traditions during the holiday season? Is it simply spending time with your loved ones? Or could it be using this time to pay reverence to those family members who’ve since passed on? For actress Aja Naomi King, it’s all those things and more. 

The California native has always cherished these special moments, and now that she has a family of her own, she feels even more inclined to partake.

"I've always wanted to make the holidays feel special, and now that I have a child of my own, it's even more important to me to continue family traditions, as well as create my own traditions to be able to pass down to my son. It is just a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the people I love most, and I am surrounded by many incredible women in my family who have inspired and guided me," shares King. "The holidays are just a great time to remember and honor the people like my nana, who sadly is no longer with us, but the impact of her legacy lives on. It's wonderful just to honor her and remember her, especially during the holiday seasons because she also really loved the holidays."

For the actress, while spending time with family is essential during the holidays, she also recently started a new practice of incorporating a holiday toast as a pre-celebration of the joyous times ahead. 

Image: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com.

“I've been able to add to our longstanding tradition of simply gathering by starting holiday events with a toast in celebration of the time that we'll share. I love to do this over a glass of wine, and I am particularly fond of SIMI wine, not only for their quality chardonnay and cabernet but also the brand's story, which always just sticks out to me. Isabelle Simi was only 18 when she took over her family's Sonoma County winery, and she successfully grew this business through prohibition.” 

When it comes to her must-have dishes, King’s favorite to savor during the holiday is a family recipe created by her grandmother.

“Our family's go-to staple is my nana's famous rack of lamb with lingonberry sauce and brussels sprouts. Everyone loves this dish; I think it just pairs so well with wine—especially SIMI's Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay," shares King. "My husband loves this recipe, so I typically let him take over making the lamb, and I act as his sous chef, managing the sides while keeping at least one hand free for sipping—which is my favorite activity. A true boss knows how to delegate because relaxing and enjoying a nice glass of wine is also an important part of the celebratory holiday process.”