Chrissy Teigen Reflects on the Lifelong Lessons She Learned This Year

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend are ready to celebrate — and reflect. The Cravings cookbook author and Grammy award-winning singer are at that stage of parenting where the holidays are truly fun, with kids who are old enough to get what all the fuss is about, and young enough to still believe wholeheartedly in the magic. From a whirlwind trip to New York City (including a showing of Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular — before it shut down due to COVID concerns) to whipping up holiday treats at home, they’re intent on making the most of the season with daughter Luna, 5, and son Miles, 3.

It’s one reason why the couple — both pros in the kitchen, as it turns out — has partnered with Chex cereal for a 12 Days of Chexmas Holiday Countdown. It’s an opportunity for them to share “some of the things we love to do for the holidays,” Legend says. The promotion includes recipes (a spin on Chex Party Mix, of course), holiday hacks, and a chance to win the couple’s specially curated holiday gift haul.

Of course, the holidays are also a time for reflections and resolutions. For myriad reasons, 2021 has been a challenging year for pretty much everyone, and Teigen and Legend are no exception. They talked to SheKnows earlier this month over Zoom about creating holiday traditions, their biggest regifting faux pas, and the lessons they’ve learned that they’ll take into the new year.

SheKnows: Let’s talk about food and the holidays. What are your holiday plans are this year?

Chrissy Teigen: Our kids are at the perfect age to start new traditions and really get into the holidays because they’re so wide-eyed this year. They’re genuinely so excited. Like, ‘Are we going to put up Christmas lights? Are we going to do this? That…’”

John Legend: They are so aware of Christmas now. They’re really aware of the traditions that we’ve started, the foods, the gifts, Santa, the trees, the decorations. They’re really excited about that. And they also love being in cold weather, so we decided to leave L.A. for Christmas this year and be in a place where we can have possibly some snow, some cold weather, and really Christmas it up.

CT: I love the holidays. I love being able to create memories with the kids. And, you know, I think I didn’t have many traditions growing up. Like we were kind of always all over the place. There were certain fruits that we would [get] every single year, but for the most part, it’s really fun, creating our new ones together as a family, because the things that they love are just so exciting and fresh.

JL: They love cooking with us and, and making things with us, especially fun, dessert-type things. And that’s why this Chex Party Mix is so cool because they can do it with us. It’s fun and a little messy and it’s not as precious as doing, like, a soufflé or something like that. You can just have fun.

CT: John and I are the kind of parents now where we, like, insert school photos of our kids into the card and gift that [friends] get. So I’ve been baking and cooking and gifting — gifting things that are from the heart that we make together and inserting those photos and pretending everyone wants photos of our kids. We ordered hundreds of wallet-sized photos, so everyone is in luck this year. That’s what they’ll be getting: their cute little Mason jar full of Chex party mix…

JL: …and a wallet-sized school photo.

SheKnows: Do you have a favorite food holiday? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Neither?

JL: Honestly, we love both Thanksgiving and Christmas. [For] Christmas we’ve started doing a Beef Wellington…and that’s been fun. We definitely do less on Christmas than we do for Thanksgiving. We limit the number of dishes and it’s just a little more focused and I think it’s less pressure.

CT: I think Christmas is about staying in your PJs all day [and] not being able to find the batteries.

JL: It’s not as stressful when it comes to the food.

SheKnows: Answer this question. Re-gifting: Naughty or nice?

CT: Oh God.

JL: Oh, we re-gift all the time.

CT: I consider re-gifting like vintage now. Like, I have no qualms about it — just thinking about, like, the way the earth is headed…

JL: It’s conservation. It’s recycling. And plus being who we are, we just receive a lot of things; brands send us things all the time. And honestly, we can’t keep everything. We need to give it away. We give it away to friends. We also give a lot of our stuff to people in need. We give to Baby2Baby a lot. Those kinds of things where, you know, people could use the things that we don’t need and why wouldn’t we give them away? We should give them away.

CT: Remember when I re-gifted Jen?

JL: One time she re-gifted to the person that gave it to her.

CT: I got caught. She goes, ‘Oh my God, thank you.’ And of course, then she wanted to go die laughing.

JL: Yeah. Chrissy was like, ‘Jen would like this, let me give it to her.’ And of course, she would like it — because she got it for us!

SheKnows: Looking forward a little bit, the holidays are also a time for New Year’s resolutions. Can you talk about what you’ve learned over the past year that you’ll take into 2022 with you?

CT: Oh my goodness. Not just ’22. I’m mean, there’s been lifelong lessons that have happened in the past year, in the past two years. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just seeing personally how much I feel like I’ve grown — even since in the past, like 15 years, the past year alone — I mean these are truly transformative times in my life and I look around and I’m like, my God, I’m so lucky to have the friends that I have, the family that I have… nothing is taken for granted now. And, and just to be able to prove to people that, you know, you’re always on this journey to be better and to learn more about yourself and to be kinder, be more empathetic. For me, that’s been an experience that I do not take lightly, and I was very happy to do a lot of growing up this year.

JL: And I feel like life really does teach you empathy when you go through challenges, and difficult times of your life, it helps you like, not just become better and stronger, hopefully as an individual, but also to see other people’s pain and the way other people go through challenges in their own lives and truly empathize with them. And, it affects the way you just live and move in the world after that.

SheKnows: Chrissy, you mentioned not having a ton of family traditions when you were growing up and how it’s fun to create new ones. Can you talk about what some of those favorite traditions are now, that you’re creating with the kids?

CT: A lot of the traditions that we love to create revolve around them; always knowing that there are people that are less fortunate and to be able to go through their things, and to [be like], sure you like this, but do need this? This is something that would make another little girl out there, another little boy, [happy]. They really take that in. And I really love that about our kids — how warm and…

JL: …open and generous…

CT: … their hearts are so pure and so kind, and it’s not like a chore to them and they’re not brats about it. It’s just another thing to do. And it’s not like necessarily just a holiday thing. They’ve been doing it all year round.

JL: Yeah. Giving is definitely a big tradition for us. And we think this time of year is an important time to reinforce that with our kids. They’re going to receive gifts, but it’s also about them giving to other people.

SheKnows: Speaking of that, what’s on their wishlist lists this year?

CT: Dinosaurs.

JL: Miles is a dinosaur aficionado. He says he wants airplanes — he said that last year too — but then he ends up playing with his dinosaurs and his cars more than in anything.

CT: You know how there’s those memes of Ariana Grande, like holding a cell phone, her keys, and an iced coffee in, like, one hand? He’s like that with like six dinosaurs. It’s just cool to see them really get passionate about one thing. Luna, she’s such a nurturer. So she loves baby dolls and, and things she can take care of, little pets. She loves like an old dollhouse, and I love to build them for us. So it’s perfect.

JT: Chrissy has a secret love, which is building toys.

CT: Imagine how excited I was, when I learned about Legos. It was like, I should stop buying giant dollhouses and just build Legos.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Before you go, check out our favorite holiday toys:

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