Keeping Santa in check! While Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie are gearing up to host NBC’s 90th Christmas in Rockefeller Center on November 30, the Today hosts are also busy teaching their children about the holiday season at home.
“I think we really try to focus on what the holidays are about. No. 1, of course, family, but also faith and remembering what the holiday means, what it means to us, why we celebrate and taking some quiet time,” Guthrie, 50, explained. “The holidays can be crazy, especially in our country. We can all be focused on the consumer stuff and buy, buy, buy. We really try to emphasize the songs, the togetherness, the faith.”
To help keep the focus on things other than gifts, Guthrie is continuing a long-standing family tradition with her kids — daughter Vale, 8, and son Charles, 5, whom she shares with husband Michael Feldman.
“One of the traditions that we always had in my family and I try to continue is that my father would always read the story from the Bible on Christmas Eve of Jesus’ birth. And that’s something that we are still doing in our family,” the Cooking from Scratch host told Us.
“I think it’s things like that that remind them that this isn’t just about this stuff and getting stuff. We all love that, but that’s not the reason.”
Kotb, 58, meanwhile, encourages her daughters — Haley, 5, and Hope, 3, whom she shares with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman — to give back during the holidays.
“I always say I want my kids to be happy and of service — those two things … I want my kids to realize that there is such a beautiful feeling when you hand someone something … somebody who doesn’t have something,” she shared. “I’m really proud because we had dinner last night together, we had a date and my daughter, she said, ‘Hey mom, can we pay for that table over there?’ And we looked at this table and she goes, ‘But we don’t tell ’em right?’ I go, ‘We don’t tell ’em.’ So she picked the table, she did it herself. It had nothing to do with me. So, I was thinking that I wanna start building on that more with them and that the holidays are the perfect time.”
Guthrie also has the Elf on the Shelf to thank for good behavior around the holidays.
“We do the Elf on the Shelf and it really helps keep the behavior in check during a long December month,” she said. “I always say to them, ‘I sure hope Santa didn’t hear you two fighting like that.’”
While the traditions and family are first and foremost, the hosts admit their kids do have some coveted gifts on their list for Santa this year.
Kotb told Us: “I was in FAO Schwartz yesterday with my daughter and she saw Barbies. I didn’t even think she liked Barbies. She was like, ‘I want the Dreamhouse.’ So, maybe the Barbie Dreamhouse.”
“Just get the Dreamhouse,” Guthrie chimed in. “I know my little boy wants a two-wheel scooter and his birthday’s in December too so he’s made his lists.”
Catch Kotb and Guthrie hosting the 90th Christmas in Rockefeller Center, which airs on NBC November 30 at 8 p.m. ET.