Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie may have children of their own – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t miss spending time with their own mothers, particularly around the holidays.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, Hoda, 56, and Savannah, 48, both admitted that they are devastated about being without their loved ones this festive season – but revealed that they have plenty of special plans in place in order to ensure that their smaller celebrations are just as memorable.
Festive plans: Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie have shared their upset at being without their moms this Christmas, while opening up about their favorite festive traditions
Bittersweet: Hoda, 56, usually celebrates the holidays with her mom Sameha (left) and her sister Hala (center), however it is likely that this year, it will just be her, her kids, and her fiance
Small and special: Similarly, Savannah, 48, revealed that her mom Nancy will not be making the trip to celebrate with her, her husband Mike Feldman, and their kids
‘I know I’m not going to get to see my mom this year for Christmas,’ Savannah explained.
‘We made that decision and that really broke my heart because I don’t know if there’s ever been a Christmas I haven’t been with my mom over all my years.’
Hoda’s mother Sameha has always traditionally traveled to spend the holidays with the Today anchor, her fiance Joel Schiffman, and their daughters Haley Joy and Hope Catherine – however it is likely that she will not feel safe enough to travel this year, Hoda revealed.
Similarly, the TV host’s sister, Hala, who usually flies in from Dubai, is also unable to make the trip – marking the temporary end of a Christmas tradition that the family has cherished for years.
‘We always have the same kind of Christmas at our house,’ the mom-of-two said. ‘It’s always well, since the kids came, Joel, the kids and my mom.
‘And then every year my sister “surprises” us [when] she comes in every Christmas. And my mom each year is as astonished as she was in the previous year. So I go, “I think someone’s at the door!” and my sister is always there with presents and all of her luggage and all that stuff.
‘And this year is kind of a bummer. Well, it is a bummer because I know she can’t fly this year. She lives in Dubai and she’s she can’t fly here. So I know that that’s not going to be happening. And we haven’t made the final decision [about my mom].
‘But I don’t know that [she] wants to make the trip either. She wants to wait until the vaccine and all that stuff. So it’s going to be smaller.’
Despite their heartache at not being able to see their own mothers, both anchors were in agreement that they would rather spend this holiday without their loved ones, in order to ensure that they will be here to celebrate many Christmases in the future.
Memories: ‘This year is kind of a bummer. Well, it is a bummer,’ Hoda, pictured with her mom, sister, and fiance Joel Schiffman, admitted
Looking ahead: The Today star shared that, despite her upset at not seeing loved ones, she wants them all to stay safe – and she’s planning to re-do Christmas in a few months
Tradition: Savannah, pictured with her mom Nancy and her kids, said that she ‘doesn’t know if there’s ever been a Christmas I haven’t been with my mom over all my years’
Future: The mom-of-two said her mom urged her to look ahead to all the Christmases in the future, saying, ‘She’s the one she’s so strong and courageous’
In fact, Hoda and Savannah both have plans to re-do the festive season in mid-2021, when the vaccine has been released to the public, and people are able to travel again more safely.
‘I want [my mom] to be here next Christmas and the Christmas after that and the Christmas after that,’ Savannah said of her mom Nancy – who offered her some very sage advice about how they will get through the holidays.
‘She’s the one she’s so strong and courageous. She just said, “You know, honey, let’s just wait. We’re so close here. We’ve made it this far and I’m fine.”
‘And you know what I mean. You get vaccinated. It’s going to be Christmas. And after, [we’ll have] Christmas in July. We’re going to do a celebration and we’re going to be together. So we have to wait a little while longer. But I think all of us will do our best to connect in the ways that we can.’
Hoda agreed, saying: ‘We’re going to be doing a lot of Zooming and there’s going to be a lot of missing and longing. But I keep saying, let’s just get 2020 over and let’s let’s have our celebrations in the next year.’
While they may be without their wider families this year however, the two moms are both looking forward to celebrating the festive season with beloved traditions that they have started with their children.
One particularly meaningful tradition that Hoda started just a few years ago is writing letters to her two daughters, Haley Joy, who will turn four in February, and Hope Catherine, who will turn two in the spring.
The Today host explained that, as an older parent, she knows how important it is for her children to have memories that they can treasure long into the future – and she hopes that her letters will give her little girls something so treasure for many years to come.
‘The one thing I have started is writing a letter to each of them at [an important] stage in their life,’ she said.
Traditions: Hoda revealed that she recently started writing letters to her daughters Haley Joy and Hope Catherine, which they can read in the future and remember their younger years
Family first: Savannah’s most beloved festive traditions include wearing matching pajamas as a family, and reading the Christmas story from the Bible to daughter Vale and son Charley
‘I put it away in an envelope for both Haley and Hope. And I want them when they get older to just to open up the letters. I don’t even remember what I wrote; I’ll be as curious as they will be when they read them.
‘But just to have something, because I think, again, as an older parent, you know, time matters. You know, you want to have all the time you can with your kids.’
Savannah explained that she grew up in a house ‘where Christmas was the holiday’, and revealed that she has done everything she can to ensure that her daughter Vale, six, and son Charley, four, experience that same ‘magic’ that she did as a child.
‘I’m trying to carry on one of my favorite traditions that I actually probably didn’t appreciate when I was really little,’ she revealed.
‘But I do now is my father on Christmas Eve would always pull out the Bible and read the Christmas story, the story of Jesus birth. And I really loved that.’
The festive holiday holds a particularly special place in Savannah’s heart, because her late father Charles was born on Christmas Day, and he always tried to make it as special as possible for his children.
‘My father was born on Christmas, so I very much connect to him [on the day],’ she said. ‘And he said he would just be so excited to try to make it special for us. So I think for me, Christmas connects all the past to the future.
‘[I wanted] to come up with new traditions [for my kids], but also to remember the ones I have taken with me… the tree and decorating it, and having my children dancing around. And, you know, we’ve been doing that. And then we have some new traditions like Christmas jammies that match.’