Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Grand and Frenzied Traditions

If anyone is unaware that Christmas is fast approaching, she has been confined to her home with no newspaper, radio or TV access.

Or children (or grandchildren) with lists.

I am amazed by the articles written about how to take the stress out of the holidays...simplify your holiday...cut down on the hassle this year...

Why? You might as well forget all about it as leave out all the traditions that make the holiday uniquely your family's. I'm not saying you have to go crazy, but don't those people who have their shopping done by July 31 have a teeny little feeling that they are missing something? The decorations, the music, the hum of excitement in the air?

My particular frenzy is baking. In 2010 everything I made burned or was underdone. I swore never to bake again.

In 2011, I forgot my oath. Everything came out just fine. I plan to bake up a storm this year, confident that my mojo is back. I will make ginger cookies from my great-grandmother's recipe (identical to one I found that was supposedly from Thomas Jefferson's kitchen!). As I roll out the dough and cut out the stars, angels and bells, I will remember the year the three boys iced them all in blue icing. Letting them ice the cookies was part of our tradition and I usually left the room and let them have at it. It was a mess when they finished, but they did have fun--and for a change, shared an activity without arguing.

I will make sugar cookies, so thin and crisp they have to be handled very carefully. They melt in your mouth.

Then there are the pinwheels, a combination of vanilla and chocolate layers rolled together and sliced. There is nothing Christmasy about them, but they are my oldest son's favorite, so they are on the list. Also chocolate and peanut butter fudge, and peanut brittle. Pecan pie. Caramel corn. Orange Crush pound cake.

The list is small compared to what Mom used to make. Fondant, Divinity, dates stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in sugar, fudge, jellies, pecan roll, and cookies, cookies, cookies. We ate Christmas cookies until Easter.

I don't intend to simplify my holidays one whit. That said, I don't intend to forget what it is all about, either. Not family, friends, and being together, but the greatest reason to celebrate there is: the birth of our Savior.



  1. First and foremost, Christmas is about our Savior. But family is so closely tied to that. For me, its not Christmas time until Mom and I go to Metamora, IN, a little Christmas Village of shops. It has been our tradition for the last 20 years.

    1. Sounds like fun! Hope you get lots of shopping done.

  2. I so agree Sandy! I have a framed thing I put out each year that simply states "Jesus is the reason for the season" that serves to keep me grounded to what and who it's all about. But I love the hustle and bustle of this season. I'll be making cookies and whatever else interests me this year. Very nice post. :)

    1. I used to try one new recipe each year -- have to get back to that!