05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

Yep, it's that time of year again! When homes are decorated with twinkling lights and blow-up Santa's. When the kitchen smells wonderfully sweet from all the baking. When friends and family gather for the annual Christmas Party and White Elephant exchange. and you end up with a badly sculpted ashtray that looks like someone ran over with their car. When you have to walk a mile to the mall because the parking lot is so dang crowded. When you can't turn a radio station on without hearing non-stop Christmas carols!

Okay...I'm starting to sound a bit like a Scrooge aren't I? I'm really not, but have noticed that, as I get older, I’m not nearly as excited about the Christmas season as I was when my children were younger. Their excitement at waking to find a living room full of presents was so much fun to see. They still have that light of anticipation in their eyes, but being young adults, it just isn’t the same.  

I know as the day gets closer and the house is decorated (we tend to be one of the last on the block to decorate) and my husband and I have bought the gifts (again....we're doing that at the last minute) and my daughter comes home, I'll get more into the spirit of things. 

One of the things I do love about the holidays is the traditions we’ve developed over the years. When I was growing  up, we didn’t really have any traditions…mainly because we weren’t quite sure if there would be money for food, much less Christmas presents.  After I got married and started having a family of my own, I tried to make up little fun things to do that my children could carry into adulthood when they have their own families.  For instance, when they were smaller we would go out to dinner on Christmas Eve then come home and play some board games. Afterward, they were allowed to open the gifts they got from grandparents or aunts and uncles.  Once they went to bed, my husband and I would  pour ourselves a glass of wine and finish wrapping the “Santa gifts---which were hidden in the attic---and put together whatever needed to be put together. Before dropping into bed we’d eat whatever treat the kids left out for Santa and leave a thank you note.  Now that the children are older, we’ve had to modify the dinner out into a small family party with trays of food  and over the years I’ve added making Tamales to the list….a very hard thing to perfect when you’re not used to it. The remainder of the night we watch a Christmas type movie before playing a game or two and opening a gift. 
Another tradition we always do is Bake!  My daughter Manda loves to bake….so much so that she burned out the motor in the stand-up mixer.  Usually starting the second week of December we start baking our traditional ‘treats’ like fudge, brownies or M&M cookies.  But the one treat that is a Must-Have every year is my ‘famous’ Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies (okay, famous in my house).  They’re so very addicting, and hard to perfect.  We usually make a lot of them and give them away---otherwise I’ll be tempted to eat them all!!  On Christmas day after everyone opens their gifts, my husband and I make a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, French toast or pancakes depending on what we decide and then I start a turkey and ham for dinner. And, dessert  is usually what we’ve been baking throughout the week as well as my beloved Aunt Alice’s Punchbowl cake.  I posted the recipe here last year.

Man, I’m making myself hungry now. 

What are your traditions during the holidays?  Do you have a "must" food or dessert you like to serve?



Sarah Raplee said...

One of or traditions is to drive around and look at all the holiday light displays. Each is a little work of art.

Judith Ashley said...

As I've grown older, traditions have disappeared. I used to take my son and then my granddaughters out to drive around neighborhoods to see the lights. With my granddaughters, we did it on The Solstice and talked about what life would be like without the amenities and knowledge we have today to tend to our lives in the darkness.

Used to have trees and then a gathering of small trees (glass, wood, ceramic, etc.). This year I don't know that I'll unpack everything.

My first Christmas in 20 years with no one living here and my parents gone.

I'm going to a fantastic Solstice party Saturday; spending Sunday celebrating Solstice with my best friend and Monday hosting a gathering for the Dark Moon.

My gift to my After Hours team members is working the 24 hours Christmas Day shift so they can celebrate Christmas.