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November 29, 2008 |  Category:   life

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On one of our walks out at my mom’s, I saw these little roses still clinging on to their mostly bare bushes – the last signs of seasons passing now that winter is upon us. It looks and feels like winter already, so the equinox in a few weeks is only a formality. We head back to Brooklyn today after a few days of glorious leisure and we had all sorts of family dropping in, including cousins I haven’t seen in a while. Our full, extended family doesn’t spend the holidays together as much since all the kids are scattered around the country, but seeing the girls play with my younger cousins made me remember what holiday gatherings used to be like in the past. I just hope that in our busy schedule, we’ll be able to enjoy the weeks leading up to the holidays since that’s where the fun lies. Anyone else think that the actual day (Christmas or whichever holiday you celebrate) feels like a letdown after all those weeks of anticipation? I used to get quite melancholy when I was a kid, and in years past, Mark’s absence because of work didn’t help either. Now that we can all spend Christmas day together, I’m hoping to establish some sort of new yearly tradition with the kids -what are some of yours?

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  • selkie November 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    We have a really simple orange rolled cookie, rich and buttery, that I make dough ahead and put in fridge. It is a great recipe because you can pull off a piece, roll and cut a few, at any time. On Christmas Eve day, we always gather and roll and cookie cutter a few (or more) to decorate and leave for Santa (who always has, and still does, come while everyone is asleep). Of all our traditions, that seems to be the one most important to my now grown boys. That act of rolling, cutting, cooking and decorating a few cookies for Santa always signaled Christmas’ start.

  • Adrienne November 29, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I’m quite sure making cookies for Santa at your house will be quite the production..maybe a gingerbread house!? would love to see what you could come up with ๐Ÿ™‚

  • cyndi November 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    There’s a breakfast casserole I ate each and every Christmas morning growing up. It’s one of those you put together the night before so all you have to do is put it in the oven the morning of the festivities. We pair those with either a cinnamon roll or some yummy treat we’re sent by friends.

    Christmas morning we wake up incredibly early (my hubby & I have been known to wake up earlier than the kids!), dig into our stockings, unwrap gifts (one at a time so everyone can see what the other received), and then dig into our special breakfast. We sip on champagne with a dash of orange juice, cranberry juice or pomegranate juice while the girls sip sparkling cider. After stuffing our faces we spend the rest of the day in our jammies enjoying each other and the fun gifts we ripped into just hours earlier. It really is a perfect day!

  • paige December 4, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Until I was in college, every year on Christmas Eve we’d go eat BBQ at this joint in a neighboring town called the Smokehouse with my parents and a group of about 5 families of their friends. As we’d drive home, my dad would convince me that blinking plane lights in the sky were Rudolph’s nose and insist I go to bed immediately. Now that my grandparents and their generation are gone, and those friends of my parents don’t always come to town to visit, we now spend Christmas Eve at my painting studio celebrating “Festivus” with dips (like the Davidson’s black eyed pea dip) and pickup foods, games, champagne and a random motley crew of friends that drop by to exchange gifts and join the fun. Christmas morning is spent just with family. As a kid, I’d wake up before the sun, go inspect my booty from Santa quietly, wake up my sister to do the same, and then at 6 (the time designated by my parents as ok to wake them) we’d ring the Spode Christmas Tree bell as their alarm. Then they’d be forced to wake up, join us to open stockings and get the gift exchange started. My grandma would always show up with the worst gifts possible (like gallon jugs of generic apple juice or plastic measuring cups for my 6 year old sister) but also with her straight from the Bisquick box recipe for sausage balls. Those little things were what made my Christmas morning every year and after my grandma died, I picked up the tradition of making them. As mundane as they are, I only have them one morning a year….and they remind me of all the apple juice and plastic strainers I got as a kid from my wacky and frugal grandmother…as well as all of the sneaking around before the Spode bell rang.

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