For Christmas Day, we always celebrate at my parents’ house. Our tradition is we convene there in the morning, have Dunkin’ Donuts (I have NO idea how that tradition started, but we’ve been doing it for a good ten years), open presents, and then have our “big meal.” Happy organized chaos in the best possible sense. I beg for two “traditional” pictures every year … one of the kids at the glass door, waiting to be let in to the living room to open their presents, and one in front of the Christmas tree before they start opening all their goodies.
That moment when you realize it’s Friday and you haven’t blogged all week.
I am running all over the place over the past few months, and the hours just seem to slip away from me.
But I offer you cookies.
Because whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or making it through the week, there can never be enough cookies.
I’ve made three different batches so far this week, and have several planned for this weekend. I can’t decide if we’ll be putting together cookie trays or baskets for friends and neighbors, or just winging it. I’m leaning towards the latter, but we’ll see how the weekend goes.
And since my mindset is currently “all the cookies, all the time,” I thought I’d share a few of our favorites.
These Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are super simple to make, and there is no denying that mint flavor. Delish.
Similar to a cookie I loved as a kid, these No Bake Cookies are kid-approved by BOTH of my kids (which is a tough feat), and one of our favorites. Quick to make, and they hit our cookie jar probably at least twice a month.
Cinnamon-Nut Spice Cookies are MY favorite cookie, and neither of my kids like them. So, more for me, of course.
We went through countless recipes to find the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe, per our own criteria, and this is the one. The secret is the pudding mix.
As much as I occasionally throw tradition out the window (as I mentioned a few weeks ago), there are some traditions that I hold tightly to.
… Our annual Rainbow Cake Party to celebrate the end of the school year
… Costco’s pumpkin pie during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving
… and eggnog during the month of December
To name just a few.
Eggnog, or as the folks at International Delight refer to it, Nog is a must.
Perhaps a dash of cinnamon on the top.
Not every day.
But just enough to throw that “this is it, the holidays are here,” just like that first snow fall and crack of a roaring fire.
It just all goes together.
And, of course, once we kick off the holiday season, the rest of our favorite traditions start flying fast and furious.
A visit to Santa (the same one for the past twelve years).
Our food-and-drink themed-Christmas tree going up in the kitchen (a peek at last year’s version).
A quick photo shoot to capture the perfect picture for our Christmas cards.
The holiday parade downtown.
A trip to see the gingerbread creations at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.
And, of course, the mad dash to get all of our holiday shopping done before the big day. …
Still working on planning your Thanksgiving menu? I’ve got a few ideas for you, some old and some new, to make it as delicious and stress-free as possible.
When it comes to holidays and traditions, I tend to straddle the fence between strictly keeping with tradition, and throwing tradition out the window.
Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to not just keep with tradition just for tradition’s sake.
“Just because we’ve always done it that way” is no longer enough.
It has to be more like “we’ve always done it that way and everyone loves it.”
Otherwise, what’s the point, right?
Although we haven’t hosted Thanksgiving the past few years, I found I missed that part of it, so a few years ago I started doing a separate Friendsgiving.
Which kind of allows me the best of both worlds.
The pressure of the “big day” is off, as my sister has the reins on that, but I still can still revisit some old favorites and discover new ones with our Friendsgiving feast.
It’s like double-dipping on Thanksgiving.
Now onto food…
Let’s start with something new.
A few weeks ago, the folks at Echelon foods reached out to me to tell me about their Bacon-Wrapped, Sausage-Stuffed Turducken.
Quite honestly, they had me at bacon.
And then coupled with the fact that I’ve never had turducken before.
YOLO and all that.
And an impromptu pre-Thanksgiving feast with neighbors was suddenly planned.
If you are not looking forward to wrestling with a turkey this year…
Or calculating what time you’ll need to get up Thanksgiving morning to properly cook it…
Or want to free up your oven…
You might want to seek out this Turducken.
Originally I was daunted by the mere mention of it, thinking it was going to be all sorts of complicated.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Basically, unwrap and bake. …
I can quickly rattle off tons of places that are within ten miles or so of our house.
Places that we should have visited.
But haven’t yet.
We’re always so quick to head to farther destinations, instead of exploring our own local areas. I’m just as guilty as the next person, taking our locale for granted.
I’m a work in progress.
Because in the 30+ years I’ve lived in the same county, I’ve never, ever been to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. And…
It sounded like the perfect thing to do with the kids to celebrate the season.