11 Dec 2011 16 Comments
When asked to write a blog on family traditions I sat and pondered which one to write about. Since I was small my family has always put up our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I remember those moments fondly as an adult. The rainbow glow of the lights and the way it all shone off the silver and green glass ornaments. I’d lay under the branches (it was a fake tree and not too low to the ground), slide my moms headphones on and listen to the likes of Mannheim Steamroller while I let my mind drift to snow covered streets and hot cocoa. In the end, however, I decided to go with a new holiday tradition. The one I chose started the year my husband and I moved our little family out to Colorado from Kansas. That was the first Thanksgiving my aunt, uncle, and Gran came to visit and the first year we made a mess of my kitchen in the attempt to make enough sugar cookies to feed all Santa’s elves.
Since that first year we have made a habit of making the Saturday after Thanksgiving our tree decorating-cookie baking-holiday movie watching-carol singing extravaganza. We stay in our Christmas pajamas all day and start the morning with a nice big breakfast. The table is full…bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, hash-browns. You name it, and we’re eating it. When we’re done and stuffed, we start the movies. I wish I could say we were ready to tackle the tree decorating or cookie baking but we’re all fairly tired by then and just ready to chill for a bit. At some point in the late morning we find the energy to put lights on the tree–a feat in itself–and then decorate it. There’s always movies in the back ground, lots of chatter, and it’s likely that you’ll hear someone break out their favorite holiday carol and start singing.
The day before I prepare the cookie dough, from scratch of course, so that it’s ready for uncle Steve and my middle daughter Olivia to roll out and bake. While they’re busy doing that and Gran is supervising, the rest of us finish the tree and sit around telling stories and watching more Christmas movies. By the time all the cookies are baked, so are we. Did you know you can overdose on televised holiday cheer? You can, though it’s not all bad.
I digress, AFTER the cookies are done, I make icing and we start dipping. It takes a bit but everyone gets into the act and eventually the counter is covered in white coated sugar cookies. At the end of the night we have a plethora of colorfully decorated cookies that are divided and given to friends and family both in Colorado and away. The kids have fun, the adults have fun, and the teenagers brood in the room upstairs.
Even now I laugh when I think of the clean up of both the kitchen and the kids…royal icing is a bear to get off of tile, not to mention out from under little finger nails. I think I might have just found a stray silver decorating ball as well the other day. I’m surprised the dog didn’t sniff that one out first.
All in all, I can’t imagine a better kick off to the season of lights and love. Spending time with my family is always wonderful but there is something so magical about the time we take to pull together on that special Saturday. When my aunt, uncle, and Gran leave the following day to head back home I always feel like we’ve made memories. Perhaps when my daughters are all older they’ll think fondly on these times. It might not be twinkling lights on a tree and the sounds of the seasons in their ears but I hope it’s still as magical to remember.
Why don’t you send me your favorite holiday tradition or memory for a chance to win one of two e-book copies of my book A Banshee’s Tale! Be sure to include your email, twitter, or facebook information so I can contact you if you’re a winner!
Happy Holidays to everyone!