As I write this, I’m sitting here munching a handful of yummy Cheesie Krispies, my beloved Aunt Lala’s contribution to our family Christmases during my growing-up years. When Aunt Lala passed away a decade ago, it became my contribution, not only because I adore the crunchy, cheddar-y little darlings, but because I felt it important to continue family tradition.
(And before you even ask, I’ll answer your question: Yes, the recipe is in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook on page 52; every time I mention food, folks start asking, “Is it in your Cookbook?” so I’ll save you the trouble.
We have a lot of family Christmas traditions, some good, some not-so-good, and I’ll bet you do too.
As I ponder our little traditions as well as the big ‘uns, here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Our Christmas Family Memory book. A homespun collection of our annual family newsletters and synopses of the highlights of that year (mostly so when we forget what happened when – which happens a LOT these days – we have a record we can easily access; can’t tell you how often we’ve referred to this little book to find out when we moved into this house, or how old the dog is, or which year I accidentally turned my hair orange).
- Christmas dinner with the extended family. Although it’s officially potluck, everybody brings the same delicious dishes every year (hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? What we lack in creativity we make up for with enthusiasm): roast turkey, ham,
squash casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole (so we LIKE casseroles!), pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, chocolate pie (a big slice of pie, anyone?), and a birthday cake for Jesus (I pluck the tiny Messiah in a Manger right from the manger scene and plunk him on top of the cake, surrounded by birthday candles; we sing “Happy Birthday dear Jesus” and then the kiddos blow out the candles).
- A birthday gift for Jesus. Before we open our own presents, we give Baby Jesus a present. Everyone takes a little slip of paper and writes what they will give to Jesus this year – anything goes: stubborn pride, ugly prejudice, a plan to extend more grace to others, your talent for yodeling … whatever is in your heart to surrender to him. Adults help the littles write theirs (usually something like “be nicer to my sister”). Then we place all the papers in a box wrapped with a bow (photo at top) and place it in the manger scene right alongside the wise men’s gifts. To us, ours are just as valuable as gold, frankincense and myrrh.
- Overspending. Yep, I already know I’ve done it yet again this year. Despite good intentions and a preset budget, I either forget what I’ve already bought (I’m notorious for that), or I see something I just KNOW my sister will love and I simply can’t resist it. Even if it costs well over the price parameters we’ve already agreed upon. Sigh. Self-control is definitely the prune in my fruit basket of the spirit. Which goes hand-in-glove with the next one …
- Overeating. Yikes. I spent four miserable months of my life earlier this year losing 25 pounds and just since Thanksgiving I’m up 3 pounds from my target weight. I know, I know – I can hear you muttering, “Three pounds isn’t so bad,” but we both know three turns into four and four turns into ten before you can blink. Especially this time of year when temptations from the Fire & Brimstone Bakery come straight from the chuckling Devil himself. I would like to wear my fave jeans in January without shooting the button across the room like a cannonball with every breath.
- Wrecking my knee. Last year at this time I was gimping around with a torn right knee meniscus, painfully waiting until after the holidays for surgery. This year I’m gimping around with a torn left knee meniscus, painfully waiting until after the holidays for surgery (my surgeon scheduled it for New Year’s Eve – are you KIDDING me???). I really, really hope this does not become a lasting tradition. I’m running out of meniscuses (menisci?).
So what are some of your Christmas traditions, dear BBFF? I’d love to hear both good and bad.
*Be sure to get in on my Enjoy the Joy December Giveaway (win this adorable “Blessed” cap and more!); just click on “Freebies” at my website DeboraCoty.com and look for the giveaway details. The drawing is on Dec. 18 so don’t tarry!