Christmas Traditions: Old & New

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Christmas really is the most magical time of year, full of so many traditions. I’m not much of a baker, but I enjoy baking cookies during the holidays. My absolute favorite are frosted gingerbread cookies I make from a recipe I got years ago at Cafe Aroma in Fenton. The cookies were temptingly displayed on the countertop near the cash register and they looked so delicious, I had to try one. The soft cookie topped with cream cheese frosting and red and green sprinkles was instantly addictive. Making these for my family has become a tradition.

Of course, decorating the Christmas Tree is a tradition enjoyed by many families, some putting them up the day after Thanksgiving or even earlier! There is no one in my family who enjoys this tradition more than my grandson, Noah. Ever since he was a little guy, he would put on his red Santa hat and get busy decorating. He even strings lights and decorates a tree in his bedroom, too! One of our favorite things we used to do together was to go shopping the day after Christmas to buy half-off decorations for next year’s tree.

As far as the tree tradition, the big question is: Real or artificial? It has been a few years since I decorated a real tree, but I think this is the year for one. I love the pine scent that fills the house (but I don’t enjoy vacuuming up all of the fallen needles). There are many tree farms in the area and it will make a lasting memory for my youngest grandson to pick out a very special tree to decorate.

Driving around on a cold winter night to see all of the Christmas lights is another one of my favorite traditions. A few years ago, I went with some friends to Rochester to see their fabulous, bright light display, which is a well-known tradition. All of the downtown buildings are illuminated with more than one million points of glimmering lights. Closer to home, many folks enjoy the Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic show at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad – a stunning display of holiday lights and Christmas music. It is a wonderful sight to see!

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without watching some of the treasured Christmas movies while munching popcorn and sipping hot chocolate with the grandkids. I still remember a time when my grandsons were very little, watching “Polar Express,” their eyes wide with wonder. Even though they are older now, we still love watching the classic movies like “Elf,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and one of my all-time favorites, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

My favorite tradition of all is the seafood dinner I prepare on Christmas Eve: steamed shrimp, clam chowder, crab cakes, lobster bisque, mussels – the menu changes every year. This year, I am adding Maryland cream of crab soup to the feast. As with all treasured holiday traditions, the best thing about this special gathering is the warmth and giving spirit and seeing our family together – the laughter and love that we share.

 

 

Timmary / stock.adobe.com

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