I cannot believe that we are at the end of the year. Didn’t we just have a New Year’s celebration? Time goes by so fast, and I am sure (like all of you who work), it just seems to get busier. I need to remember to slow down, take it in and appreciate each day. I want to remember to focus on being present and appreciate everyone and everything around me. So with that, I would like to share some favorite holiday traditions and a few recipes that bring me joy every holiday season.
One of the memories that comes to mind is a family Christmas Eve party that my parents used to host every year when I was young. My parents were involved with many different organizations, and they were one of those couples that knew someone everywhere we went. I would always get the standard “Oh my goodness, this is Danna? I remember you when you were just a baby!”
Anyway, every Christmas Eve until I was about 30, my parents would host a party for our immediate and extended family. My mother was the eldest of seven and my dad is the eldest of three. Each aunt or uncle had at least two to three children. All of my cousins would attend the parties as well, including second cousins. Feeding that many people is a challenge, so everyone would bring their favorite dish or dessert. You name it, it was on the very long makeshift dining table for everyone to pick and choose their favorites and go back for seconds, thirds and even a “walk by” to make sure they didn’t miss anything. There were so many delicious cookies, cakes, pies, tarts, homemade candies, and treats. It was great! Sitting, standing, no one cared. We just enjoyed the delicious food and fabulous company of family. We would eat too much and then play games. When we exhausted the games, we would take all of the furniture in the living room, push it to the sides of the room and turn up the music to dance the night away.
As my cousins and I grew older, we would take the younger cousins around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights. My parents loved having people around and I cannot tell you how many times in my youth I saw the clock strike 3 am. They knew so many people and kept in touch with so many high school friends. They always loved getting together with everyone and having a good time. I think about those times and love that we were able to be together. The gatherings are much smaller now, and I really try not to see 3 am on the clock, but I still love to cherish those memories and tell my girls what a wonderful time we had. They reply, “Wow! Grandma and Grandpa knew how to party!” Yes, they did.
Recipes for Holiday Traditions
Pictured above, I have a holiday recipe that I came across several months ago that I just love because 1) it has some healthier ingredients and 2) it is very simple. Trust me, I like simple. If you like dates (the fruit) and SNICKERS® bars, this could be one for you! You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Medjool dates – seedless
- Peanut butter
- Milk chocolate for melting (I used Nestle.)
- A little sea salt or chopped peanuts
Melt your chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, whichever you prefer.
Take a date and open it, trying to keep it in one piece.
Then take about a teaspoon of peanut butter and spread it inside the date.
Close the date like a sandwich.
Dip the date in the melted chocolate and set on a tray or in a container lined with parchment paper.
While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle the chopped peanuts or a little sea salt on top.
Then place the tray in the freezer until the chocolate sets.
Then enjoy! It tastes pretty close to a SNICKERS bar and is very tasty!
Another recipe I love is baked brie. There are so many different concoctions you can make with brie but one of my favorites is just taking a wheel of brie and topping it with preserves. (Cherry and blackberry are my favorite.) I place it in a shallow baking dish and then bake it at 375℉ until the preserves and cheese are bubbly. I then serve it with crackers. Delicious!
This holiday season, remember to take the time to appreciate family and friends. Hold those memories close to your heart. Time goes by so fast. It never hurts to slow down every once in a while, and just soak it all in.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
PS – If you enjoyed this post, you may also like “Danna’s Holiday Decorations and Traditions.“