Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You know it's almost Christmas when...

**It's a long and winding post, but stick with me, there's a recipe at the end!**

We're spending Christmas with my family this year. Here. At home. I love staying home for Christmas. It feels more like Christmas break when we don't have to pack, load, and travel. And in place of all that driving, there's plenty of time to bake, play, and watch Christmas movies.

The years we spend at home, mom and I plan the menu. This year Uncle Bubba had some input because he offered to help with the cooking. We're nice that way. If you'll cook it, we'll put it on the menu. Otherwise, eat what we feel like cooking. See how merry we are at Christmas?

When I was young, both sets of my grandparents lived in the same town as we did. Christmas Eve was spent with my dad's side and Christmas morning was spent with my mom's side.

I have lots of memories of watching the Channel 10 news with my cousins at Nana's house on Christmas Eve. When the Santa sighting report came on, we knew it was time to load up and head home. We always had a big meal at Nana's house. She loved to cook. Well, I don't know if she loved to cook, but she raised 4 boys and a younger brother, so she got really great at cooking.

Christmas morning was spent with Mom's family. After we found what Santa brought, we made a finger food breakfast. I think it started out with just Monkey Bread. It was quick and easy and left plenty of time to finish making Christmas lunch. Mema can't stand to keep a secret, especially at Christmas, so she and Popa would come over as early as politely possible to see all the presents we'd received.

As we got older, we kept adding finger foods to the Christmas morning menu...sausage balls, poppy seed bread, little smokies, and mini quiches. Pretty soon, Mema was coming over and we were still making or eating breakfast. Breakfast kinda' grew into it's own thang and soon it overshadowed lunch.

In the last several years, we've started having our big meal on Christmas Eve at my mom's house and having breakfast and a smaller meal or leftovers at our house Christmas Day. Mom and I love that it's really only one day of heavy cooking and then Christmas Day we can relax and enjoy each other.

A couple of weeks before Christmas break, Mary TuTu came home with an assignment. She had to make a book telling about the special days her family celebrates in December. Of course, I made Brooke do the assignment along with Mary TuTu. It's one of the perks of being a twin.

As we talked about the book and how we celebrate Christmas, the girls had trouble coming up with solid traditions we keep every year. One year we celebrate Honey's family traditions, and the next year we celebrate my family's traditions. We're consistent...every other year.

I began to wonder if this is how traditions are lost. I wondered if I'm being a terrible mom by not establishing our own family traditions at Christmas. I wondered if it was selfish of me to want to make Christmas just like I remembered it instead of trying to make memories for my kids.

I began to HATE this assignment.

We finally came up with some things we do every year no matter where we are...visit family, look at Christmas lights...

... and when I asked what foods they most like at Christmas, they said monkey bread, sausage balls, turkey, rolls, and hot chocolate. And really, what girl doesn't like a roll and some chocolate? It's appropriate any time of the year.

So, I'm on a mission. I've already started planning next December. I want to establish traditions our family, mine and Honey's, can keep each year. I want my kids to have their own memories of Christmas, not just memories of my memories or Honey's memories.

I'm pretty sure those traditions will involve seeing family and Christmas lights, and eating monkey bread and sausage balls. And rolls and chocolate.

Sausage Balls

1 lb. sausage

1 c. grated (not the tiny shred, but the larger grated) cheese

4 oz. green chili

1 1/4 c. Bisquick

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Form into balls and place in a cake pan or baking sheet with sides (to keep the grease from running). Bake 15-20 minutes or until sausage is not pink in the middle. Serve warm.


Lesley said...

I like the idea of "portable" traditions that you can do anywhere you are celebrating Christmas. One that I'm beginning to implement this year is reading "Twas the Night before Christmas" on Christmas Eve. I got this idea from my sister-in-law who has her copy where her dad wrote Dec. 24, (fill in year) for every year that she has been alive, and now she reads it to her kids. We almost always did the same thing for Christmas when I was growing up (went to my mom's mom's house), but with 4 sets of grandparents now (both mine and Chad's parents are divorced), we won't really be having a consistent Christmas place for our kids. So our Christmas traditions will look a lot like that: visit family, look at Christmas lights, and eating some of the same food every year. I also like the idea of matching Christmas PJ's, although I'm sure your oldest is getting to the age where he might balk at that idea.

I mean, if Santa knows where we are even when we visit a relative's house for Christmas, surely our family's traditions should be able to find us wherever we are too, right? :)

Shelly@Sweet Journey said...

Our traditions are every-other-year-consistent too. Except now that we have moved, that is even off, and this year is even more wierd on top of that because we won't be at a "grandparent's" house--we'll be with family, even the grands, but not at their house! How is that for needing protable traditions! I've been thinking about that too. What are things that we do that are unique to our family and a nice combination of my family, SweetHeart's family and our family? I don't know exactly what that looks like yet. But I think it is ok that family and food are part of it, even if it is what we grew up with. That makes it a tradition and hopefully my kids will come see me when they have kids! My ideal Christmas is being together. Usually I've been stressed out about getting everything prepared for traveling, gifts, parties, and whatever else comes up, that by our Christmas I'm ready for a PJ-day, monkey bread breakfast, pizza lunch, playing with the kids, watching movies, reading books--a "yes" day! Loved this post! (I always do!)