Thank you to everyone who made yesterday such a lavish, welcoming, and loving space. I began my day at 7 AM and didn’t finish until well into the wee hours, and in between my phone didn’t send me notifications of non-approved comments. Despite the glitches and some panicking by newbies, I believe we’ve gotten everyone’s comments approved.
Please continue to ask questions in the comments if anything is not clear. Do also continue responding to other people’s comments. I love reading the dialogue and watching the community build each year, and already this year is no exception.Today’s post comes from Cat at Giggles, Grins, and Reflections. Cat is well-known in our blogging community for her sharp tongue and soft heart. She loves to sass, likes to play tough, and tries to hide her tenderness.
You may or may not know that Cindy, Gemma’s best friend in Gemstone, is named after Cat. While of course Cindy in the book is my own creation and not a representation of Cat, the character does have Cat’s loving heart and fierce protectiveness of her chosen family.Cat also loves to cook, which is why I asked her to share some of her cooking traditions with you. Cat has not had an easy life, but she works hard to care for and about the people she loves. For those she loves, it is a special gift.
We’ll be asking for favorite recipes a little later, but for today let’s pull up a chair and listen to Cat’s story of Christmas at her house. What’s it like? Let’s hear from Cat.
Christmas at My House
Christmas has always been a special holiday for me and so I tried to make it a very magical time for my boys no matter what was happening in our lives. One thing I was adamant about was that my children would spend Christmas day in their own home enjoying their gifts…Christmas eve, day after, etc. were open but Christmas day as off limits.
My ex’s family had a tradition that all the men went hunting on holidays and they were used to not serving dinner until the hunting crew came in and cleaned their catch, usually well after dark. This is hard on kids to wait on dinner and where is my holiday?
So I started a tradition of not cooking on Christmas. I cook the week before, some things even further out if they freeze well. On Christmas day, all hot food is put out in crock pots or the oven and all cold food is put out on ice…I do not cook at all.
Everyone can eat whatever they want, whenever they get hungry. Friends and family can drop in whenever is convenient and grab a plate. As my boys got older and acquired girlfriends, this made life a lot easier for everyone to not juggle multiple dinner times. Oh and their friends always seemed to find time to come grab a plate or two. LOL Even after my divorce, my ex was, and still is, welcome to come for Christmas so the children don’t have to divide their time.
When the boys were younger, I was fortunately enough to be a stay at home mom and so was able to invest a lot of time in Christmas preparations.
Here is a typical menu back then:
Divinity, walnut clusters, peanut clusters, chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, mini popcorn balls, mini cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies, monster cookies, and Christmas sugar cookies.
Tidbit and cold table:
Potato salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs, fruit and dip, homemade salami, homemade bread, Boursin cheese dip, clam dip, pumpkin dip, multiple types of cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, shrimp cocktail, chips and guacamole, homemade salsa, chex mix.
Ham, sweet potato dip, homemade macaroni and cheese, Queso dip (more like nachos in a dip), meatballs and little smokies in barbeque sauce, baked beans, corn pudding, green bean casserole.
Homemade egg nog
Hot Spiced cider
Needless to say, the menu has been trimmed down quite a bit, both in what I make and the quantity of each dish. But I still have open house for all friends and family that want to drop by.
One thing really bothered me, and still does, is that Christmas has become so commercial. I never wanted my children to forget why we celebrated and in whose honor it was. So one tradition I started when they were very young was a special Birthday cake that was served on Christmas morning along with hot spiced cider. If they woke before we did (and they always did, LOL) they were allowed to open their stockings and nothing else. Once we were all up, we sang happy birthday to the baby Jesus, cut the cake and had cake and cider while we opened our gifts. The cake is more like a very moist”coffee cake” with nuts and spices and my gang all love it.
Even though my oldest is giving me fits with his current ‘beliefs’, he still had me send him the cake and spiced cider recipes so he can continue the tradition of eating cake and drinking cider while opening gifts, with his wife and daughters.
Life goes on and now my children will take the tradition of their childhood and incorporate the parts they want into their own family tradition…which is as it should be.
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