Monday, December 6, 2010

Snacember 6

Snack #6:  Tradition

The season is all about tradition.  Traditional foods, traditional events, annual showings of specials and movies on television, we are surrounded by all sorts of traditions.

Which doesn't mean there isn't room for more.

I love creating new traditions with friends and family.  This will be the third consecutive year I will be celebrating Christmas day with my brother from another mother Officer K and his family.  I love that they have included me, and now Charming Suitor, in their family traditions.

It will be the fifth year my gang of pals will spend New Year's Day together, this year in town instead of the country, but still together and celebrating.

Whether it is a martini party with my girlfriends pre-holidays, latkes with the family for Hanukah, or a quiet bottle of champagne, just me and Charming Suitor, to celebrate the season, I highly recommend increasing your traditions where and when you can.

Some ideas:

Cookie swap party.  Everyone makes 2-4 dozen cookies.  Everyone leaves with 2-4 dozen cookies.  But they leave with a mixed batch, samples of everyone else's goodies, and a stack of cookie recipes to boot.  Helps everyone get through holiday buffets without having to make 8 different types of cookies.  Genius.

Book Fair.  Have everyone bring 5-10 books they enjoyed but don't want to keep, and everyone can pick up a stack of new books without hitting the library or bookstore.  Also works with CDs, board games, kitchen gadgets...

Soup party.  Everyone makes a batch of their signature soup, the host provides bread and bowls, and be sure to have lots of tubs for people to take the leftovers!  Recipes to share always appreciated at this one too....especially good for dead of winter.

Fakesgiving.  (or Fauxnakah, or Falsemas)  Essentially the traditional holiday meal, done at a very non-holiday time, and often with family who couldn't be there for the real holiday, or friends who might not have had a great time at their own celebrations.  I love these in late January thru February on a random Saturday, when everyone can gather and watch movies in sweatpants all day and eat all the best holiday foods. 

I throw it out to the class...who has some new tradition ideas to share?  Best one gets a snazzy new William Bounds peppermill with gourmet peppercorns.  Its a snack, so contest ends Dec. 7 at 11:59 pm!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. One of our family traditions is to keep Christmas Eve casual. No stuffy clothes (some of us wear SWEATS!), and we do heavy apps instead of a meal. We have some old go-to recipes that must be made - bite-size Michigan Pasties, Currant Jelly Sausages, and Italian Meat balls.

    Then, my sister and I work to add new recipes to the mix. This year I'm making Stacey's bite sized Caprese Salads, and my sister just found a recipe in Southern Living for a bite sized Caesar Salad. We may also break out the deep fryer, but that is yet to be determined.

  2. I have two traditions in my family. The first is on Christmas day. My mom and I open presents at a leisurely pace and have our morning coffee. When I was younger, I used to be up at 4 in the morning but now that I'm 21, I enjoy sleeping in and taking our time. The rest of the day we watch movies and just relax. It's so nice to not have to worry about getting dressed up to go somewhere.
    My other tradition is on Christmas Eve. My mom and stepmom get along amazingly well. Every Christmas Eve for the past four years we have gone to Christmas Eve dinner at Olive Garden. Then we drive around and look at lights. It is so important to us that we get that quality time together instead of trying to squeeze a word in surrounded by a bunch of family members. We have our girl's celebration and thoroughly enjoy our tradition. My stepmom just moved to New Mexico so I guess we'll have to figure out some new traditions! Maybe a Falsemas meal in June, when she comes back for my graduation :)

  3. I know it sounds corny, but I've asked my boyfriend to make a Christmas ornament with me. That way, we have one for every year we are together. (This is very similar to the fact that my grandmother has given me an ornament every year since I was born. It really helps with my goal of having the tackiest Christmas tree ever.)

  4. My husband and I have volunteered at the Ignite the Spirit toy drive every holiday season that we've been together. This year, we can't make the toy drive due to scheduling conflicts but are currently looking for another way to volunteer. We've made it a tradition to set aside some time during the busy holiday hustle and bustle to help those less fortunate.

    Our 2nd tradition has been to pick out a "special ornament" for our tree each year. We have to pick the ornament together and it must have the year marked on it. Last year's ornament was a beautiful silver heart marked with the words "Today, Tomorrow, Always 2009". Early last Decemeber, I came home to find a gorgeous sapphire engagement ring hanging on the ornament. We're now married and working on the "ALWAYS" :-)

  5. My Sister started about 7 years ago to host a Gingerbread House afternoon/evening...every year the family gets togther and builds gingerbread houses, it is so much fun for the adults & kids everyone get to build a house of their own are as a team. We all bring different things and just pile everything up on a table and everyone just digs in. It is a afternoon full of family fun for EVERYONE and you get to have a gingerbread house to take home for the season. This is a favorite for all the guys in the husband is already thinking about our house this year... :)

    I have got my kids (they are now 20 & 23) a ornaments every year. I wanted them to have ornaments that would remind them of their childhood when they left home. And even now they always look forward to what kind of ornament they are getting. I always try to find something that symbolizes something from their year.

  6. We used to have crafting family time, where we all do crafts together. It wasn't specific to holidays, though. I remember during the onset of the blizzard of '78, my sisters and I worked a latch hook rug through the 1, then 2, and finally 4 hour school delay till they canceled school because visibility was still zero, and it was dark at noon. Throughout the day, we latch-hooked away as businesses canceled work, and even International Harvester closed down second shift. My aunt was taken to the hospital by snowmobile to have my baby cousin. We finished the rug and moved onto other crafts. We painted ceramic ornaments (greenware), crocheted, etc. My late mother thought if our hands were busy with crafts we couldn't get in too much trouble. We also did beaded ornaments, Santa dolls, etc.

  7. My husband and I have been through 4 boys who are now 21, 20, 19, & 18... Generally we have work on Christmas Eve, but we tend to get off work early whereas the boys are working (retail) or have girlfriends. Three years ago we found ourselves in our kitchen, sans boys, with several hours to kill before we all got together before "Christmas Eve Champagne & Dinner" and decided to got to the local Cinema 'INFINITY' and see whatever movie started closest to when we got there. Done it every since -- two years we found ourselves alone in a theater mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve and one year there was one other couple. SUPER FUN! The popcorn counter people come in and ask us if we want refills... we see silly movies we'd otherwise not see... And it is really special to just us. Highly Recommended!

  8. On Christmas Eve my parents, sister and I would always go to a Chinese buffet for dinner and then to a movie (usually the big holiday movie). We would then drive around and look at all the Christmas lights. And the tradition continued even when my dad was out to sea.
    Last Christmas I was down in Orlando doing the college program and I kept the tradition alive in improvise. I went and got some Chinese food, watched a movie at home and walked around the complex to see what decorations were up.
    Now I am going to try and find some new traditions for my bf and myself. :o)

  9. My co-worker and her friends have an annual "Thanks-mas" where they have the traditional meal. To make things more festive they have a contest for something crazy--this year was ugliest holiday sweater. The winner gets a tacky ceramic pig as a travelling trophy.

  10. Great ideas. I especially like the soup party and the book fair. I did something similar with clothes, cd's and books (the latter is quite funny).
    My kids are now 5 and 3 and it would be good to start a new family tradition. Children seem to like things like that very much. This post will inspire me in that sense!

  11. Our new tradition, attempted for the first time this year, is to do Christmas a day early. This is because my kids are grown and married/engaged and we have to share them with the "other side." I'm not happy about that but trying not to bah humbug about it. So we will do Eve things on the 23rd and Day things on the 24th. One thing my daughter insists on is spending the Eve in her old bedroom (with husband and baby) and waking up her little brother, now 25, by jumping on his bed as usual, despite the fact that he no longer sleeps alone. Everybody has been forwarned so that they are appropriately dressed.

  12. I (well, my family and I) have a few traditions. First, my cousin hosts a Christmas Eve party every year, with lots of great food and festivities. My aunt will make toffee candy, there's shrimp cocktail, chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, etc etc.

    At night, my sister and I will stay at my mother's house (my sister's husband now joins us). My sister and I will put together our mother's stocking, and finish wrapping any last minute things. After everything is done, we'll put all the gifts under the tree, and we each choose a gift to open. Just one, to tide us over :)

    Christmas Day is spent at my aunt's house with the rest of the family. My aunt makes dinner and we all have a Yankee Swap.

    A new tradition I started myself is going to visit my grandmother's grave early on Christmas morning, to bring a small Christmas decoration and to say Merry Christmas. My whole family has always been very close, and I think it's appropriate that I go there to say hello. She passed away in the spring of 2009 and we all miss her, and it makes me feel like she is still included in our Christmas traditions by doing that. Cheesy, maybe, but I did it last year and I plan on doing it every year.

  13. I read the first comment and wish my family would do apps for the holidays. I've always been an apps/sides/bread girl and could do without the main course. Maybe this will be my new tradition. . . have a very casual get together and only serve apps.