It’s All Good …


Christmas and snow

I know there are people who live for Christmas. Folks who cannot wait to decorate and shop, bake and celebrate. I know that for many, December is the icing on the cake, the star in the sky, the best thing since sliced bread.

I am not one of these people.

Do I love to sit down to a good meal? Absolutely. Do I enjoy time with friends and family, days off just playing with the kids, how the whole world counters the darkness of winter with colorful, twinkling lights? Of course!

But bringing all of that into being, stepping up as the author of the magic, that just makes me tired. Every year, I feel a little defeated before I even get started.

So it’s hard for me to encourage you to add one more thing to your already floor-length list. Bake these cookies! Seek out this farmers market! There are so many voices shouting already. And maybe even more than Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, these most cherished of holidays, are times of tradition.

classic lemon bars

During December, the treats we turn out, the edible gifts we give, the favorite meals we make, often they carry decades or generations of memories with them. Remember the time we made this cake with Grandma? Remember how Aunt Suzy always brought this dish to the potluck dinner?

So here’s the one thought I’m serving up this season: Embrace your traditions. Enjoy whatever it is you do this time of year. Don’t be lured into the trap of upping the ante another notch. Your gingerbread is perfect. No need to seek an even better recipe. Your time-tested tomato soup is delicious. Don’t feel you should search for something else.

It’s all good. You got this. Embrace joy. You be you.

Just now, let’s find the beauty in celebrating who we are. We can wait till January to become our better selves. 😉

I will share a few of my family’s favorite things. No pressure. I’d love to hear some of your tried-and-true traditions, too.

ginger crinkle cookies

To give away ….

We bake my kicked-up version of Chex Mix or these yummy Pesto Cheese Straws for hostess gifts, small thinking-of-yous or to take to potlucks.

We stir up Ginger Crinkles and Crispy Peanut Butter Cookies and Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies to arrange on trays or pack into gift boxes.

green bean casserole

At our dinner table …

We celebrate one night of Hanukkah to remember the stories of the Jewish people who laid the foundation for my family’s Catholic faith. So before we play driedel by the fire, we’ll eat latkes and applesauce. Or maybe this year we’ll shake it up and have Zucchini Feta Pancakes, as I still have frozen shredded zucchini from the summer garden.

On Christmas morning, we eat fresh oranges, Applegate bacon and homemade cinnamon rolls.

For Christmas dinner, I’ll be pulling out an oldie but goodie, Chicken Piccata, served on a bed of Parmesan noodles. Also on the plate, we’ll have spinach salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, pomegranates and pineapple, and that famous green bean casserole, my updated version is even better than the original. And — since I’m still buying local apples by the box, I’m trying to track down a lovely apple cake recipe I once had. If I ever get my hands on it, I’ll be sure to pass that recipe along as well.

How will you celebrate this year’s holidays?