Traditions of Joy at Christmas

By on December 2, 2011

Story & Recipes by Erica Galindo, Courtesy of Sonoma Christian Home –

“Everything changes, but the one thing that doesn’t change is the sage bread,” mused my friend Amy, referring to her grandmother’s recipe. After the kids left for college and downsizing to a new apartment that favorite and familiar sage bread provided some good old fashioned comfort. Sweet memories wrapped up in the tantalizing aroma of bread in the oven can evoke the reassuring connection to old friends and family, tried and true.

While Christ is the solid rock that protects us through the storms of life, sometimes the simplest family traditions can help us stay grounded through the hardest changes that life can bring. Whether it’s Grandma’s pecan rolls or your aunt’s potato pancakes, irresistible sensory treats and all around good fun in the kitchen create blessed times for families. And when the much in demand family favorites are passed down from generation to generation, food traditions take root and help us remember where we came from.

“Even if children are unaware of it at the time, those family celebrations seep into their inner spirit and leave an indelible impression on their memories. In later life, these holiday traditions will be the “touchstones” by which they remember their childhood,” reports J. Kevin Nugent, PHD, Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

The simple ritual of cooking and eating together gives us a sense of belonging. The warmth of the family dinner table can provide a relaxed setting for sharing what’s on our minds and in our hearts. In many instances, it is the very place for family prayer time, where life slows down and we can focus on the Lord’s activity. Whatever your traditions might be, whether passed down from generation to generation, or new ones with your own special style, your children will be blessed, and so will you, by strengthening the bonds that knit our hearts together. If by chance you don’t have any food traditions, or if you’re just in the mood to start a one this year, we hope you’ll enjoy the following list of popular Christmas ideas.

1. Celebrate the joyful mood of Christmas with cookies that are as fun to make as they are beautiful to look at. Teach your children how to make snow white angels, gingerbread men, or sugar cookies with brightly colored sprinkles like ornaments.

2. Spread Jesus’ love by baking at least three pies and presenting them to three of your neighbors with hand written notes about the love of Christ.

3. Build a “prefab” gingerbread house with the whole family and proudly display it all season long.

4. Take the kids to look at Christmas lights and afterward go out for ice cream. Splurge on ten scoops of any and every flavor they want! Get lots of spoons and share.

5. Adopt the Italian tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve. Derived from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence on Fridays and holy days, the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is made up entirely of fish and seafood served in seven small courses.

6. Whip up some irresistible Swedish pancakes for Christmas morning. Also known as crepes, you can stuff them with homemade jams and maple syrup or fresh fruit and whipped cream.

ed 7. Make Christmas dinner extra special by using all your best china. Use all your favorite heirloom bric-a-brac and remember those who blessed you with a toast.

8. Bake homemade bread for your Christmas dinner; try golden crescents, pecan rolls or aromatic sage bread.

9. Get creative with the easy to make at home, traditional French dessert, Buche de Noel, also known as the Yule Log. Originally created in the late 19th century by Parisian chefs who were inspired by the real logs that burned on hearths throughout the night on Christmas Eve.

10. Make a beautiful birthday cake for Jesus covered in angelic all-white fluffy frosting. And don’t forget to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!

For more ideas, check out Erica’s Christmas Menu.

 

For more recipes, cooking tips or menu ideas visit: Sonoma Christian Home

Erica Galindo is a Chef, Writer and Stylist. A native of South Florida and veteran Manhattanite, Erica now lives in the beautiful wine country in Sonoma, California with her husband David and son Jack. She has worked as an editor and feature writer for various national and regional publications including: Woman’s Day, Country, Ocean Drive, The South Florida Business Journal and TheChurchReport.com. Erica’s passion for food, faith and family has inspired her to create a new online magazine  www.SonomaChristianHome.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sonomachristianhome

About Erica Galindo

Erica Galindo is a Chef, Writer and Stylist. A native of South Florida and veteran Manhattanite, Erica now lives in the beautiful wine country in Sonoma, California with her husband David and son Jack. She has worked as an editor and feature writer for various national and regional publications including: Woman's Day, Country, Ocean Drive, The South Florida Business Journal and TheChurchReport.com. Erica’s passion for food, faith and family has inspired her to create a new online magazine - www.SonomaChristianHome.com.

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Traditions of Joy at Christmas