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Ghosts of Christmas Dinner Past

A Christmas tradition

Dinner, treats, meals and foods are often an integral part of Christmas traditions. Baking cookies, turkey dinners, and the smells of the season are all fond memories — and things I want to continue doing with my own children.

I was all of 7 years old the first time I baked something completely on my own. And it wasn’t something easy either, like chocolate chip cookies. I baked my grandmother’s recipe for the Canadian treat, butter tarts. These delicious circles filled with sugary goodness involve pastry, melting butter, and getting the details all just right. It’s slightly complicated, and easy to get wrong. But I did it perfectly.

I’ve been baking ever since. Cookies, cakes, pies and muffins all come out of my kitchen on a regular basis. But during the holiday season, baking is even more special. It’s become a tradition for me to bake a different kind of cookie or square with each of my children. By the end of the holidays, I have a freezer full of cookies, squares, muffins, and other treats that last for a few months!

Smells of the Season

What are the smells of the season? Cinnamon buns, with ooey gooey icing perhaps, or maybe it’s peppermint goodness in everything. I’m a fan of chocolate peppermint combinations, and I even have a recipe that’s a take on the Girl Guide cookies. For some, it’s the pumpkin spice craze. (I’ll admit I’m not a fan!) But smells, along with the sights and sounds, help define the season.

For most of us here in North America, the centrepiece of the Christmas season is the Christmas dinner. It’s around the dinner table that families get together, that conversations happen, that life announcements are made and that relationships strengthen. The smells of Christmas dinner are an integral part of my memories of Christmas growing up.

Christmases past

Both my parents come from larger families. So no matter which side of the family we spent the holidays with, there were always lots of people. My memories of Christmas involve warm houses, the buzz of adult conversation going over my head, and playing games with my cousins. But most of all, there was the feast.

I only have one living grandparent left, but I treasure my memories of all my grandparents. My paternal grandparents were the ones we lived closest to. And when we did a holiday meal with them, the one thing we all looked forward to was my grandmother’s buns. She made these homemade dinner rolls that were melt-in-your-mouth fantastic. No one has managed yet to completely master her secret recipe.

My maternal grandparents were a day-trip drive away, though often we would go to stay over night for a few days. It was my grandmother that taught me how to bake. I also have her recipes for many of my children’s favorite cookies. (Psst .. you can get them in the Christmas Cookie Jar!!) Grandma’s sugar cookies were always a hit. Her peanut butter ones were fantastic. But most of all, we wanted those butter tarts.

Christmas Dinner Menu

What’s on your Christmas dinner menu? For us, it’s always a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Stuffing or dressing, whatever you call it, mashed potatoes (sweet or regular), all the vegetables, a variety of salads, and the usual pickles, olives, cheese and cranberry sauce were on the table. These days, the gathering is smaller, and the menu less expansive, but the main elements remain the same.

It doesn’t seem like Christmas unless we’ve had our turkey dinner. Some years it hardly feels like it’s worth the work. When it’s just me and my girls, and when they are still so small, a full turkey dinner is a lot of effort for just us. But I still take care to create the full dinner experience. It’s a tradition I want to pass on to my children.

Christmas Dinner Tradition

It’s the traditions of special seasons like this that help build family relationships. We bond when we celebrate these special events together. Whether it’s a Christmas dinner tradition, or New Year’s brunch, or something else, it’s important to do these things. It builds family feeling, and provides an anchor to look back on in future years.

**Christmas dinner plans stressing you out? Get the From Stress to Bliss Holiday Planner  and don’t stress. You’ve got this planned. Enjoy!**

About RaisingRoyalty

Single mom of 6, homeschooling and working from home. I've survived everything life threw at me, now I'm finding a way to thrive. This is my real life story.

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