One of my favorite parts of the holidays are the traditions that are repeated every year. Since my girls are young, ages 3 and 6, this is the first time I have noticed the benefits of having a tradition. Since we have now had 3 Christmases as a family of four a few of our yearly tasks are starting to become familiar, recognized and even expected. The importance of traditions is just now becoming something I am cognitively aware of in this stage of my motherhood journey. I have realized that traditions are more than just fun activities to do but they are important for several reasons. First of all they create stability during a rather crazy time of year. The small symbols or tasks that create comfort, predictably, and bring a sense of normalcy to this time of year. Last year when my hubby had his mouth wired shut for 6 weeks, it wasn’t exactly the most joyful time of the year but with our families little traditions I was still able to bring some joy and comfort to to our home.
The ritualistic nature of traditions is something we, as humans, crave and by participating we create a stronger bond in the family as it provokes a feeling of belonging. We are participating in something bigger than ourselves, a shared ritual provides a feeling of acceptance; so no matter what may be happening at school or outside the home, there is always comfort in the home. Of course the hope is that the traditions also create happy memories that our kids will remember as they grow older and move out.
This year, I might start a tradition to incorporate a little more self care into the holidays. Maybe a massage or special time for a mom brunch? That is still to be determined but in the meantime scroll through to see some of our favorite holiday traditions that can easily be incorporated in to your home.
So far our longest standing tradition has been our ornament collection. In 2009 my mom started gifting us ornaments that she purchased from an artist at the Dicken’s Fair. Each ornament is hand crafted with clay and personalized with our names. We all look forward to receiving the new addition each year and I make sure they are all packaged with special care.
When Lady A was a baby, we started a tradition of visiting Color Me Mine to make a piece of pottery with her hand or foot print. At the time I didn’t really think these plates would be so special to me but now that their hands aren’t so little, they are my favorite items. Most likely because they are irreplaceable. I love them so much they don’t get packed away with our Christmas décor but rather stored in the kitchen year-round. Last year my favorite platter with her 7-month foot prints got dropped on the floor, damn Elf, but my husband diligently glued it back together after taking pity on me and my torrential downpour of water works.
I have also saved all the Christmas cards we receive to make a ‘book’ out them. I also attach any announcements, wedding or shower invites as well. I punch a hole in the top corner and use a binder ring to keep them all together. Every year at Christmas time I put them on the coffee table for the family to enjoy looking through.
Of course, we all love making cookies during the holidays, it’s the quintessential holiday tradition. Every December the citrus trees in our yard start producing again so we pick the lemons to make Lemon Drop Cookies. These cookies are like lemon bars in an soft and chewy cookie form and twice as easy to make. The best part is they are made with olive oil instead of butter, so they are practically healthy, right? We love to make a batch of the cookies to gift along with a bottle of Enzo’s Table Lemon infused Olive Oil.
Check out an ABC30 clip from 2016 below.
Lemon drop cookies:
2 cups flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon infused olive oil
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 TB lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl whisk together eggs, olive oil, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
Slowly fold in the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to allow dough to firm up.
In a shallow bowl, measure out 1/2 cup sugar, in another shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
Scoop 1 TB dough and roll into a ball. Press gently into the granulated sugar, coating on all sides. Next coat with powdered sugar and place on lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing balls 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 5 min. Rotate the pan, and bake for an additional 7 minutes until the cookies are cracked and puffed on top.
Cool on baking rack & serve.
Store leftovers in airtight container.