Last night we decorated the holiday tree. Yes, on a Monday night. Why? Because with four teens, it was the only time we could all be together to do it.
During our loud Christmas music, decoration hanging, ongoing debate over whose ornament was whose, one child shouted, “This is tradition, Mommy! We all have to be here!”
I suspect that “this is tradition, Mommy” will carry through the holiday season, as it has every year before. From prime rib and twice-baked potatoes on Christmas Eve to egg and sausage casserole (with Mimosas for mom and dad) on Christmas morning, the food tradition will march on. I shall not forget the White Chocolate-coated Christmas Candy, the Potica (a slovic coffee cake) or the hollandaise sauce, either.
I shall not. I will not. I dare not change the menu. I would be called the Grinch who stole the Christmas food tradition!
Even the opening of gifts has a procedure (one at a time, so we can all ooh and aah at each other’s goodies). And so does the attire (a day in pajamas). From ornaments and decor to when we set up and take down the fanfare, our holiday is loaded with big and little traditions, and these have taken on their own momentum, or over time, have lost their luster.
Why are kids so attached to tradition?
Experts say it’s the predictability, the belonging to something greater than oneself, and the stability of tradition that draws kids in. It’s often pointed out that traditions can also teach values, like waiting for your turn, taking the time to appreciate a gift that has been given to you, or doing something for others in need.
The good news? Traditions can be started and modified at any time–and we’ve done our fair share of that!
As you might imagine, holiday food is a big tradition in our home, and relishing those once a year indulgent foods is something to which we all look forward. I appreciate the holiday traditions when I talk with my siblings and they are all making the same food I am! Much of my menu is an extension of my mother’s menu during the holidays. (I added the mimosa’s…)
I know other families have traditions around serving others, exercising on the holiday, gift giving, and more.
Here’s one holiday treat I never omit (and everyone asks for the recipe–I am breaking the silence!):
White Chocolate Covered Candy
yields ~20 cups of candy
5 cups Cheerios (or other oat-O cereal)
5 cups Rice Chex (or similar)
5 cups waffle pretzels
2 lightly salted peanuts
2 cups plain holiday-themed M&M’s
2 bags of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of canola oil
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly melt the white chocolate chips and oil over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning (alternatively, melt the chocolate and oil together in a glass bowl over a simmering water bath). Pour the chocolate over the cereal mix and toss with the chocolate until cereal, nuts, pretzels and M&M’s are covered with chocolate. Pour the mixture out onto wax paper and let dry (I like to spread out the mix but still keep it in chunks).
This candy is great at parties, as a teacher’s gift, and freezes great. Warning: it is very hard to stop eating this once you start!
What food or other traditions have you started with your family?
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: December 17, 2014
Updated on: February 13, 2016