It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you didn’t sing that, you’re probably the Grinch. Well, just kidding, but I definitely sang that when I wrote it.
Anyway, the colder weather, the barren trees, the holiday décor and music in every store you go, it’s literally amazing! I love the Christmas season so much! I just recently put up my Christmas tree and patio decorations. I love looking at all of the ornaments I’ve collected over the years, each one signifying an important thing for the year. Every year I get a new ornament, two actually. One that has the names of all my family I spend it with (and pets!), and another signifying a big thing that happened. This year I am looking for a very specific ornament, one that shows the big transition my husband and I made: our move to Dallas. I haven’t found it yet.. I thought maybe it would be a plane because sweet hubs works at DFW airport, but I don’t know. I’m wanting to visit the Arlington/Fort Worth Christmas Wearhouse to seek and find the right one. I did make a new one out of an old sewing spool because I started a new hobby this year! Sewing! It’s been super fun and rewarding! I need to decorate it though and make it fun and festive.
Now! Onto my favorite traditions! Some of these I’ve adapted from growing up in the Jarratt household, and some I’ve adapted from marrying into the Langham Household and some are what my husband and I want to make our own traditions. But all have important meaning with family in mind and Christ at the forefront. So, grab your cup of hot chocolate or eggnog and read along!
Cheers! Famous and my Favorite Holiday Drinks!
Now whether or not you are a holiday drinker or you prefer the yummy foods, you have many delicious choices to pick from: in all categories! For drinks (well get to cookies later) we have a lot of variety. Hot Chocolate with marshmallows and a peppermint stick, eggnog (alcoholic or not!), hot apple cider, mulled wine, or just a traditional and consistent hot cup of coffee. All of it brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my spirit and I hope one of them brings a fuzzy feeling to you! Below are some of my favorite recipes for each and some I haven’t tried personally but I have had raving reviews on! But we all know, to start a good holiday season off, you gotta warm yourself up with a nice drink. Cheers!
Eggnog: Okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t like eggnog. I think it’s gross and EVER too sweet, but even reading this recipe I think I’ll love it! I just might attempt to make and enjoy it this season!
Hot chocolate (Regular, fun, and Mexican): I am a HUGE hot chocolate fan. I never get to make it fresh like I desire to, I usually stick with the Swiss packets. But again, the holidays bring out something in me to be adventurous and make all this. I’ll probably be the only one drinking it all because my husband doesn’t like chocolate. But who cares, it’s the holidays!
Apple Cider: This is what I do every. Single. Year. Apple Cider is my shizz and I live for the season to drink and enjoy a hot glad of mulled apple cider. I don’t usually drink it with alcohol, but you could definitely put in some spiced rum or something yummy that compliments the flavors infused in this delicious drink. I’ve actually made this a few times and can highly recommend it!
Mulled spiced wine: So, since I’m only 24 almost 25, I’ve only had 4 years experience drinking alcohol and for most of those years I was a bartender. I’m not a crazy drinker, I drink for the flavor and parings with dinner I make with my hubby. But if this was the only alcohol ever, or if there were no alcohol in this… I would still drink this in goblets and goblets til I passed out of sheer delight. I love this mulled spiced wine. I made it last year for the first time with my friend Cassian and we enjoyed the deliciousness to the last drop. I have two bottles of red waiting for me to make it again.. but I think I’m gonna wait and share it with my in-laws on Christmas day, it’s so much more fun to enjoy it with others who will soon become obsessed with this hot, spicy and sweet drink.
A Christmas Story: Advent.
This one is a long time tradition in my family. Every year the first Sunday in December we bought out my moms’ old German wreath and advent candles and dug into the scripture story of Jesus’s birth. If you don’t know how an advent devotion works, here is a little synopsis of how it goes. Each of the 4 Sunday’s before Christmas day, and then Christmas day itself you read difference scriptural perspectives on the birth of Christ. For example, the first Sunday you read the prophetic scriptures that announce the coming of His birth and light the prophets candle. The 2nd Sunday you light the angel’s candle and the Prophets candle and read the scriptures of the angel’s announcements. Third Sunday you light Mary’s candle, fourth Sunday you light the believer’s candle and then on Christmas day you light the Jesus candle and read the adjacent verses with each candle. It’s a simple reminder of what Jesus came to do and how humbly He came and who He blessed along the way even as an infant.
For my family, years and year, I loved the Jesus candle. It was this pure white candle that looked like icing was spackled on it and it was just beautiful. When I was old enough to understand, my parents told me that that candle was actually their wedding unity candle and it brought such symbolism in my heart that Jesus was at the center of their marriage. They lit that candle and shared that scripture every year until the candle melted down to be non-existent. 35 years now, and they have a new Jesus candle but that is still a big part of their life and marriage and since I got married I have desired the same thing for me and my family. Instead of a unity candle at our wedding ceremony, (because I’m sentimental and want my unity candle to last forever) I made a unity oil lamp. Symbolic of the scripture of always having oil on hand ready to welcome the bridegroom to come. But also as our Jesus candle, or lamp, for Advent during the Christmas Season. If you are wanting to do something similar or read the Christmas story, here are the verses and correlating candles.
1st Sunday in Dec. Prophet (purple candle): Is. 7:14, Micah 5:2, Is. 9: 2, 6-7.
2nd Sunday in Dec. Angels (purple candle): Luke 1:26-28, Matt 1:18-25, Luke 2:7-14
3rd Sunday in Dec. Mary (pink candle): Luke 1:39-56
4th Sunday in Dec. Believers (purple candle): Luke 2:1-20
Christmas Day, Dec 25th. Jesus (white candle): Matt 2:1-11, John 3:16
- I couldn’t find purple candlesticks, so I went with what the store had in stock for my set. Three white candles, and I used a red candle for Mary and again, our oil lamp is our Jesus candle.
Holiday cookies, my top 3! Be prepared to gain 5 lbs.
Another fun thing I LOVE about Christmas is classic Christmas cookies. I love love love trying new cookies, but my husband doesn’t like sweets so I stick with my favorite two types and Chocolate Chip Cookies for him (the only chocolate he likes lol.) My two holiday cookies are Christmas Crinkles and Springerlies. Traditionally my family has made these every year on the year. Christmas crinkles have a little bit of espresso and covered in powdered sugar before baked and so when they come out they have a nice crisp crust and super gooie soft on the inside. Springerlies however, is a German cookie that has been passed down my family for a long time. You need a special cookie rolling pin (I was gifted that basically the first Christmas I moved out) and LOTS of flour. But these delicious anise-flavored cookies are a simple, not too sweet cookie that even when they go stale… are worth keeping and devouring. And if I can say so, even at the stale point they are perfect for dipping in coffee and eating like biscotti.
Here are the recipes for both and I hope you enjoy a little taste of my holiday sweet tooth and family tradition cookie crave.
Christmas Crinkle So this recipe I found online is the recipe we use generally… but we add about a tablespoon of instant espresso.
Springerlies: I am going to write this one out for you because it is done so specifically, however, if you click the link it’ll take you to Amazon where it shows the special rolling pin required for this cookie.
Oven temp: 325, cook time 15 min. Serving 4-5 dozen. Special rolling pin and plain rolling pin needed.
4 eggs, 2 cups sugar, 3 ½ cups cake flour (or more), 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 tsp anise flavoring.
OKAY, here we go!
Beat egg and sugar together for 20 minutes on low. Read a book, write a poem, do some squats, do a little dance, walk your dog.. because you’ll be waiting forever.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in separate bowl. Add anise to eggs.
Add flour mixture to eggs (cup by cup so it doesn’t poof in your face, or better yet put it all in and send me a picture of your white face 😀 ).
THIS DOUGH SHOULD BE VERY STIFF. Like playdough. Add more flour if it’s not stiff enough after adding the 3 ½ cups. Could be an additional 1-1 ½ cup more.
FOR REAL. That much flour. Not for the gluten-free millennials.
FLUFFY DOUGH IS NOT STIFF ENOUGH. Remember, playdough. Remember. Not for millennials.
The finished cookies puff up and end up with a crust on top after baked, so don’t fear how it looks now.
Flour your rolling area with a BIG handful of flour. Yes, more flour. Pat flour on both sides of the dough and on the plain rolling pin. The dough will be sticky otherwise.
I promise. Even though there is a lot of flour already, it’ll still be sticky.
Roll out dough between ¼ – ½ inch thick with the plain pin and then with the special pin to make fun indents.
Keep. Flouring. Liberally.
Cut cookies apart and place on cookie sheet to DRY OVERNIGHT BEFORE COOKING.
Yes… you have to be patient to eventually enjoy these amazing cookies. But fear not. They’re worth it.
Next day, bake 15 minutes at 325*.
THEY WILL NOT BROWN. I REPEAT THEY WILL NOT BROWN.
So take them out at 15 minutes on the dot.
They will be delicious. Enjoy now, fresh and hot. Later with coffee. Or wait until they become stale and dip like biscotti!
Hallmark Christmas Movies Marathon: plots may be the same, but it all hits the heart.
Okay, so this isn’t something I get to do all the time because my husband and I don’t have cable. But when I get the chance, I will watch them over and over and over again. The handout of hallmark movies this year for Christmas is just stunning and I WANT TO WATCH THEM ALL. However, I’ve only seen 3. But you can guarantee that come Christmas day I will find some way to watch them. This tradition started when I moved to Texas though. My first Christmas away from home I spent it with my grandmother and brother who also live(d) in Texas with me at that time. So my grandma and I spent the holiday weekend binge-watching these precious and predictable movies. I will gape and aw and cry at all the sweet, family, romantic fun every time. I cant guarantee the quality of this version, but check out this youtube video. 😉
Christmas light watching + pizza
This tradition is actually my husband’s and his families and I love it. I have definitely adopted it on my holiday to-do list and I cannot wait until Christmas Eve when we order a pizza and go driving through all the Christmas lights in surrounding neighborhoods. My husband has some very sweet memories as a kid doing this with his brother and parents. And so far I’ve done it with them once and it was super fun and sweet! I am definitely going to be doing this each year I can and I know my future kids will love this crazy tradition that has been passed down from their daddy and grandparents. Now, just to convince them to love Hawaiian Pizza. #pineappleonpizza
Well, here you go ya’ll! I hope you enjoyed celebrating through my writing in this post with some of my favorite Christmas traditions and snacks. I sincerely hope you have a wonderful holiday and remember our Saviors birth in a new way that brings joy to your soul and hope and healing into your family.