December is here and the countdown to Christmas is quickly winding down. This is the time of year when we embrace traditions. Here are a few of my seasonal favorites.
1. Ginger Cookies. It seems everyone has a recipe similar to this one. I like to add red and green sugar sprinkles when I roll them in sugar. It gives them a festive touch. I only make them around Christmas time.
2. Sugar Cookies. I have a confession: I hate making sugar cookies. We make them once and when they are gone, that's the end. I make a huge batch and spend all day doing it so we have enough to last a while. My Grandma Wilson made sugar cookies every year and I loved eating them. I make them for the kids to help them have memories a wonderful as mine. That is true love!
3. Oyster Stew. This is a Wilson family tradition. I haven't had it in years. When I was growing up, my family would get together every Christmas Eve and eat bowls full of this warm, oyster and butter-flavored milk with pepper and saltines. I don't think the oyster stew was really the important part of the tradition; it was sitting around the table laughing, talking, and just being together.
4. Brach's Peppermint nougat This is my all-time favorite candy. I can easily eat bags of them if I am not careful.
5. Red Velvet Cake. Another of my Grandma's holiday treats. I have carried this tradition to my family. We have a cake with homemade cream cheese frosting every year. As an added touch, I like to color a little frosting and make holly leaves with red-hots for the berries.
1. Amy Grant. I have "Christmas Album", "Home For Christmas", and "A Christmas To Remember". I have always enjoyed her Christmas music. My kids like it too.
2. Bing Crosby. "White Christmas" is the true legacy of this man, although he has some fun Christmas songs like "Christmas in Killarney" and "Mele Kalikimaka".
3. Jim Reeves. I had not heard of this artist until I got married. My husband had a Christmas CD that I have come to love.
4. The Forgotten Carols. This part of a unique Christmas story. I like that it focuses on non-traditional aspects of the Christmas story like the inn keeper and Anna, the woman at the temple.
1. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. My husband gave me this as a Christmas present the year it was published. I read it right away and loved it. I was thrilled to see it was being made into a movie, "Christmas With The Kranks", which I also enjoy each Christmas.
2. The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn. I read this a few years ago. It is historical fiction about the history of Christmas celebration. I found it so engaging that I forgot Santa wasn't real!!
3. Santa Calls by William Joyce. This is a children's book about the true spirit of the season. It has a very sweet message.
4. Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda. He is an amazing artist whose books are all pup-ups. I only have this one (which no one is allowed to touch without me!) He has created several Christmas books.
5. The Bible, of course. There would be no Christmas story without it. You can't go wrong with reading the story straight from the source. Try reading the passages listed under "Jesus Christ; Birth of" in the Topical Guide.
1. White Christmas. I didn't see this until I was grown. It can be a little boring in places (it has some annoying songs and modern dance numbers that I could do without.) The storyline is interesting and sweet. I enjoy movies that remind me of ideals and hope.
2. It's A Wonderful Life. So wonderful and uplifting. It reminds me that every life is important and that you never know what someone else is going through.
3. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. This is a guilty pleasure. It is so funny but kind of crude in places. I watch it at least once every year. I can't help it! I just need a good life sometimes!
4. Christmas In Connecticut. Our librarian in Belgium recommended this. It is funny but you have to pay attention. It isn't like modern movies that you can watch while you do other things and not miss much. This movie also reminds me that stress and pressure during the holidays are not new issues.
5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. This is one of the classics. I like this one the best. I like "Jack Frost" too.
6. How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The old, cartoon version is wonderful. The newer, live-action one is dumb. Sometimes, less really is more. I like this because there are many stories that say "we can't have Christmas without Santa and presents". The Grinch says the opposite.
7. The Night They Saved Christmas This was my favorite when I was a child. My kids have already watched it several times this year.
8. The Santa Claus. The first is the best but I like the whole Santa Claus series.
9. An American Christmas Carol. This is one of my husband's favorite Christmas movies. It is a nice adaptation of the classic. We also like this 1984 version of A Christmas Carol.
10. Miracle On 34th Street. I love the older version of this movie. The newer one has some redeeming qualities, too.
Here is the link for the Christmas page on lds.org. It has lots of great ideas, videos, music and stories to help keep the true meaning of Christmas alive in our homes.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Chriatms Celebration!