Home for the Holidays 4

Sharing Cherished Family Traditions with Loved Ones

The holiday season is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. From the joyful music, sparkly holiday fashion and celebrations with family and friends, to bringing cheer to those less fortunate, it’s a time to count our blessings and live in the moment.

In my family, we go all out when it comes to decorations, activities, baking and gift giving. Having an 8-year-old around makes the season extra special too, as we experience the magic of Christmas through her eyes. This magic is built on our traditions and creating special memories we treasure together as a family. Some traditions my husband and I grew up with, while others are new. From the old tradition of opening the advent calendar each day in December as we countdown to Christmas and Santa’s arrival to the modern day addition of the Elf on the Shelf and his/her shenanigans (did you know they have an Elf dog now too?!), the excitement builds all month long.

To foster the holiday spirit, we decorate our home early in November. It takes a full weekend to get everything up, so why not enjoy it all a little longer? Decorating is a family activity complete with a hot chocolate bar, mulled wine and other festive treats. My daughter and I focus on decorating the tree and inside of the house, reminiscing over special ornaments, while my husband is in charge of making the outside look like a holiday wonderland.

Even though I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed leading up to the holiday, once it’s here I relax with my family and simply enjoy the love and beauty that is Christmas. On Christmas Eve, after attending church, we head home for cheese fondue, mulled wine and Christmas cookies – a nod to my Scandinavian heritage. Everyone opens one present, and then it’s off to bed so Santa can come. On Christmas morning, Grandma brings over her special muffins and we all open presents before sitting down to a traditional Christmas dinner. Interesting how so many traditions revolve around food—great food does have a way of bringing everyone together!

Cheers to a joyous holiday season and Happy New Year!!

Simple DIY Holiday Table Décor

Have some clear glass containers or vases sitting around? Here’s an easy way to add an extra sparkle to your table or room. Arrange a complimentary set of at least three glass containers – an odd number works best, plus staggered heights and widths. Add colorful ball tree ornaments, pinecones, greenery or thick ribbon (use your imagination!), along with mini LED light strings (with attached battery pack, so you avoid unsightly cords) to each container. Add greenery – faux or real – around or behind the containers, and voilà!

Grandma’s Christmas Muffins

Combine ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon, set mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

In another bowl, combine:

1 beaten egg

½ cup almond milk

1/3 cup melted butter

Then add to flour mixture, stir until moist. Pour into lightly greased muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Dip tops right away into 3 tablespoons of melted butter, then into the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve warm.

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