One of my favorite holiday traditions has always been baking Christmas goodies with my brother, sister, and mom. Growing up, one of the first weekends in December, we’d totally take over the kitchen (which wasn’t that huge to begin with) to do a marathon two-day baking event that turned out yummy treats that would last us the rest of the holidays, including giving plenty of goodie baskets away to neighbors, friends, and family.
Recently, my brother and sister and I have started transferring this tradition to my sister’s house. We pick one weekend early in December, and my brother (home from break) and I go over to my sister’s lovely, roomy suburban kitchen with the big island and lots of counter space. My mom comes too, of course, but she largely spends a lot of time telling us how to do things while she “samples” our results. (The benefit of having grownup children, I guess! She certainly earned it with all those years she helmed the baking.)
My little niece and nephew love pitching in (as much as they can). Right now, that consists of super-easy tasks like pouring chocolate chips into cookie batter and pressing cutouts into dough. But soon enough, they’ll be able to really roll up their sleeves and pitch in, and I can’t wait to watch the next generation start to learn all the cookies and candies we learned to make grown up. (Probably adding in some new ones of their own.)
For me, this is one of the best parts of the holidays, because I get to enjoy that great family get-together feeling without all the stress of dressing up, cleaning, decorating, and hosting. We wear whatever we don’t mind getting floury, usually go into giggle fits several times, and blast the cheesiest Christmas music we can all weekend long. It reminds me of all the great times we had growing up, and it creates new memories for the future. As much as I love seeing my family on Christmas itself, this is always one of my favorite times of the season because it’s just plain fun and we all get to relax and just be silly.
So, I wanted to challenge you to find your favorite, non-Christmas-day part of the holidays. Is it putting up the tree? Watching those Claymation Christmas specials? (They totally make me feel like a kid again.) Driving around the neighborhood looking at all the lights? There are so many lovely parts of the holidays that we tend to overlook because we’re so focused on getting to the big day. But instead of the whole month of December being one big race to Christmas, how can you find ways to enjoy the whole month, and all the great things that go with it?
Let’s enjoy the journey and not just the destination!
What’s your favorite part of the holidays? What do you love about it?
photo credit: Rebecca