What an incredible year! 2014 has shaped up to be one of our best years yet, and our Holiday tour was a complete success! Just like many of our makers, some of us have had to put the holidays on hold to busily prep for the fairs. Now that the season is over, we’re going overboard on holiday traditions, and thought we’d share some of our favorite things, movies, recipes and more. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
SUSIE + MAT
SUSIE: One old tradition of mine was that my dad would take me to see the holiday windows at Marshall Field’s in downtown Chicago, in all their festive animatronic glory
And a couple new ones – Mat and I always make a point to go to the Christkindl Market in Chicago for some festive times. We pick up a few new ornaments each year, eat potato pancakes, and sip mulled wine. We also go to the movies in Christmas night, which is a newer tradition I totally love.
MAT: The year The Godfather part lll came out we decided to, as a family, go see it after dinner on Xmas evening. Since then we’ve continued this tradition whenever my family are together for Xmas. Not just to go to the movies, but to go see a movie which is neither Holiday themed or appropriate for children (unless there is a “Middle Earth” option). Susie and I make a point of heading to the cinema Xmas night as well, this year will most likely be Hobbit, or else The Babadook. It’s somehow the most relaxing way to end the holiday, a total brain escape.
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE:
SUSIE: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
MAT: Bad Santa
1 egg white
1 tsp. cold water
1 lb. pecan halves
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat egg white and water until frothy, but not stiff. Add pecans and mix
until nuts are coated. Mix next three ingredients in a bowl. Add nuts to
coat. Bake in a buttered jellyroll pan at 225 degrees for 1 hour. Stir
every 15 minutes.
This mulled wine is traditionally served at our Chicago Holiday Market!
1 (1.5) liter bottle of Cabernet
1 Orange Peel
1 Cinnamon stick (broken up)
6 Whole Cloves
1 Whole Nutmeg
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
Pour wine and brown sugar into a slow cooker. Wrap orange peel, cinnamon
stick halves, cloves, and nutmeg in cheesecloth. Add to slow cooker. Cover
and cook on high for 2 to 2.5 hours. Discard spice bag; ladle into
glasses. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and an orange slice. Each batch will make about 7 6oz. glasses. Multiply the recipe for larger batches!
My Mom and Sister and I would go into dahntahn Pixburgh to see the Christmas displays at Gimble’s, Hornes, and Kaufmann’s all of which are extinct department stores that we used to love. Sometimes we would ride the incline too. Check out the amazing video. Your Pittsburgh equivalent to the Ventra pass will get you free rides on this bad-boy!
FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIE: Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas
My family received an original Nintendo for Christmas in the 90’s, I think after it was cool to have one. We still bust it out every holiday at home and play together. My favorite game is Dr. Mario, and I am pretty good at it. We also make copious amounts of Christmas cookies, which I can’t find any pictures as it seems my Mom has done a good job hiding how gluttonous and disgusting we are around the holidays. I grew up using a vintage cookie press that my mom would make beautiful almond mini Christmas trees with. They are by far the best tasting creation in the world!
FAVORITE MOVIE: White Christmas and Muppet Family Christmas
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
green food coloring and sprinkles of your choice!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut the shortening in until it resembles course crumbs.
- Measure the egg and add enough water to make 1/4 cup, beat together. Add egg and vanilla to crumb mixture; mix well. Add food coloring.
- Put through the cookie press onto cookie sheets. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 -12 minutes or until very light brown and set.
I truly believe anything made with almond extract is much better the next day, so try to wait to eat these delicious babies if you can until the next morning for breakfast with coffee :).
This recipe really does work best for a cookie press, but you could use for drop cookies too!
The Dolnicks make a special trip to Candy Cane Lane in Milwaukee where cars line up and drive through the most amazingly decorated houses; afterwords we make a special trip to…. Dunkin Donuts. The only time we were ever allowed to go
And you guessed it, every Christmas Eve the fam goes out for Chinese Food where we inevitably see tons of familiar faces participating in the same tradition.
Each year me and my brother and dad would draw/make all of our holiday decorations. Our house and windows were full of weird hand drawn creations of rudolf, santa and xmas trees. It was really fun and creative and we’d always have a great time doing it.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Christmas Comes But Once a Year
I collected super old holiday cartoons on VHS and would watch them over and over. The below was one of my favs!!!
Here’s a picture of me and my Uncle Tim. He was Santa Claus every year in this little shack in my neighborhood. I was initially confused by him dressing up as Santa, but he explained that his was Santa’s Helper and that I had a direct line through him to the real Santa. I was probably taking advantage of that in this picture.
The Juliano’s always make a big Rigatoni dinner on Christmas Eve. My dad is the cook in the family and spends a few days stewing the meat and sauce. The smell in the house is so tempting and lunch the day before Christmas Eve is usually a baguette that we all rip off of and dip into the simmering Rigatoni sauce. We get to open one present on Christmas Eve and it’s always pajamas. I don’t think I’ve ever bought my own pajamas for this reason. I’m pajama rich.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Scrooged
Growing up I’d spend a lot of Christmases either at home in California or with Mom’s side of the family in Hawaii. The Brodeur Family would usually watch a Christmas movie every night up until Christmas. I don’t think we had 25 Christmas movies we enjoyed, but we watched as many as we could: White Christmas, Home Alone 1 & 2, Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, Die Hard, you name it. On Christmas Eve we would all open one Christmas gift, one at a time. One year, my dad was having so much fun he had us open up all the gifts on Christmas Eve. In my old neighborhood, a row of houses had large billboard-type wood signs and each house would display the lyrics to “Joy to the World.” From as early as we could read, until the last year we celebrated Christmas at the old house, my sister and I would sing along to those billboards without fail. I think that is my mom’s favorite holiday memory because we would harmonize (she was a choir teacher).
When celebrating with the extended family on my mom’s side, us 8 cousins would usually put on a weird skit or do something crazy together. One year it was recreating the Sisters scene from White Christmas. It was embarrassing to say the least.
In my own home I try to incorporate both old and new traditions. I watch as many delightful holiday movies as I can, as well as binging on holiday episodes from my favorite TV shows, to a newer tradition, which is baking cinnamon rolls on Christmas Day and making my husband’s family’s wassail! It’s so good!
FAVORITE MOVIE: White Christmas and Scrooged
FAVORITE TV SHOW EPISODE: Community – “Regional Holiday Music”
WHEDBEE FAMILY WASSAIL
12 cups apple juice
1 cup orange juice
6 cups pineapple juice
12 oz. apricot nectar
6 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. cloves
Stir all ingredients in large pot. Heat slowly till simmering. Continue for one hour. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Serve HOT.
We always make Christmas cookies on Christmas eve, to put out by the fireplace for Santa (my dad) to eat. We eat some too. We use the cheesy plastic cookie cutters, and we usually we make lots of holly leaves and Stars. Then we open gifts from our extended family, Aunts and Uncles, and any family friends who gave us gifts—saving the nuclear fam Christmas giving for Christmas day.
We have a lot of personalized ornaments and we always hang those on Christmas eve too now that my sister and I don’t live in the house, so that we can all do it together. On the eve of Christmas we also crown our tree with the angel, which we always have to put on with a broom, and Jocelyn, my sister does the honors, because she is the most dexterous usually but sometimes we can’t get it on straight and we’re okay with that.
She and I also would always sleep in her room on Christmas Eve because we were too excited to sleep and wanted to talk, and speculate if we heard sleigh bells and hoof steps on the roof. We still do this every year, minus the speculation.
Then Christmas morning we honor my dad’s jewish family by indulging in lox and bagels and drink my mom’s homemade homemade hot cocoa with way too many marshmallows before we open gifts, and we always, always start with the stockings. In the afternoon we snack on my favorite holiday sweet treat, Petit Fours, from a local german bakery called Heidelberg that’s been open since I was born. We also always listen to Handel’s Messiah, and Mariah Carey’s Christmas album on repeat ALL DAY.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Home Alone 2 Lost in New York
Happy Holidays to you all! We hope you have a restful week and a Happy New Year. See you in 2015!