The decorations, the food, spending time with the people you love… every family has that special tradition that without it, the holidays just wouldn’t seem like Christmas. We asked some of the staff here at Houston Family Magazine to tell us about their favorite holiday memories and traditions. We hope you enjoy peeking in our windows, and, who knows, you might find something that works for your family!
“I think that my fondest memories are of baking presents for my teachers, neighbors and family when I was a kid. One particular Christmas, I was probably 9 or 10, I remember making divinity and rum balls and fudge. Of course, the only thing I could eat was the fudge. The divinity was too sweet and the rum balls were not for me! And while I do not make any of these things for holiday gifts these days, I have carried on the family tradition and made it my own. Every year my kids and I make special holiday Bundt cakes and treats for friends and family. Some with liquor, some without, but all made with love and laughter and the joy of the holiday season; a celebration of giving.”
Kimberly Davis-Guerra – Publisher and Co-owner
“Every Christmas Eve since my older daughter was old enough to walk, we make magic reindeer food and set it out on the front lawn to nourish Santa’s sleigh team as they fly tirelessly through the night. A key ingredient used to be gold glitter, which serves to attract the reindeer from the skies so they know the food is there, and, more importantly, which turns magic when it meets the Christmas air. The magic helps the reindeer fly (we eventually replaced the gold glitter with sugar crystals, which are equally magical and are safer for birds and other wildlife). In the morning before we open presents, the family walks out to check the plate of food, which has always been eaten, leaving a sparkling clean plate behind, and a couple of wondrous, joyful children (we now have two daughters).”
Here’s our magic reindeer food recipe:
1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup red or green sugar crystals (for cake decorating)
Sara G. Stephens – Managing Editor
“We are a newly “blended” family, but we have already realized which activities we would like to incorporate into our new holiday traditions. With three young kids that are within three years of each other, respect and appreciation at gift-giving time is a must. We start with one child who reads a gift tag and gives that gift to its recipient. We all wait and enjoy the opening and joy of the present. Then, it’s that child’s turn to find a gift for another family member. We take turns while taking time to enjoy this special gift sharing, as a family, in such a beautiful environment.”
Kim Holchin – Account Executive
“The first year that Grant and I were married, I was still learning how to cook. A friend had introduced me to the lasagna recipe on the Skinner lasagna box, and so I baked lasagna for our first Christmas Eve together. Because both of our families have large parties on Christmas Day, we opened our gifts to each other that Christmas Eve. This has since become our Christmas Eve tradition: our family has lasagna for dinner, then we go to Christmas Mass, then come home and open our gifts to each other. It is my favorite part of Christmas.”
Karen Harpold – Calendar Editor
Growing up, our house around the holidays was always a “wanna be” bakery! My sister and I had big plans to fill the kitchen to the rim with cookies, pies, and other sweet treats. We were excited to try new recipes, bring the good old holiday cookie cutters out from hibernation, and pretend we were Martha Stewarts for the day! I always started out making several batches of these super-easy-to-make Peanut Butter Balls. For a yummy Christmas gift, just pack some in a festive holiday tupperware! P.S.: They are to die for when frozen!
Peanut Butter Balls
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 lbs. chocolate almond bark
Mix sugar, peanut butter and margarine. Roll into small balls. Chill. Melt Chocolate. Dip chilled balls. Place on wax paper to set. Enjoy!
Tish Carabajal – Account Executive
“A tradition my parents started 41 years ago, after my eldest niece was born, was exchanging Christmas gifts at Thanksgiving. Every year we all travel to one family member’s home and have our Thanksgiving lunch, rest a bit and then gather around the Christmas tree and exchange gifts. This takes a lot of pressure off because no one has to travel at Christmas, and Santa can visit everyone’s own home.”
Sam Sigman – Distribution Manager