Jan here, with a post full of Christmas traditions, because what is Christmas without traditions?
When my husband and I celebrated our first Christmas together thirty-four years ago, we had to merge strong traditions from both sides of extended family.
We inherited his family's creche, and stuck with my family's tradition of opening presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve.
And we started a few of our own traditions that we're handing down to our children.
Of course, as our children form their own homes with loved ones, they'll sort through the family traditions and start their own. That's the way it's supposed to work, right?
One tradition we started several years ago is a Christmas Tea on Christmas Eve. After church, whoever wants to meets at our house for spiced cider, little sandwiches with meat or cheese spreads, spanokopita (recipe here), Black Forest Ham pinwheels (recipe here), and other Christmas goodies.
We chat a little bit, but the main event of the evening is a game. It was dominoes one year, Carcassonne another. Sometimes it's Settlers of Cataan. It's always a fun (and highly competitive!) time!
|Wynter is waiting for her share!|
And in the background is the heavenly scent of spices and fruit in a simmering potpourri.
1/2 bag fresh cranberries
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
Cut up the apple and orange (go ahead and eat the second half!)...
...and put everything in a pot with a couple quarts of water. I like to use my little one gallon crockpot, but you can use a pot on the stove, too.
Heat, covered, until the water gets steamy and the cranberries get soft. Then reduce the temperature, remove the lid, and let the Christmas scent make its way through your home.
I hope you enjoy your Christmas Eve as much as we do! What are your plans for the festive night?
And it wouldn't be the Twelve Days of Christmas Treats without a giveaway, would it?
Comment today for an opportunity to win a signed copy of "Mattie's Pledge"!
Here's a little bit about the story:
Mattie Schrock is no stranger to uprooting her life. Even as her father relocated her family from one Amish community to the next, she always managed to find a footing in their new homes. Now as the Schrock family plans to move west from Somerset County to a fledgling Amish settlement in Indiana, she looks forward to connecting with old friends who will be joining them from another Pennsylvania community—friends like Jacob Yoder, who has always held a special place in her heart.
Since Mattie last saw Jacob, they’ve both grown into different people with different dreams. Jacob yearns to settle down, but Mattie can’t help but dream of what may lie over the western horizon. When a handsome Englisher tempts her to leave the Amish behind to search for adventure in the West, will her pledge to Jacob be the anchor that holds her secure?
Tender, poignant, and gentle, Mattie’s Pledge offers readers a glimpse into Amish life in the 1840s—and into the yearning heart of a character they’ll not soon forget.