Holiday traditions are part of what makes this time of year so special. We’ve already shared some ideas for coming up with unique family traditions, but I want to share some of my own.
My father is a woodworker, so from a young age I remember helping him out in his workshop. In elementary school, we came up with the idea to give something away to all my classmates around the holidays. So, in the beginning of December every year, my dad and I would take to the shop and start designing an ornament to give to my classmates.
Every year we would create a new design together, and he would teach me how to use the tools and equipment. My mother would help me paint the ornaments and decorate them.
When I graduated elementary school and went on to middle school, I didn’t have the same classmates all year round (plus it was so uncool to hand out treats in middle school). So we stopped making the ornaments. But like many families, we still decorate our tree together. And it’s a great feeling to decorate with one of my ornaments, and remember how I created them with my parents. My own Christmas tree is 1,500 miles away from my family. Trimming the tree in my apartment with my handmade ornaments gives my living room a little piece of home.
All my ornaments from elementary school (Yes, I drew that star myself. Why do you ask?)
Every year, my family bakes lots of cookies to hand out to all of our neighbors. We continue this tradition to this day, and every year, we seem to add another type cookie to the plate. I’ve adored cooking ever since high school, and each member of the family has a signature cookie that they add to the plate. My mom has peanut brittle, my dad makes Rice Krispie treats, my brother loves chocolate chip cookies, and I bake almond roca cookies.
This holiday, in case you’re wondering, we made these treats:
- Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
- Almond Roca Cookies (this recipe is my favorite and one I make every year)
- Sea Salt Caramels (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free)
- Rice Krispie Treats
- Christmas Casserole Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- Peanut Brittle
- Coconut Macaroons with Orange Zest (Gluten-Free)
- Cinnamon-Sugar Almonds (Gluten-Free)
- Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Bars
Nut-free families should always be careful when making cookies – many baking chocolates are processed in tree nut facilities. Here’s a great list of peanut and tree-nut free candies! If you decide to make cookies, keep in mind what everyone can eat! We have a few gluten-free family friends, so we like to include some delicious options without gluten.
What are your favorite family traditions?