On the Eighth Day of Christmas …

VanCleave - new (1)On the eighth day of Christmas I’m thinking about traditions. Well, at least what have become traditions when Christmas is different every year.

My husband is a pastor and our traditions have had to be very flexible so we could work around church events. As our kids were growing up, Christmas time also meant an eight to ten hour trip back to Tennessee to visit grandparents. We tried to “choose” our Christmas day rather than letting the calendar demand that it was December 25. Sometimes Christmas and church times were too close to make the Tennessee trip until after Christmas. That was when our son and daughter began their own tradition of staying up all night to watch the 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story.” They tell very different stories about who would finally fall asleep first. But for two very different siblings who were almost five years apart, it is still a memory that bonds them.

One tradition we began was called “The Feast.” My son describes it as a meal where, “we eat things we wouldn’t ordinarily eat at a meal.” Even that makes me laugh. It’s basically “name your very favorite things” and, no matter what it is, we’ll put it in the feast. Combined with laughter, family time, and a Christmas movie, it is something we still do even though they are both grown with homes of their own.

And then we have “The Snowman.” It began as a joke between my husband and me. He used to grumble about “plastic things to set out in the yard during Christmas.” I started picking up every $1 giant plastic thing I could find at yard sales. “The Snowman” was the first. We had quite a collection after about 15 years. When we moved back to Tennessee, it was hard to give up “the collection,” but “The Snowman” was part of the family! Even years when sad things have happened at Christmas, including the year we didn’t even manage to get a tree up, “The Snowman” glowed near our front door.

I came home late a couple of weeks ago and there was Mr. Snowman glowing in the front yard. I started to grin. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Snowman

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

brown2On the fourth day of Christmas, I’m sharing a really great Pecan Brittle recipe from my cousin in Wyoming! It’s really more like Pecan Toffee. Folks here at our LifeWay Kids Department “Grazing Day” ate it up! (Grazing day is an annual Christmas event—we bring in our favorite Christmas goodies and share the love of good friends and good food all day long, “grazing all the day!”)

 

Here’s the Pecan Brittle/Toffee recipe:

Ingredients:
2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup lite corn syrup
(I know, right?)
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Melt butter. Add other ingredients and cook over medium heat stirring constantly.
2. Cook until cracks in cold water or “crack” stage on candy thermometer (300-305 degrees).
3. Add pecans when candy is almost done.
4. Pour out the minute it is done on 2 pre-buttered cookie sheets (or 1 large sheet).
5. Break into lots of individual, delicious pieces!

I didn’t know how to break it up, so I held the cookie sheet a foot or two off the tile floor and dropped it as flatly as I could. It broke perfectly—with the exception of three big pieces.

Enjoy! And please share your favorite Christmas recipes with us in the Comments section!