I Want to Bottle This Love
As my home is filled with the smell of gingerbread, my heart feels warm. I wish I could bottle up this feeling, this moment, this beautiful time of the year and carry it with me always.
Christmas treats are one of my favourite traditions. As a child each year, I would wait for the special treats that would only come around during the holidays. And for each family, there would be different.
What I love the most about them are the memories. The aromas that fill the air, watching Christmas movies, sipping hot chocolate and dipping shortbread into it.
When we were young my Mom always did quite a lot of baking. Nanaimo bars, Ritz cracker cookies, shortbread, lemon cheese, mincemeat and butter tarts, poppycock, nuts and bolts, and carrot pudding. My absolute favourite was the lemon cheese tarts! I remember the weekends filled with Christmas baking, everything displayed out on the table and getting to taste each treat as they were finished.
This is a tradition that I have carried on for my family. Each December we begin by decorating. The Christmas tree is the first thing to be put up, along with the outdoor lights. It’s at that time that our Elf Charlie comes to visit as she can see that we have the Christmas spirit. My kids love our Elf, its something they look forward to each year. This is a new tradition that I have begun, as a child, we didn’t have an Elf.
The Christmas music fills the air, I always buy a few holiday scented candles to light every day during the month of December. We watch all the traditional movies, but our favourites seem to be “The Santa Clause” and “Christmas with the Kranks”. “Winnie-the-Pooh”, and “Mickeys Christmas Carol” are two of MY favourite. We do our annual Christmas tree camp-out but it has been whittled down to just Bella and I as Kaydn and Brady don’t really enjoy it.
Then its the baking. Nanaimo bars are a favourite in our home. They always seem to be the first ones to be eaten. This year, along with the Nanaimo bars, I made my Mom’s Ritz cracker cookies. They are topped with crushed pecans that are caramelized with Eagle Brand condensed milk and then iced with vanilla icing. I made my Gramma Dolly’s caramel marshmallow cookies, which are marshmallows dipped in melted Macintosh Toffee and Eagle Brand condensed milk and rolled into crushed Special K cereal. For the last 2 years, I have done a batch of sugar cookies which I have given to the nieces and nephews. And this year I had decided to make a new recipe, Pepparkakor (Swedish ginger thins). I found this recipe in the Canadian Living magazine, but what made me try it was Brady’s grandmother each year would make her Norwegian gingersnaps. They had become one of my favourites. Gingerbread has such a beautiful spicy aroma, and I just love the flavour. So yesterday I made up a batch. They turned out perfectly. The warm scent of gingerbread filled my home. The Christmas music was playing in the background. My favourite part was getting to decorate them with royal icing. I love being able to get creative.
We can create our own new traditions and carry them along with us each year. This new cookie will be one that I will make again next year. Not only are the cookies delicious and beautiful, but the aroma of the gingerbread, the Christmas music, the memory of Nan, will all come flooding back. Which is the BEST part about a Christmas tradition.