Every family has their own unique set of Christmas traditions–it is a part of what makes the holidays fun! Cody and I have been able to blend a lot of our traditions and also create some new ones!
On the 20th, we celebrated with my mom’s side of the family over at my Uncle Steve’s house. We had Italian beef, Italian sausage and peppers, meatballs, baked tortellini, antipasti, pasta salads, and bread for dinner–there definitely wasn’t a shortage in food! Yum, yum, yum. We played the white elephant gift exchange and I ended up winning my own gift–a sombrero.
I wasn’t taking that thing home (we have about 15 of them in our basement!) so I gave it to my little cousin Carina to re-wrap and give to my Uncle Steve on Christmas morning–not sure if he would see the humor in it or not!
On Christmas Eve, we go to Battle Creek, MI to celebrate with Cody’s moms side of the family at his Aunt Joan and Uncle Pat’s house. Everyone brings a dish to share and there is always an eclectic mix of appetizers, snacks, crock pot main dishes, and sweets. One thing that has become somewhat of a staple every year is fried shrimp. The boys set up a fryer in the back part of the kitchen and do it up! We play white elephant there too and we came home with a tool set and a Buddha figurine. The Buddha has been going around for years and it is always a hot item. Three years ago, Cody and I had it sitting next to our front door for a whole year. Not sure if that was the best decorating decision I have ever made but it did make us smile every time we walked by. What to do with it now until next Christmas Eve? Hmmm.
On Christmas day, we slept in, had coffee, relaxed on the couch, and watched Magic open his presents. He is our fur baby. We got him a HUGE candy cane shaped raw hide and he loved it.
Late morning, we went over to Cody’s parents house for brunch. Robin made egg casserole, ham, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and fruit. Every year she makes a cheese ball too–not just an ordinary cheese ball–it is the most addictive, delicious cheese ball you will ever have. Having it on Christmas Day is really non-negotiable! There are only 3 ingredients–cream cheese, chipped beef, and green onion. There you have it people, the award-winning family recipe, although, I have a feeling it is the ratio of those 3 things combined that makes or breaks the cheese ball–not sure if anyone but Robin could do it justice! It will change your cheese ball life.
Robin and Jerry always make fudge, cookies, and caramels too. Jerry’s fudge is famous in the family! There is one cookie that steals my heart every year–it is a peanut butter cookie with a mini Reese’s in the center. Robin has even named this the “Gina Cookie”–this is either a really good or a really bad sign!
Christmas afternoon, we headed over to my mom and dad’s house! Every Christmas my dad makes steak and homemade fettucini alfredo. The past few years, he has been making seafood alfredo sauce and it is seriously the best thing in the whole world. I look forward to it two times a year–Christmas and my birthday. He doesn’t even use a recipe, he just goes by taste, sight, and feel. I mean, really, you all should have my dad’s alfredo at least one time in your life.
Hey, we had salad too–that counts for something, right?
My mom is a really good cookie maker! She always makes my Grandma’s “Million Dollar Fudge” recipe and my Grandma’s “Thumbprint Cookie” recipe. Thumbprints only come around on Christmas and they SO remind me of being a little girl. I love them. It really makes me miss my Grandma and Grandpa!
All smiles opening gifts!
Last but not least, we celebrated with my dad’s side of the family on the 26th over at my Grandma Simeri’s house. Once again, no shortage of food–we had beef, ham, mostaccioli, salad, and even a pot of chili! Are you seeing a theme here with Italian families? Food. Yup, lot’s of good food.
We still have Cody’s dads side of the family to celebrate with and will hopefully get to that early on in January. We have 4 nieces and 1 nephew and we always have so much fun watching them open gifts!
Hope your holidays were as jolly as ours! What are your favorite family traditions?