More than any other holiday, Christmas is steeped in traditions that pass from one generation to the next. From Santa Claus and mistletoe to decorating a tree, stringing popcorn and hanging stockings, there are countless ways to celebrate this festive time of year.
One wonderful tradition celebrated by a New England family is their annual mid-December Cookie Bake. Family members of all ages gather together for one day and bake literally hundreds of cookies and candies, which are then mailed to long-distance relatives and distributed to area schools and businesses. They make Butter Cookies, Ginger Snaps and Almond Macaroons, as well as Chocolate Fudge, Penuche Fudge and Chocolate Walnut Orange Fudge. Other annual favorites include Almond Brittle and Chocolate Whiskey Balls. Not only is a cookie bake a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit, it also brings delight to all cookie recipients!
Christmas Eve is celebrated in many ways by many people. Some opt to exchange gifts rather than on Christmas morning, while others enjoy a traditional meal and leave cookies out for Santa. One New England family tradition is to gather together over a four-course fondue dinner and enjoy one another's company. Lit by candlelight and accompanied by holiday music, this meal is easy to prepare and can take up to four hours to enjoy - offering wonderful time to catch up with one another and play a few board games. Of course, no fondue meal would be complete without the decadent fruit and Chocolate Fondue for dessert!
Yet another family's Christmas Eve meal is Zuppa Di Pesce, a traditional Italian seafood soup loaded with fresh ingredients and guaranteed to stimulate not only the appetite, but great conversation as well! Whatever your method of celebration, Christmas is a great time to not only keep with old family traditions, but create some new ones as well.