Southern Holiday Traditions

holiday traditions

Every family has unique traditions, whether it is something as simple as going for a walk after Thanksgiving dinner (like our reader, Julia Swale) or wearing t-shirts donned with spatulas (you have to check out Sarah Pyke’s hilarious tradition). 

Submitted by readers

We hope you are inspired by some of these traditions and recipes and that you focus on creating wonderful, new memories with your with your own families this holiday season…

Cheley Howes

When she was little, my daughter and I always baked Jesus a birthday cake at Christmas. That was our dessert contribution to the family meal!


Holiday traditionsLaura Lebovitz
My favorite holiday tradition is giving my family gifts of time instead of traditional holiday gifts! My family each plans a “date” for each other where we plan out a day to spend together. It’s such a great way to celebrate the holidays and enjoy some family bonding! Last year my gift of time for my mom was a Hunger Games studio tour of Atlanta. It’s a favorite movie for us both, and we had so much fun on the tour together!

 



holiday traditionsSwale Family

My family and I always take a walk between Thanksgiving dinner and dessert. We like to get out and hike a bit to wear off our dinner and to connect with each other. We bring our dogs and all the kids and go to a local park to hike the Ravine Trail. Of course with so many different ages of family members the hike can be challenging to some, but it pays to slow down and reconnect with our loved ones and enjoy the journey together!

 


Trudi Barnes’ Raspberry Coffee Cake
holiday traditionsEvery Christmas we must have our raspberry coffee cake! My mother-in-law made it for years and it just became part of our morning every Christmas along with, of course, bacon and fresh squeezed orange juice! You can make the dough the night before and even roll it out but wait until the morning to add the jam and braid the cake! You will not be sorry! So good!

Ingredients:- 3 oz. cream cheese
– 4 Tbsp of butter
– 2 cups Bisquick
– ⅓ cup milk
– ½ cup seedless raspberry jam

Icing:
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 1 to 2 Tbsp milk
– ½ tsp vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cream cheese and butter into Bisquick. I do this in my Cuisinart. Add milk slowly to Cuisinart while running to make a stiff dough. The dough should pull off the sides and make a ball. Knead the dough 8 to 10 times and roll on parchment paper into a rectangle approximately 14 x 10 inches or so. Try to make sure the dough is not too thick so that it cooks completely through. Spread jam down the center (1/3 width) almost to the ends. Cut 1 inch slices down each side right up to the jam. Alternate sides and pull the strips up and over the jam. Make sure the strips overlap a bit in the center. This will keep the coffee cake from pulling open when you bake it. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool while you make the icing. Drizzle icing over cake. I usually only use about 1/2 the icing otherwise it can be too sweet! Is that actually possible? Serve with crispy delicious bacon!


Truex Family Reindeer Chow
Christmas is our favorite time of year! We enjoy celebrating with our family and honoring traditions from our own childhoods. Our girls each open one gift on Christmas Eve. The gift is always the same- new Christmas pajamas and holiday story books. We also love baking treats to share. Our favorite treat is “Reindeer Chow.” 

Simple to make and always a crowd pleaser! 

Ingredients:
– 9 cups Chex Cereal
– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
– ½ cup smooth peanut butter, melted
– ¼ cup butter, melted
– 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla 
– 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions: Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter for 1 minute on high. Stir. Cook for 30 seconds or longer or until smooth. Add vanilla. Pour mixture into cereal in large bowl, stirring until coated evenly.Pour mixture in large Ziplock bag and add powdered sugar. Shake until evenly coated. Spread on wax paper to cool. Enjoy! Best if stored in Ziplock or air-tight container.Directions: Melt chocolate, peanut butter, and butter for 1 minute on high. Stir. Cook for 30 seconds or longer or until smooth. Add vanilla. Pour mixture into cereal in large bowl, stirring until coated evenly.Pour mixture in large Ziplock bag and add powdered sugar. Shake until evenly coated. Spread on wax paper to cool. Enjoy! Best if stored in Ziplock or air-tight container.



Sarah Pyke

We get the whole family together a few weeks before Christmas order a ton of Chinese food and play “Chinese Christmas.” My Grandmother’s family, The Henson’s, began the Chinese Christmas tradition and we have been doing it my entire life. There is a pile of wrapped gifts in the middle of everyone and a bowl of numbers. Each player picks a number from a bowl and whoever has number 1 unwraps the first gift. Whoever has number 2 can either steal the unwrapped gift or pick from the pile. This goes on until each person gets a gift! If someone steals your gift you get to unwrap or steal and so forth! It’s always gifts like batteries or shaving cream, gas gift cards, and ALWAYS a spatula. It’s an ongoing joke that my grandmother always forgets that she already bought one spatula for the gift pile and we end up with at least three spatulas in the gift pile every year. We even have t-shirts now with spatulas on them to wear for the game! Always a fun time and we always schedule the game so everyone can make it! Especially when we can’t all be together sometimes on Christmas Day!


Grandma Lillian Swale’s Hungarian Coffee Cake
Ingredients:
– 2 sticks of butter
– 2 cups of sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 2 cups of cake flour
– 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
– 1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
– ½ cup brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– ¼ – ½ cup chopped nuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, fold in sour cream, add vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Place ½ of the batter in a well-greased, lined, tube pan. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle half of the topping on top of the batter. Add the remaining batter and then add the remaining topping. Be sure to get all of the air out if you can. If you desire, add vanilla glaze to the cake after it’s cool. Enjoy!



Shay’s Famous Sausage Stars
Ingredients:
– 1 lb. pork sausage
– 1¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
– 1¼ cup Monterrey Jack cheese
– 1 cup prepared Ranch dressing
– 1 small can sliced black olives
– 1 tsp. ground red pepper (or to taste)
– 1 package wonton wrappers

Directions: Cook sausage and drain thoroughly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine and mix drained sausage with cheeses, olives, dressing, and red pepper in a bowl. Lightly grease muffin pans. Press one won ton in each cup and bake for 5 minutes. Then fill each wonton with sausage mixture. Bake an additional 8 minutes until cheese is bubbly.Makes 2 dozen.


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