MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
The season of Christmas is HERE! I love Christmas (I mean, who doesn't?) for all of the same reasons you do but I especially love this holiday because of the traditions I share with my husband John and our families!
T H E T R A D I T I O N S
1. Dinner, decorating the tree, and Christmas music - Every year, John and I pick a day to go out and buy a real Christmas tree. I like to buy the tree and let it rest for a couple of days before we decorate it. We usually purchase it on a Wednesday or Thursday so that by Friday or Saturday the branches have relaxed and it's ready for decorating! On decorating day, we cook a hearty meal to eat before we dive into the tinsel and ornaments. This year, John made a huge bowl of clam chowder and garlic cheddar biscuits. After our bellies are full, we crank up the Christmas tunes and start wrapping the lights and ribbons around the tree.When we got married, my Mom and John's mom gave us all of the childhood ornaments that were so special to us as kids. John and I also make it a point to pick up an ornament from wherever we are on our travels throughout the year. It's fun remembering where we were when we hang the ornaments or reminisce about childhood Christmas memories. After the tree is decorated, we watch a Christmas movie!
2. Opryland & Neighborhood Lights - One night during the season, John and I venture out to the Opryland Hotel to walk around and gaze at the holiday lights. This hotel is like something straight out of Vegas! It's elaborately decorated with beautiful lights and Christmas trees, not to mention the gorgeous floral arrangements and landscaping that's on display year round. We like to have dinner at the hotel and then grab a coffee or apple cider and walk around from wing to wing looking at all of the decorations. Outside, you can take a carriage ride and see a stunning nativity scene.
3. Christmas Movies! We love all the classics: Elf, The Holiday, Four Christmases, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation and of course, It's A Wonderful Life. We always save "It's A Wonderful Life" for Christmas eve - it's one of my favorites and tugs at my heart every time!
4. Baking - Before heading home to visit our families for the holiday, I spend an entire day in the kitchen whiping up yummy treats such as Christmas bark (toffee), Chex Mix, and Apple Butter. I love gifting friends and family with these delicious goodies - my Granddaddy looks forward to a big jar of apple butter every year. I've shared my recipe below!
A P P L E B U T T E R R E C I P E
2lbs peeled, cored & sliced granny smith apples
2lbs peeled, cored & sliced gala apples
2 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 vanilla bean (or splash of vanilla extract)
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. all spice
Combine apples & cider in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon and all spice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes or until mixture is thick. *If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to smooth out the lumpy apples before scooping into glass jars. I buy the glass jars at Hobby Lobby.
G E T T H E L O O K
All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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