Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas memories... starting over again

In 1992, when my daughters were 5, 8 and 11, we spent a week with their northern cousins in Hilton Head for Thanksgiving. We celebrated an early Christmas together. We had brought a small artificial tree over from Atlanta and decked it out with handmade craft paper ornaments, shells and photographs of the family. The 11 year old's dressed up like Santa and his Elf and handed out our family secret Santa pic presents. It was spontaneous and fun.

We started a tradition way back then, an activity to keep the 8 kids under 11 busy for an afternoon. We made graham cracker gingerbread houses and some buttercream icing and let the kids go to town with bowls of candy, marshmallows and pretzels.

A few weeks later, for Christmas in Atlanta, I told the girls they could each invite 2 friends and we'd host a gingerbread house party, all the age groups together. I constructed 9 graham cracker gingerbread houses with Royal icing ahead of time, so they'd have time to dry and be stable. We put the leaf in the kitchen table and set up for the party. We set out dishes of every colorful small candy we could think of, along with tootsie rolls, pretzels, fruit loops, coconut, strawberry licorice, candy canes, spearmint leaves... and gum drops. The kids each decorated their own house and ate their fill of candy. All I served was punch to drink.

It was always an all girl party, until later in high school when Kelly started inviting her boyfriend (now husband) and his friends. These kids continued this party even through college! One of the friends even commented about it last week on FB! I know it's a fond Christmas memory for them as it is for me.

So... for Carter's first Christmas, this weekend I am making him a graham cracker gingerbread house. Maybe he can invite a friend over, ha! I'm sure he'll enjoy chewing on graham crackers while his Mom, his Auntie Alex and I decorate and eat candy. It will be the first annual for Carter! Next year Baby M will come. I hope the same happy Christmas memories can continue through the years for all my grandbabies...

Traditions are the best, keep them alive!


  1. Oh Boy!!! Carter and I can't wait to decorate =) Have fun tomorrow. See you soon xoxoxox

  2. How fun it all sounds & I'm sure Carter is on board for all of it! You are truly blessed with a loving, lovely family...

  3. What a great tradition!! More great memories. xoxo

  4. I'm sure the pics will be adorable. Have a merry Christmas and a very happy new year. :)


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