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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

‘Tis the season for traditions. Whether the tradition is putting up a tree, decorating it, baking cookies, or singing carols by the fire, the Christmas season is filled with shared beliefs and customs that many of us observe.

By definition, a tradition is “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice.”  The holiday of Christmas itself is a tradition.

But what are some of your unique traditions? Do you have a special plate you need to eat off of on Christmas? Do you serve something special on Christmas Eve?  In our family, we all gather at my mom and dad’s for a big Christmas Eve dinner. While the dinner is wonderful, one of the more unique traditions is that of the wreath hanging from the light in the kitchen. On first glance this wreath seems like a festive decoration, but upon more careful examination, you will see gifts hanging from it. Yes, the wreath  “gives” out presents to everyone there, which helps quiet the kids begging to open at least one gift on Christmas Eve.

The holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family and friends, to celebrate old and new traditions. What are some of your traditions? Share a favorite holiday family tradition below for a chance to win a FREE Christmas Cookbook. The winner will be selected at random tomorrow morning. Share your traditions and be sure to watch this space to see if YOU win.


1 Frutero { 12.24.10 at 4:26 pm }

Afternote: my friend from down the road and I sat in my garden and had some of that summer peach ratafia on the first day of winter. It was excellent. Here is the recipe (though it’s not quite so exact):
Wide-mouth bottle or jar of about 1 quart capacity
1/5 blond rum
Peaches, cut into thin slices or bits, enough to fill jar
Cane sugar, white or turbinado
Layer enough peaches to cover bottom, follow with enough sugar to cover peaches, then enough rum to cover both. Note how much you use of each, because further layers will be harder to eyeball.
Repeat till vessel is full. Close or stopper (note: this doesn’t fizz, so no need to vent). Fruit will float.
Stir on first day of autumn, and again on November 1. By November, fruit should be sinking.
On first day of winter, uncork and drink to a fruitful year. Enjoy through holiday season, and when ratafia is gone, take fruit and make fruitcake, mince pies, or sundaes!

2 Frutero { 12.14.10 at 2:12 pm }

Actually, distinctive customs were something we associated with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Eve, we always prepared sandwich loaf, which was not to be cut and served until the stroke of midnight. In the South, of course, the mandatory New Year’s Day feast is pork with blackeyed peas, but in Florida, weather permitting, one starts a garden or plants fruit trees. Weather not permitting, or where weather never permits, it’s a good day to plan a garden and/or make up a seed order. Another custom for the winter holidays must be planned ahead of time. On the first day of summer, you take the local ready fruit (peaches, Chickassaw plums, or wild cherries here; strawberries further north) and put down a ratafia. This is stirred once on November 1, but not drunk until the first day of winter. The brandied (or rummed or vodka’d) fruit left behind is excellent in fruitcakes, parfaits, or sundaes. Likely these customs are all old country charms designed to encourage plentiful harvests in the coming year.

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