What I have always loved most about Christmas is tradition. There is something about doing the same thing every year that makes me happy. It seems that my family is rather big on tradition, and we enjoy quite a few of them at Christmas.
We visit the Stanley Park Train, sit on Santa’s knee, we celebrate on Christmas eve with a low key meal of cold cuts, cheeses, and pickles, we always sing carols (some in German), and the stockings in this family are out of this world.
Growing up I always assumed that our Christmas traditions were the same as everyone else, but as I grew and experienced more of the world it became clear that some of ours were unique and that there are LOTS of traditions we don’t observe as well. My favourite is Baking Day!
Baking Day ::: a family Christmas tradition
One of our more usual traditions is baking. Every year we bust out with Christmas baking and 11 years ago, when my cousin Holly and I turned 18, we instituted Baking Day. It falls on the first Sunday of December (I know, we freeze everything) and the Weinrath ladies who live in the lower mainland get together for some serious baking. We generally bring one thing we’ve made ahead and we make 2 or 3 things on baking day, enough to share with everyone. It makes for some amazing treat plates with a signature high level of variety.
We get going around 9 or 10 and bake until 5 or 6 (or later depending on who starts the truffles late…it was me….3 years ago….they haven’t let me forget it). It’s a long day of laughs and carols, eating and working. There are inevitable cried of ‘I forgot to double the baking soda!’, ‘who stole my tupperware!’, or ‘this recipe didn’t work at all!’.
There are favourites (butter tarts, nanaimo bars, and linzer cookies) and new comers (this year I tried Maple Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge bars) and some that only make the rounds every other year (hand dipped truffles are just so much work). My mum created an official baking day binder for everyone a few years ago and we realized this year that it is time for an upgrade. We have more tips and tricks for the favourites and a whole host of new faves as well. Baking day may be tradition, but the details change with the times.
While I have usually enjoyed baking day successes, I have also had my fair share of failure. I have burned a few things, left things outside for the birds, chilled layers that should not be chilled, forgotten critical ingredients, and there was the infamous pink mint meringues (they looked like nipples in a bad way and tasted awful, it really couldn’t have been worse). I wouldn’t change baking day for the world. It’s a day set aside for togetherness and creation, 2 things I love most all about the holiday season. From my family to yours here is my recipe for Peanut Butter Bark:
Peanut Butter Bark Recipe :::
- 500g White Chocolate
- 1.5 cups smooth peanut butter (don’t use natural, think Kraft)
- 250g Dark or Semi Sweet Chocolate
Line a lipped baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure that some hangs over all sides. Melt the white chocolate and peanut butter together and stir until smooth. Melt the dark chocolate in a separate pot. Pour the white chocolate peanut butter mixture onto the baking sheet, pour the dark chocolate in dollops over top. Take a butter knife and swirl the 2 chocolate mixtures until you are satisfied with your pattern (don’t over swirl). Cool in the fridge and cut into squares or triangles. Tada!
What’s your favourite holiday tradition? Do you have a special recipe to share?
This Christmas, Emily and I are sharing our holiday traditions, favourite gift knits, and some tips and stories in these ’12 days of christmas’ posts… There’ll be a little something every day until Santa! We have had such a lovely time getting to know you through your emails, Facebook posts, and instagram photos, and we want to reach out and share a bit more about us in a time where love and joy flow a bit more freely. If you don’t already get our emails, sign up to get our special Christmas gift!!
Little lovelies that make perfect last minute gifts:
December 13, 2013 @ 8:00 pm
My aunt has carried on the family tradition of decorating cookies-she invites all the cousins over, bakes a ton of sugar cookies and gingerbreads, and we have at it with icing and sprinkles and tiny candies. This year’s will be our last cookie day, as she’s moving to the Interior next year-I will miss it! Maybe even enough to take on the tradition myself :)
December 13, 2013 @ 2:08 pm
I bake like crazy throughout December. I’m already trying to figure out what I can cut from my list this year and still be happy with the selection. I’ve done all the cookies but haven’t managed to decorate them yet (santa’s whiskers, shortbread, sugar cookies, spritz cookies & gingerbread). That peanut butter bar looks fantastic!! (But I’m not allowed to add to my list).
December 13, 2013 @ 2:06 pm
Butter tarts! I remember those from my childhood in Canada. I recently found a little place in Edinburgh where I can get homemade Nanaimo bars. Just as well it isn’t open every day or I’d be the size of a house! Very tempted by the peanut butter bark. I’ll just send you my monthly gym membership fee?!
December 15, 2013 @ 8:07 am
Oooh where is the place to buy Nanaimo bars?! I NEED one now!
December 15, 2013 @ 8:23 am
You can get Nanaimo bars at Thinking Chocolate, 19 London Rd in Meadowbank. The owner is going to start making mint versions! Leave some for me!
December 13, 2013 @ 10:52 am
Traditions are just so lovely :D)