a Christmas Collection: recipes, traditions & music

It’s a week before Christmas eve and I’ve not baked up a storm.

Our personal stamp on Christmas for the last twenty years, our unique version of Christmas family traditions, was super fun to decide in our early family’s life. Falling back on the same traditions year after year creates a continuity, a collection of memories, that meld our hearts and our stories together. 

Our first Christmas, I tried recipes I found in a Martha Stewart magazine. Yes, Martha is challenging, and often cliché, but her recipes are guaranteed (cliché for a reason). I put a gold snowflake sticker in the corner of those recipe cards to remind me to use those recipes year after year, and I have. 

Our Christmas baking collection (I’ll start in three days):

Martha Stewart lemon bars.

Lemon was not my original go to flavour, but the crunchy top layer, gooey lemony tang middle and chewy bottom layer, make it perfect every time.

These are usually made before the kids have shared their dance performances in our artistic community:


Our gingerbread is made from a spice cutout cookie recipe. Turn those cookies upside down and you can decorate them into reindeer. (Like we attempted in my last blog).

Most years we’ve hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange & Tea with other homeschool families. There are oodles of cookies to share with your family.

Gingerbread house decorating. 

If you don’t think Pinterest pins are challenging enough, try a Martha Stewart gingerbread house. 

Mocha Almond Shortbread.

I am the only one in the fam that loves this recipe, and I make it every year anyway.

As annual as the consumption of this platter of shortbread is my attempt at playing Christmas carols on our piano. I am not a trained pianist, but I love to work through our Treasury of Christmas Carols. 

Christmas Eve breakfast.

Santa smoothie, fruit salad, sausages, an orange in the middle of a round loaf (creating the Little Women movie), decorated silver with twine and a sprig of green.

Christmas eve dinner.

A roast, maybe a prime rib, with all the fixings…a pantry tomato tart, cranberry mould, green beans, roasted tomatoes, pomegranate mesclun goat cheese salad, and a bottle of red, preferably Chilean Malbec, and a basket of homemade rolls, Yorkshire puddings and nutmeg mashed potatoes.

Enough carbs to finish three leftover meals. Want to know how to pair a roast with wine? 

After dinner is all cleaned up (everyone’s help definitely required), pull out that advent wreath, remember the most beautiful gift of all this season, freedom, redemption, forgiveness and peace. 

Matthew 1:18-25 18

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the LORD had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the LORD had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

Christmas breakfast.

Brie, oven toast (cream drizzled over halved buns and oven baked with fruit jams) and a glass of Villa Teresa Prosecco.

I love this page, “How To Eat Brie“… no one needs to teach me how to eat it, except I know I need to eat it quickly (before it gets eaten).

Christmas dinner.

Leftovers! (One of this mama’s favourite words). 

Leftovers on Christmas day means you don’t have to cook. This is an underrated tradition. You can lay around in your new pyjamas (which you bought and wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree) and read those new books, eat that chocolate, sip that prosecco after nibbles of gingerbread dusted pecans, listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s version of the Christmas Song, while the fire blazes in the background.

Then it’s time to switch to New Year’s lite: kale salads and quinoa almond breakfast bowls.

Merry Christmas preparations to all and to all a good week!