Monday, December 23, 2019

Creating Holiday Memories by Laura Ashwood

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the memories that are created each year. When I think about Christmas, I am flooded with memories. When I was little, my grandparents on my mom's side lived in a tiny duplex and when the whole family would come for the holidays (they had 9 kids, so do that math!) we were stacked in like cord wood. No one even thought of getting a hotel. My bed was a little palette on the floor under the sink in the laundry/storage room with my cousin next to me in the narrow aisle between the shelves and the sink with another cousin at her feet in front of the washing machine. Those were great times. We'd giggle all night long, never caring where we were, just that we were there. It's coming back to my grandparent's on my dad's side after midnight mass on Christmas Eve and everyone else would be in the living room or getting ready for bed but my grandma and I would cut into a loaf of fresh baked bread and slather it with butter and a slice of cheese and have our own special treat. To this day (they also had 9 kids, so the house was FULL), I still can't believe we were able to have that special time alone.

Now that my grandparents are gone and I am a grandparent myself, it's important to me to create memories for my kids and grandkids that they can look back on. Part of the way I do that is in creating the atmosphere.

A beautifully decorated tree that fills the room with it's glowing lights and subtle pine smell brings me back to Christmases past without even trying. The ornaments I've inherited and will pass along are displayed front and center. The Mr. and Mrs. Claus to the left of the tree belonged to my husband's parents and bring a piece of them into the house.

The other thing I do is bake. I remember baking and frosting cookies with my mom as a child and being excited as an adult to go back "home" so I could eat those same frosted cookies.  Now that we have grown kids and grandkids, they can come "home" and have that same experience.

This year I made "baby Yoda" cookies for my daughter, who may have a tiny obsession with that character. I also made our family favorite, caramel puffcorn and yes, that IS a chihuahua cookie hiding with the baby Yodas.

The recipe for caramel puffcorn is:

1 bag (9 oz) Old Dutch Puffcorn
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 cup butter
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 250°F. Over med heat, heat butter, sugar and syrup until sugar is melted. Once mixture has melted, remove from heat and whisk in the baking soda (this will cause the mixture to foam). Dump the puffcorn into a large roasting pan and pour caramel mixture over the puffcorn. I use a large heat-proof spatula (scraper) to gently stir until mixed. Place uncovered in oven for 45 minutes, stirring at least every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, pour on wax paper and spread out as much as you can. Cool, break apart and Enjoy.

What do you do to create holiday memories at your house?

May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow. Wish you lots of love, joy, and happiness. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xo, Laura

This is my Gus "helping" us decorate our tree...

Just in time for your new year planning, I'm giving away to my readers not one, but FOUR of them on my blog! Good luck!


  1. I pass on the things I did at Christmas as a child with my family to my son and now my granddaughters.

  2. I love remembering my childhood memories and making new ones!