A Non-traditional Traditional Christmas

Hello, wonderful readers! Since it’s nearly Christmas, I thought I’d share a post from the past.

Two years ago, my good friend, Brea Essex, hosted one of my blog posts on her 25 Days of Christmas series. I thought I’d revamp the post and share it here. Hope you enjoy!


A Non-traditional Traditional Christmas
Okay, don’t freak out, but I really abhor the majority of holiday traditions—at least, those made up by the retail industry to get us to indulge in ourselves. For example, I’m not big on Thanksgiving food. I know, cardinal sin, right? My ideal Thanksgiving meal would actually be all the best quality meat I could find, cooked to perfection, and chopped into bite-sized pieces in order to dip into the made-from-scratch cheese fondue I would have bubbling on the table. And, I’d have some vegetables to dip too—can’t forget that.
I become very agitated with Black Friday and even Cyber Monday. Do we need to buy all those “goodies?” I mean, does Mom really need another food processor? Would Aunt Mable truly appreciate that quilted leather jacket just because it was half off? And, will Grandma’s garden look better with all those plastic gnomes? Maybe I sound like the Grinch, but when I hear stories of how people are held at gunpoint outside Best Buy on Black Friday and are told to give up that new PlayStation they bought, it brings a great feeling of anger to my spirit. Is this where “tradition” has brought us?
I'm the ghost of Christmas disappointment.

I’m the ghost of Christmas disappointment.

I get the whole décor bit for Christmas time and other holidays too, but honestly, I don’t think we need to have a winter wonderland in Macy’s in October. What ever happened to enjoying each season for what it is? What is the reason or meaning behind what many of us repeat thoughtlessly year after year? What is the meaning of Christmas?
Growing up, we didn’t always have the endless stream of presents that each child dreams of, but we always had enough—more than enough, actually. There were years that Christmastime may have appeared sparse to other onlookers, but I never knew the difference. My mom made sure that Christmas was special for my sister and I. One particular tradition comes to mind when I think of my childhood Christmases.
My mom would drive us around for an hour or so to see Christmas lights at night. We would try to find the BEST house and made our votes for the top candidates. Just spending that time together was magical. We didn’t receive anything tangible, but instead had one of the most precious commodities anyone could want—TIME. Time together. Having our mom spend time with us was the best gift I could have received. I believe there really is no price you can place on time spent with loved ones.
Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 16.31.56
Sometimes, giving of yourself is the most lasting gift you can give to anyone. Out of the many gifts I’ve received over the years, the ones that I still “have” are gifts of time—presence—from loved ones. I probably have about five actual presents from past Christmases and the rest are forever forgotten. But, I will never forget the time my family has spent together over the years.
Another tradition that comes to mind is that of gingerbread house building with my sister and one of our close family friends. For about ten years, we had a tradition of building gingerbread houses from scratch. Some years, they turned out pretty sketchy…
Other years, they turned out great!
The point is: we do this to spend time together—again, the whole presence theme. So, ask yourself: what does Christmas mean for you? Is it a stressful time where you bust your budget to get things that your receiver is going to sell on eBay December 26th? Or, is it a peaceful time where you get the chance to spend time with loved ones and pour into their lives? Are you rushing around, ignoring the people right in front of you just to impress guests, or are you present in the moment? This Christmas, I encourage you to take a non-traditional approach and do something different.
What if you chose to skip on presents this year and donated money to those less fortunate? What if you cancelled that Christmas Eve extravaganza at your house and instead took your family driving around town to find the best lit house? Happiness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it will cost you something—time. Taking the time to remember the meaning of Christmas and pressing pause on your busy, hectic life to enjoy what you already have is something that will never go out of fashion. So, have a very merry, non-traditional traditional Christmas!
Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! <3

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! ❤

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

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Blog Hop:  12 Days of Christmas

Event Date:  December 1st  – 12th 2013

Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

Featured book on this blog (Day 8): Feast Island by Tamar Hela

Giveaways listed below. Enter for your chance to win!

My Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe:

IMG_3536Almond & Apricot Thumbprint Cookies

 (Recipe from MarthaStewart.com)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat almond butter and butter on medium until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat just until combined (dough will be slightly crumbly).

  2. Step 2

    Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and gently roll in sugar to coat. Place on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are puffed, 8 minutes. Remove sheets from oven and, with the bottom of a round 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in center of each cookie. Bake until set, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks, 20 minutes. Stir jam and spoon 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Feast Island Cover Ed 2

Summary: Seven teenagers from Northern California are assigned a seemingly innocent group project for their freshman English class. Little do they know, this project will literally take them on a journey out of this world. Cantelia appears much like Earth, until the kids realize magic is as plentiful as the danger surrounding them. A dark and evil ruler has placed a curse on the tribal people of Sikuku Island—the same island where the teens have been transported. Now, they must help the tribal people break the curse if they ever want to see their own planet again. Join Alex and her friends as they learn that there is so much more beyond their comfortable lives in Pollock Pines and its legendary Spirit Lake.

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Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author

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For more Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes & Giveaways – Hop along the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!    

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

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12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop~Day 1!

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12 Days of Christmas

December 1st – 12th 2013

Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

Day 1

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!!!

Everyone has a YUMMY cookie recipe to share and there are some extra little treats scattered around the Hop too, so be sure to visit each of the Authors and Bloggers blogs to make sure you don’t miss out on something SWEET!

Also for an extra special something in your stocking check out the Rafflecopter GRAND PRIZE Giveaway below.

I hope you are on Santa’s Nice List!

IMG_3462Mocha Slice Cookies with Candy Cane “Sprinkles”

 Recipe from MarthaStewart.com

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
  • Coarse sanding sugar


  1. Step 1

    Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle; mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in cocoa nibs.

  2. Step 2

    Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap in parchment; transfer to a paper towel tube to hold shape. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap log, and let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Brush with water, then roll in sanding sugar. Cut log into 1/4-inchthick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

  4. Step 4

    Bake until centers are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Note: When I made these last Christmas, I added crushed candy canes instead of sanding sugar. It was tricky, but turned out great in the end!

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Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author

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12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop


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