Christmas Traditions

The innards of one of my finer Christmas balls produced over the years.

My family celebrated Christmas when I was growing up. Today, my family celebrates everything. After all, that’s the Christmas spirit.

But this year’s celebrations are special. It’s been a rough year for many of my friends. And a relative – the last survivor from the old generation – has just passed away.

That won’t dampen our spirit, though. One of the few upsides to tough times is that they help you appreciate what really matters: friends and family. And that has led to an even greater appreciation for the joy of giving this year, so I think it’s going to be a wonderful Christmas for my family.

Our final tray of Christmas cookies. Well, technically I suppose they are chocolates, but whatever.

In fact, this year I decided to pass on one of the family traditions to the next generation. My mother had taught me how to make our family’s secret Christmas balls, a special peanut butter dipped in chocolate cookie that I’ve now been making for the past 20-plus years.

My youngest nephew has always been eager to learn the recipe, and the magic that makes it work, so I had him join me this past weekend to learn the ways of the ball. It’s a two-day process, and things didn’t go exactly as planned. To be fair, we were experimenting with some new chocolate, and it was a learning moment. But I think they turned out okay. They are far from the best I’ve ever produced, but they’re still delicious.

Which, in a way, is kind of like Christmas. Things might not go quite like you planned. You may not get what you wanted, and your gifts might not produce the intended reaction. But it’s still Christmas, when the people nearest and dearest are gathered to give from the heart and stuff their face with chocolate peanut butter balls. And that’s all that really matters.

Happy Holidays!