Christmas is finally here! And I can easily say it’s my favorite time of year.
What’s not to love? There’s a chill in the air. Tons of great food and drink – (Christmas Ales to name one). There’s the gift giving. And feeling the true meaning and spirit of the season.
Since this time of year means so much to me, I thought I would share my Christmas thoughts and traditions.
What I Do
Christmas means a lot of different things to people. For Christians, it is about their faith and hope. For others, it might be more about the giving and traditions. Either way, it is easy to see that this time of year has a real impact on how we treat each other.
It’s a marvel how everyone seems to appreciate their family, friends and acquaintances more during this time. We make the extra effort to spend time with one another as the year ends.
I’m no different. And I am blessed to be able to take the final week of the year off from work most years. This means I get to spend even more time with family and friends.
During this week, I am surrounded by family, friends, food and gift giving. Each side of the family hosts Christmas parties during the week and we do our best to attend all of them. I have family travel into my area to visit as well. We attend our Church’s Christmas services and do our best to slow down and appreciate Christmas despite being busier than any other time of the year.
One activity I always look forward to is the Festival Of Lights which is an event that the Cincinnati Zoo does every year. The entire zoo is decorated with lights and it’s a great time. In addition to seeing some of the animals, there’s performances, hot chocolate, and more lights than you can imagine.
What I Drink
Yup, I love egg nog. I’ll enjoy craft beer throughout the Christmas season but egg nog is my go-to guilty pleasure this time of year.
It’s something I grew up enjoying and I can’t get enough of it. I even have a set of the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation themed Moose Mugs. These are perfect for indulging in the sweet flavors of egg nog.
And I am not talking about homemade egg nog and it isn’t spiked either. I am talking about the store bought half gallon of egg nog. It’s creamy, rich and perfect with Christmas cookies.
But be aware, there are impostors out there. You’ll find products like “holiday nog” which are similar but just aren’t the same.
I always look forward to enjoying the rich, heavy flavors of egg nog in December and I will be sad when it is no longer on store shelves.
This year, I plan on making some beer egg nog. Both Anchor and Stone Brewing offer recipes using their winter beers. This sounds like fun but I don’t think it will replace what I’ve grown accustomed to.
What I Eat
Unlike many other Holidays, I can’t really connect many specific meals to Christmas.
For some, ham is a classic option but it’s not something I look forward to. Instead, I crave the desserts – mainly in the form of cookies.
I have no doubt that this came from my childhood. My Mom would bake tons of cookies throughout the Christmas season. Many of these were given away as gifts but I had more than my fair share.
She still bakes today and I get to enjoy those same cookies as an adult. And to make things better, my wife also has a passion for baking. So I get even more amazing desserts.
Here are some of my favorites:
I often can’t stop myself from grabbing a few of these at a time. They have a lot more marshmallow than rice crispy treats and the cinnamon candies add a nice touch.
Yes, these cookies are made without baking. They are super simple to make so they are a good choice if you want your kids to help. I’ve also heard these called “Reindeer Droppings”.
These remind me of my childhood and they are still just as good today. Nothing too fancy here but the result is perfect.
These again are a good option for those with kids because they can help with the task of unwrapping the kisses and then pressing them into the cookies at the end.
I love oatmeal raisin cookies but these are even better. The butterscotch gives them a sweetness that the raisins just can’t match. And since they have oatmeal in them I don’t feel as guilty eating them (I know that doesn’t make much sense)
Can you tell that I like chocolate and peanut butter cookies???
The Beeroness makes some amazing craft beer inspired recipes and this one sounds as easy as it sounds delicious.
And you can’t go wrong with adding a chocolate stout to a chocolate dessert. Go check out The Beeroness and learn more about cooking with beer.
Related Article: Cooking With Craft Beer At Christmas
Regardless of how you view Christmas and it’s meaning, I hope that you can enjoy the spirit of the season. It’s important to spend time with those that mean the most and to do something so they know you appreciate them.
There’s no better way to end the year than to give to others and provide yourself some hope and inspiration for the next year.
Cheers to you and your family! I hope that time moves a little slower over the next week, that you enjoy some amazing craft beer (and egg nog!) and you look forward to 2018 with optimism and hope.
What Are Your Favorite Christmas Traditions?