My mom and I enjoyed looking through some old holiday pictures recently. We remarked that the best ones were not the ones that found us lined up in front of the tree, lipstick on and dressed in our new holiday outfit, but the ones where we were actually DOING Christmas.
Being a good southern family, there were always biscuits in our house growing up biscuits and gravy to be exact. When my kids came along, it became my Mom’s ‘thing’. Grandmother, as they call her, always made biscuits and gravy. (At home we were more likely to eat frozen waffles…hey, those were busy times…don’t judge me.)
They had to be homemade (okay, from Bisquick), rolled, patted, baked, turned over and broiled ‘til the bottoms had a nice golden color. NO biscuit will be started until everyone has arrived and is starving. We are already sitting at the table when the first batch comes out of the oven. This is how she does it. We eat them like ravenous dogs. We eat them like we have never had a meal this good. She would never serve frozen biscuits, and certainly not biscuits from a can. No matter that the rest of the meal might consist of packaged gravy, turkey bacon and egg beaters. Those biscuits are the real deal.
When I think of holiday pictures, I think of the picture of Mom (Grandmother), in her tiny kitchen, apron on, flour flying and a rolling pin in her hand. There are people buzzing all around, trying to reach the plates or get stuff out of the dishwasher. But Christmas was actually happening. There is a picture almost exactly like this of my own Grandmother ( I called her Nanny), apron on, rolling pin in hand, mugging for the camera in the midst of the chaos.
When I think of holiday pictures, I think of the picture of mom (Grandmother), in her tiny kitchen, apron on, flour flying and a rolling pin in her hand…people buzzing all around…Christmas was actually happening.
Since my kids were born (now 17 and 20) my husband and I have been making cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. It was the tradition in his family growing up. These are also the real deal. Not Pillsbury (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), but homemade. We use the recipe from his Family Cookbook that some of the aunts put together one year shortly after we were married. All the women in the family contributed. If you need a recipe for Karo Pie or Escalloped Pineapple I can hook you up!
The page with the cinnamon rolls has a lot of stains and a few scribbled notes that I made myself. Apparently over the years the exact amounts of some of the ingredients went by the wayside, so I had to try and figure this part out on my own. My contribution is, “sprinkle cinnamon on it ‘til you think you have WAY TOO MUCH.” Also, we no longer use “oleo,” actual butter works really well. We do cheat a little. Turns out our bread machine makes really great dough. At four in the morning that’s what we call #winning.
The page with the cinnamon rolls has a lot of stains and a few scribbled notes that I made myself…My contribution is, “sprinkle cinnamon on it ‘til you think you have WAY TOO MUCH.”
My husband’s tradition is to get up at 4 o’clock on Christmas morning, get the ingredients in the bread machine and build a fire, turn on the music and get us set up for the day. When I get up, we get busy rolling, melting, sprinkling and all the other things you do to cinnamon rolls that make them delicious. And they are.
Traditions are important. When you think back on your growing up years it’s the things “we always did” that you remember first. Parents aren’t perfect. Your growing up years may have been hard. I hope there were a few traditions carried on that help you see the heart of your parents, the good intentions, the love they tried to show. If not, I hope for you that this is something you can build yourself. It may be your tradition to fly by the seat of your pants. If that’s the case, then let it fly! And take some pictures of it. Merry Christmas!