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Merry Christmas! Pass the tamales, please. - Hill Country Homeplace

Merry Christmas! Pass the tamales, please.

Nativity scenes, snow, evergreen trees, twinkling lights, ringing bells, turkey or ham, and whiffs of cinnamon- all of these things and more call to mind the Christmas season!!

These sights, sounds, tastes,  and smells bring forth memories and sometimes a sense of tradition. They are so familiar to most of us that they seem as though they might be common to us all and yet I was recently reminded that they likely are not. That is to say that each person has different traditions and memories surrounding this season.

You see my family attended a Christmas party recently and we played Christmas movie bingo, which included movies such as: Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, Home Alone one and two, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, White Christmas, Scrooged, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, etc.etc…… I imagine that many of you are thinking of Christmas movie titles that aren’t on this list right now. There are so many! Yet, my husband and I were complete Christmas movie bingo failures! It was pretty clear that this is one holiday tradition that we have not kept up with. We had only seen a few of these very popular movies. “Keep the change you filthy animal!” was our bright and shining moment! Yes, we finally knew one!

This got me to thinking about the traditions that we do keep!  We celebrate Christmas eve night and Christmas morning at HOME every year.  We read about our Savior’s birth in Luke, then we read the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and The Littlest Angel every Christmas eve.  Presents are always opened Christmas morning and then followed by cinnamon monkey bread!  Then we relax and soak in our blessings: forgiveness, grace, mercy, family, and love! It is truly the ONE day in the year that we set completely aside to bask in God’s goodness!

Now, since I have shared my little Hallmark moment with you let me share a Christmas custom that is part of my heritage and might surprise you! If this is the meal you dream of for Christmas then it might surprise you to know that when I think of Christmas foods I think of tamales!!

Yep, you read that right, the girl with the Irish name craves food with Spanish names this time of year! Pork, chicken, bean and cheese, even raisin I like them all and even though you can get them at restaurants year round in Texas they taste best at Christmas time! You see I grew up in deep South Texas and every year about the time that Wal-Mart takes down their Halloween displays tamale trucks would start appearing on the side of roadways.  These were local families earning money to buy Christmas presents for their families by supplying other families with their Christmas feast! It is tradition!

So, I ask you dear readers what are your favorite Christmas traditions (quirky or otherwise)? Share the things you love about the season in the comments so that we can all enjoy, and as you tuck into your turkey just think of my family eating tamales, pozole, buñuelos, and pan de polvo!

Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!

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  • As the years have passed my traditions at Christmas have changed. When my children were young it was all about getting home for Christmas. We left Kansas City, Kansas and drove through snow and ice to southern Oklahoma to get home to Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. (Looking back- not the brightest thing we did!) Every year we spent Christmas with family- no matter where we lived. But now our tradition is to get to where our Children and Grandchildren are! Several years ago, I started a new tradition with my Grandchildren. Each Christmas we do a different game. One year it was a treasure hunt, where they had to follow clues to find their presents. Another year, I hid gifts in balloons and they had to pop them to retrieve their gifts. One of the favorites of the Grandkids was where I tied yarn of different colors all over the house weaving in and out the different colors. Each color of yarn had number tags and the kids had to work together to unravel the yarn to see what gift numbers they received. This year- I hope will be the most fun game yet. But we will see. Even though it may not be exactly on Christmas Day it is in this season that we reflect on the memories, joy, and the goodness of God. We look forward make new memories with one of the greatest gifts God has blessed us with- our Children and Grandchildren.

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