Traditions are what makes the Holidays so special and coming up with new traditions to celebrate with your family is even better. Every year when we were little we would have a cup of hot warm cocoa with mini marsh mellows while we decorated the tree. I remember feeling so special while holding that cup of creamy sweet chocolate and watching with my brother and sisters as the tree slowly came to life. We were always in our footsy jamies, the red "Annie" ones were my favorite and we always put out a small plate of cookies for Santa by our fire place, a rarity in Phoenix to be enjoyed only once a year on Christmas Eve. The expectations and anticipations of Christmas come flooding back to me now that I have 4 children of my own. I relish in living vicariously through their utter thrill of all of the magic of the Holidays.
Keeping up with most of the traditions that mine and my husbands families enjoyed so much and cherishing the new ones our own little family have started. Going to Cost Plus World Market every year and letting all of the kids and ourselves pick out one special ornament to hang on the tree is a tradition that we started many years ago with our children. This has proven to be such a treat as the kids bounce out of their slippers every year as we drag out the Christmas boxes and let them rifle through the ornaments finding the ones with their initials and the year marked on them that they chose them and then hanging them perfectly on the tree. I know that we will cherish those ornaments forever and ever.
Making the hot cocoa that literally defines Christmas in my humble opinion is another tradition we have stuck with. I however prefer to make it with a good quality cocoa powder and sucanat or turbinado (organic) sugar instead of the boxed/packaged/overly processed variety and then adding a bit of pure peppermint extract and using a peppermint candy stick to stir up the chocolate that settles at the bottom of the cup. Mini marsh mellow are of course Absolutely, Positively still Required. After all a little bit of marsh mellowy goodness never hurt anybody.
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