The Traditions

I've been so busy lately that something had to give and unfortunately, posting took a back seat. This is the time of year when everyone gets busy with shopping, decorating, holiday parties and family get-togethers. While talking to the DH the other night after a Christmas party, we both mentioned that the holidays just seem to be so much more rushed than we ever remember them being. We stretch ourselves so thin that we don't relish the things we enjoy but try to cram everything in. Which brought us to the discussion of our family traditions.

One thing I remember was pulling taffy. Now I'm not a huge fan of the gooey, sugary treats, but I can tell you that is was great fun when the holidays rolled around and Mom decided to make a batch of taffy. She'd bubble the sweet goo in a pan until it was just, peppermint green and vanilla white. The taffy was put on a board to cool slightly. Meanwhile, we scrubbed our hands to the nines...inspection took place...we then greased our hands all over with slimy butter. That's when the fun began! My little brother and I would pull hunks of warm goo back and forth all the while having to grease our hands with more butter. Lots of laughing and chatter going on...Percy Faith Christmas music in the background spinning on an old turntable (I'm dating myself here!). When it was finally pulled to perfection...we'd twist the colors together, cut into strips and wrap the goodies in wax paper. What a mess we made but it was so much fun..way more than even eating the stuff!

Now I haven't pulled taffy in years..always afraid that the kids teeth would further the 401K of our dentist. I'm thinking this year, I want to get away from all the commercialism that Christmas has become and bring back all the old traditions that made it special. Are you carrying on any of your family traditions?
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Sarah said…
Hi hon..I am guilty of the seasonal over business myself..the Fall has been a whirlwind of not enough time to breathe. I am sorry hon..I have missed you too!! Thank you for not forgetting me:) Hugs!
We do donuts each much fun and a big mess..but too much fun. I never made taffy..what a wonderful memory!! Hugs to you hon, Sarah
Emmy said…
Wow! That is awesome that you use to pull taffy.

We have the same advent calendar, one I made, that I had growing up. Most of our traditions come on Christmas Eve.

We make gingerbread houses, with graham crackers and lots of candy; we drink hot chocolate, make a fire and sit around the fire while Eric tells the true Christmas story.

We also give the kids new pajamas Christmas Eve so they will look decent when they wake up in the morning. :)
Pulling taffy does sound like fun! I've never done it!

My family doesn't have a lot of traditions around the holidays other than exchanging names for Christmas at Thanksgiving.

This year I am making two pies for Christmas, french silk and a berry pie (berries tbd by what I can find at the time).
Teacher's Pet said…
This is wonderful! I have never pulled taffy!! (I have eaten plenty of it....but never pulled it. What a wonderful tradition.)
Smiles from Jackie
My name is PJ. said…
I haven't pulled taffy in 40 years! I wish I could have been there! That and churning ice cream the old fashioned way are fond memories for me.

My family traditions both when I was little and when my children were little were filled with a lot of hoopla.

Our Christmases now are blessedly quiet and easy. We save the hoopla for Thanksgiving, so when Christmas comes, we're embracing quiet and easy!
Hi Alicia: Pulling taffy? Sounds like great fun . . . your mother was a great sport to be willing to have you all participate in such a messy task. (I have to admit, I thought the picture was of uncooked sausage until I read your text. Taffy is better!)

We don't have old family traditions, as we did not celebrate Christmas in our families of origin. We have however created our own which our children are continuing and enjoying.

A big open armed hug to you too!!
Divine Mrs D said…
That sounds amazing! And no...but I will say that we don't really do the commercialism either.

When my parents moved to Hong Kong, we gave up all of our traditions. But that also means that we don't really buy gifts either. So, instead, Christmas is about spending time together and enjoying an exotic location together.

I do miss those snowy evenings at church though...
Vicky said…
What a lovely remembrance! Way too rushed during the holiday season... I agree. We do a fraction of what we used to growing up. I miss the caroling to what we called the "shut-ins" ( horrible name I think now)... I miss the paper bag of hard candy and peanuts we would get after the Christmas pageant at church... and I miss the excitement over getting a book of lifesavers and thinking it was the best present ever!!
Brian Miller said…
a very cool post...we have less carried on traditions (other than santa) than created our own...mexican on the night we put up the tree, followed by a frosty at wendy's...i dunno where it came from...have not pulled taffy in teeth hurt just thinking about
ellen abbott said…
What fun for a kid. What a great mom.
Alisa said…
Family traditions are the best and so important to me.
When we were kids, on Christmas morning, the schedule went: open stocking, eat breakfast and then open presents. Always at the top of our stocking was an orange and we had to eat it first before emptying the stocking. Breakfast was always the same too... Joe's Special. We do both now, in my home, too.
Sara said…
what a fun tradition! since i am "christmas girl" i try to make most of our activities at Christmas become traditions, but nothing as spectacular as that taffy story!
briannelee said…
Hahahahaha, when I first saw that pic, I thought they were mini hotdogs ;)
Anonymous said…
BUSY BUSY BUSY!! we all get busy during the holidays, family traditions become chores... this year, lets not let that happen!!! The dentist getting the 401k! too funny!!! not only funny, but way too true! So lets sit down, pull taffy, and rot our teeth! PERFECT holiday wish! lol :o) love you motha!
Wow, finding out more about you!
Great story...I'm always fascinated by interesting jobs/crafts~
SoDear2MyHeart said…
What a wonderful tradition! Your mom had to have had the patience of a saint and the strictness of a drill sergeant! My mom would've never gone for it, since one of our favorite holiday traditions was beating the snot out of one another with empty wrapping paper tubes! I tried it with my young daughter and all I got back was that "I'm gonna call 911!" look. We have many others...the tree starts going up on Thanksgiving Day; Baking, baking & more baking! Fudge making, etc.
Thanks for sharing your memories!
rxBambi said…
I've never pulled taffy before, sounds interesting.
When I first saw that picture I thought you were gonna say you got sick of traditions and decided to have Mac & cheese for christmas dinner! LOL

drollgirl said…
i don't want eat it, but it sure looks like it would be fun to make!!!

due to budget/economic woes, my family is scaling WAY BACK on the christmas gifts this year. and it is kind of cool -- nobody seems too worried about it! we are each giving out photos and a cookie exchange, and just small gifts for the little ones. and i think it will be fine! sometimes the hoopla gets in the way, and it is kind of cool to scale down and remember what is important.

sorry if this reads CHEESY! :)
We don't get taffy in the UK but I've always wanted to try it. Am I missing out? x
Hey girlfriend!

Thanks for droppin' by the Yaya! And yes, it is time to bring the holidays back to a more simple time....I know that is what we are doing at home and in the store. Could it also be our age? :)

Have a beautiful and creative week! xo...deb
otin said…
I saw the picture on my side bar and wondered what the hell those things were? I never did anything with taffy. I never ever liked it, really.
Matty said…
You're so right Alicia. It seems like back in the good ole days, things were simple and slow. Today, we seem so rushed with little time for each other. Before we know it, the holiday season is over and then we wonder where it all went.

I never pulled taffy, but I've heard others talk about doing it when they were kids. My parents didn't create any special traditions for us, other than allowing me to open ONE present on Christmas eve.
S. Etole said…
Our tradition is to hang stockings on Christmas morning. We, too, have scaled back the last couple of years.
Christmas traditions are what we expect when we get together with our families. They give us a feeling of security. We never pulled taffy but we expect to eat gingerbread. Without it our Christmas isn't complete.
I hear taffy pulling and remember a joke from childhood
About a taffy pulling at St. Peters.

Anyway looks like fun..
Hello Lindello said…
I love taffy! I have never made it myself though. Maybe this year I should start!
Snap said…
I've never pulled taffy. Sounds like fun! You are missed when you don't post, but I certainly understand life interruptus.
Sande said…
My daughter made a sugar wax for her legs which kinda ended up been a taffy pull but with hair in it ... ick huh?

Love anything that is an anticipated to do together as a family ....
I know just what you mean about being so busy and caught up in everything, but I admire the heck out of you for taking note and trying to ease out of the commercialism a bit. I grew up in a military family, so Christmas was always a very small, close-knit occasion, since we didn't have any other family nearby. I think it sort of made it more special though..
Amariah said…
Never pulled taffy but it does 'sound' fun. Can't blame you for not wanting the kids to have it- that gooey, sticky candy is the worst for teeth!
My family didn't celebrate Christmas when I was growing up, but I do make a lot of the same treats (like Monster Cookies) that my mom always made this time of year.
Des said…
Yes, I do have some wonderful memories of taffy. That and ice cream sandwiches. I use to chase the ice cream truck with the other kids in my neighborhood when it came down our street. Ice cream sandwiches were the best.
Hi Friend.. This is Vennilla here..u r doing an excellent work.. Can we exchange links..
A Palmer said…
Wow, I think I pulled taffy once when I was a kid and it really was fun. It was molasses taffy. Our big thing at home was making fudge. I always used to make the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa can and it was good - until I found the recipe for nuked fudge using marshmallow cream. Sooooo good. It's all good - bad, but good. : )
Admiral Hestorb said…
I so enjoyed this! Making me smile even now while typing this. I too have been one of the children pulling taffy with the buttered hands. I love sugary treats as well. My job nowadays however, is to try never to taste them after I make them and forget they are there and...or push them onto the kids (they are grown now, or friends. I want to eat them but I am not a responsible candy and sweet eater.

Have the best and merriest of Christmases and a wonderful happy and healthful New Year, my friend.

What a lovely tradition! The older I get, the more I wish to capture the traditions of my family...and pass them on to the children in the family. Some traditions have stood the test of time while others have faded away, not seeming to fit in today. Even starting new customs and traditions is fun! HAPPY HOLIDAYS MY DEAR!
Just came by for another look.
Just a wonderful post..
Can't seem to get

this comment off

Great Post
Liss said…
Every year I tell myself "next year I will be more organized" Giving myself plenty of time to ensure I don't feel stressed and every it's always the same so much to do in so little time. I don't know where I go wrong.
Just drop by to say hi darling...hope all is well with you~
Happy Holidays!
ps: miss you & your lovely posts~
clairedulalune said…
Hello Alicia, I miss you, but i really understand, its that time of year eh? Even the look of taffy makes my teeth crack. My tradition around this time of year? Ruin the turkey. (Hugs)
Barbara said…
Oh, Alicia, me, too. I'm barely here anymore. But I'll get back to it. The taffy pull sounds wonderful. Never did that, but sounds like a great holiday tradition. Now that our family is scattered all over the place, it's not the same. But we're all meeting up in New Mexico. Can't wait to see them and the baby! Have a wonderful Christmas, Alicia. Hugs, B
Pelly said…
I totally agree with this-- I'm insistent that our holiday has to be full of margin so we can enjoy little traditions and gifts of 'presence.' To me, it's not a special holiday unless we are building memories together. I strung some popcorn on some string with zoe, we took evening walks to look at lights, watched old movies, and took a special trip... it's been a good season!

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