The Ghosts Of Christmases Past

by Jenn (eating bender) on December 22, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the kind comments and thoughts on my rejection letter post. Your feedback, as always, brought a huge smile to my face, and I am so glad I decided to be open and honest about how I was feeling with all of you.

I am practically bouncing from heel to toe with anticipation. Christmas is almost here!

We’ll be heading to the warmth and sunshine of Arizona, home of the Benders. There are many reasons to be smiling, but what I’m most looking forward to is introducing Bobby to our family’s Christmas traditions. This will be our second Merry “Married” Christmas – last year we were in Minnesota, which was a lot of fun (and games!). This year, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the traditions I’ve grown up with, and I thought I’d do a bit of sharing with you today, as well!

Taking a look at the ghosts of Christmases past, I’m most excited about…

1) December 2008: Christmas 9 and Brunch Egg Casserole

Bobby is already familiar with this from Thanksgivings past, but brunch egg casserole is never more satisfying than after a morning of unwrapping presents followed by a thrilling nine holes on the golf course. The “Christmas 9” have become a time-honored tradition since my junior year in high school, when my family began traveling to Arizona from Minnesota for the holidays. It started out with just me and Papa Bender, but my brother joined in last year in my absence, and it will be fun to have a foursome this time around! Now if only we could get Mama Bender, the best golfer in the family, on the course…

2) December 2008: Christmas Snow

Of course, this is not unusual in Chicago or Minnesota, but seeing snow fall outside an Arizona window is a rarity unless you’re in Flagstaff or somewhere else further north. It’s quite a treat to have a (brief) white Christmas in the Valley of the Sun.

There is a hilarious video of my brother dancing outside in the snow, both in 2008 and last year, when we visited Arizona for New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping to recreate that this year, if possible. :)

3) December 2008: Mama Bender’s Peppermint-Egg Nog Punch!

This punch should – and likely will – get its own blog post again this year. It’s one of the most amazing creations on the planet. Trust me, you want this recipe.

Think peppermint ice cream, egg nog and ginger ale, all mixed together for a creamy, minty beverage. You won’t be able to stop at one glass, and why should you? Oh, and in case there was ever any doubt of incriminating photos on my blog…

Yes. It’s that good.

4) December 2009: Chestnuts Roasting On An Oven Rack

The song may suggest an open fire, but I’ve found that the “oven rack” variety of chestnuts are equally amazing. They have a nutty (well…that was obvious) taste and texture, but are also just fun to peel and crack open while eating. Bobby’s never tried them, so I can’t wait to see what he thinks.

5) December 2009: Santa Hats and Family Time

Speaking of incriminating photos, there are the Santa hats. Papa Bender has a Packers hat, I have a Northwestern hat, my brother is donning the traditional red and white, and Mama Bender, who was taking the picture, whips out her Illinois alma mater hat every year.

Fortunately, Bobby already was forced asked to wear one of these hats for a Christmas picture we took way back in 2007, before I even started this blog. He’s already a pro – and looks good, too. :)

Of course, the most important tradition at Christmas is celebrating the holiday itself. These others are the fun perks. I’m truly looking forward to celebrating the reason for the season, while also getting in some quality family time. They don’t call it the most wonderful time of year for nothing!

What holiday (not just Christmas!) traditions are you looking forward to this year?

See you in sunny Arizona! 😎


1 Stef December 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

What fun holiday traditions!

My favorite traditions are going out to eat on Christmas Eve for my parents’ anniversary, then spending time with my extended family. Christmas Eve is definitely my favorite day of the year!

2 Erica December 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

Safe travels :) Being in the warmth for Christmas rocks. Love all of your traditions and I want some of that punch. Josh and I were talking about starting some new traditions with Kay this year. I’m excited to see what we decide to do!

3 Megan (Braise The Roof) December 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

I actually have never had a roasted chestnut. My mom decided that she hates them and so we’ve never made them. I asked her recently why she doesn’t like them and she paused and said, “you know, I have no idea.” So maybe we’ll have to break them out one of these days. Merry Christmas, Jenn!

4 glidingcalm December 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

your family has such fun traditions!!! and yes, I do need to make that drink SOOON!

I, too, have never had a roasted chestnut……..well maybe when I was younger, but not for a LONG TIME.
I loved Arizona, and can’t wait to visit again sometime!

happy holidays!

5 Claude Fullinfaw December 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I love you great recipe on peppermint ice cream, egg nog and ginger ale. Going to do some shopping tomorrow so we can have some going around for New Year’s Eve. Thank you for the sharing! Claude Fullinfaw

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