Family traditions are kind of weird.
Like, how do they just happen?
Who determines it a “tradition” rather than some kind of thing that just happened?
Either way, my family has quite a bit of weird traditions or things that totally mean “holidays” to us.
First: Christmas music.
I didn’t grow up in a religious household, so religious Christmas music was never our family’s cup of tea. We grew up on Elvis (per my grandma), Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and obnoxious favorites like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, N*Sync’s “Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays” and of course, “Feliz Navidad.”
So when we hear the religious stuff, my siblings and I kind of wrinkle our nose. I know, we’re spoiled, ignorant brats. Sue us for liking our “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Second: Christmas Eve.
Lots of people open presents on Christmas Eve. To that, I wanna say WTF. I’m not lying: if I could demolish all the presents wrapped for me under my tree rightthissecond I totally would want to… but my impulses would be outweighed by my wanting to wait until Christmas day. I mean, that’s the point right? The whole countdown til the 25th kinda thing. Not spoil it by ripping everything open the day before.
So to pacify our impulses, my grandma allows us to open one SMALL present at her house every year. Oh yeah, did I mention we do all of our holiday functions with her? Like clockwork, every year, we’re at her house Christmas Eve night for pizza, at back at her house Christmas day at 9am for brunch.
As I was saying: Christmas Eve. We eat pizza from this AWFUL place near her house. I’m not sure what drives her to purchase this pizza, as it tastes very closely to drywall and death, but for whatever reason, we eat our pepperoni-flavored dry wall and then watch the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. No way would I let the family partake in a viewing of the new Jim Carrey version, as I have a gross dislike for Jim Carrey. I don’t know. He’s creepy. Moving on.
Third: Christmas morning.
You all should know by now I’m crazy. It didn’t just happen like that. I was born into a crazy family of individuals who love Christmas. Like, we’re psycho for it. And remember my aforementioned note about wanting to wait until Christmas morning to rip open our presents?
It should be taken VERY literally.
Because for my WHOLE LIFE I was the brat who woke up at ungodly hours and woke my parents so we could open gifts. As a young kid, my parents said I couldn’t wake up earlier than 6… but they were always lenient on that rule, and more or less we’d be up between 5 and 6 am.
But over the years that time has creeped up higher and higher, even after my siblings and I get older and older. Can you guess what time we woke up to open presents last year?
Um… 2:30 am.
TWO FREAKING THIRTY!!
Isn’t that insane?
We’re all old now.
No Barbies. No Hot Wheels. No video game consoles, phones, or anything fancy. Just clothes… and maybe gift cards… and for me, the occasional rubber spatula. Def. nothing that warrants a 2:30 am wake-up call.
Yet it continues to happen every year. Any guesses on what time we’ll wake up this year?
I guess you could say our horrendous wake time is tradition.
Or that we’re crazy. It works.
When I was doing my cookie baskets, I really wanted to incorporate something SUPER easy–mostly because I was already making 5 other cookies and confections, but also because it would look pretty and be festive, too. So I thought of pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with fun, yummy things like non-pareils or peppermint chunks or toffee bits… and I’d call them pretzel “drumsticks” because of the whole Christmas thing and all.
I may not listen to religious Christmas music, but I know about it. I’m reppin’ lil drummer boy right here, folks.
These are such a cinch to put together and make for great presentation and gifts. Wanna know how?
2 bags pretzel rods
1 pound chocolate bark (Candiquik or Almond Bark)
Assorted “sprinkles”: holiday jimmies or non-pareils; toffee bits; crushed candy bars; peppermint/mint crushed candy bits
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, melt chocolate bark according to package directions and stir until completely melted and smooth. Dip the lower 1/3 of each pretzel rod in melted chocolate and spin the rod to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Sprinkle the chocolate coating with any desired topping, turning to coat, and place on the wax-lined baking sheet. Repeat process.
3. Once pretzels are coated, pop the pretzel rods in the fridge to harden the chocolate. Store airtight.
If you wanted, you could always change up the flavors of these pretzel drumsticks by using peanut butter, white chocolate, or colored chocolate or candy bark or adding extracts to the melted chocolate to change it up. Some good ones would be peppermint, eggnog, orange, or even cinnamon. Just use a half teaspoon of extract per one pound of melted chocolate bark.
Quick and easy? I’m all for it. Especially if I’ll have more time to open presents at 2 am.
Have a great weekend!