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One Family’s Delicious Sugar Plum Tradition

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Every family has some sort of tradition come this time of year. We heard about Katherine Hill’s Sugar Plum cookies and wanted to know more. After all, the story behind the cookie has a lot more meaning for the Hill family.

What is your family tradition?

Katherine explains, “We make Sugar Plums every year, at the beginning of Christmas season!” The Sugar Plum tradition has been in her family ever since her father was a little boy. “We think my grandmother found the recipe in Readers Digest or a magazine at some point, she can’t remember exactly. But she always made them every year.”   

What does your family tradition mean to you?

Every tradition carries a different meaning for families. We were curious to know what these Sugar Plum treats meant to the Hill family.

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Dad – “It’s a time for family to be together to make something sweet that everyone loves. It’s about togetherness, fun and smiles!”

Katherine –  “Sharing the tradition with other people, the memories of when we were kids making them with Dad.  I get enjoyment out of knowing people are going to love them while I’m making them.  It’s such a fun treat and people are always surprised by how good they are, and how simple they are to make…and really, they’re just awesome!”

Jennifer (sister) – “It means the start of the Christmas season.  Making time in our very busy schedules to have fun and be together.  We were always so busy with so many things during the holidays, so it was nice to stop and have some focused time together.”

Mom – “It’s the start of the season, and an activity to do together.  It’s something specifically to tie our family together with a holiday tradition.  Since my family didn’t have traditions during the holidays, it’s important that we have these times with our family.”

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What’s your favorite memory making Sugar Plums?

Katherine- “Probably this one.  I have great memories of growing up making them, but they all blend together!  Since my sister and I have gotten married, we have made them by ourselves, and our husbands have helped.  But this year, all 6 of us got together, all got dressed up and spent time together laughing, watching football, playing with my niece, and made sugar plums.  It was a fun time together (and may be a new addition to the tradition to do them together and not by ourselves!)”

Dad- “The first time each of the girls was old enough and ready to help.”


Jennifer- “
They all kind of blur together at some point, but Katherine I licking the sugar off our fingers when we were done and exclaiming “Mom look, our fingers are RED!!”

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Creating Memories

We discovered that Katherine’s family tradition of making sugar plum cookies isn’t really about the cookies at all. It’s about the memories every one creates together. Making sugar plums is simply the activity that pulls together an entire family where the memories are created.

Want the recipe? 

Like our Facebook page to see our step-by-step photo album for the Sugar Plum recipe.

 

 

 

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The Magic of Family Traditions

Paper chain family protected in cupped handsThink back to when you were a kid. What do you remember the most about your childhood? I bet you aren’t thinking of the gifts you got, I bet you are thinking of the time you spent with your family.  It might be the family traditions that made you and your family unique and special.

According to Meg Cox, author of The Book of New Family Traditions, family traditions, “…include a heightened attentiveness and something extra that lifts it above the ordinary ruts.” Traditions can add magic to our everyday lives, and that magic is what we remember the most.

Research has shown that families who have their own traditions have a higher sense of security and well-being. This is especially important for young children as they crave stability and a sense of security from their family unit.

There are different types of family traditions that are all equally important:

1. Daily Traditions

These are the everyday things you do together as a family like sitting down for family dinner or walking the dog together. These daily rituals help contribute to a sense of family stability for children.

2. Weekly Traditions

Same as daily traditions but just done once a week. Maybe it’s visiting grandma for dinner, or reading a bedtime story. Whatever the tradition, your family has to wait a little bit longer than each day to perform the tradition.

3. Life-Long Traditions

These are the traditions that happen infrequently and make a child’s experience the most memorable. Maybe it’s decorating the Christmas tree the day before Christmas, or eating as many grapes as you can on New Years Eve for good luck. What ever that may be, these life-long traditions are what your children will carry on throughout their adult life.

But let’s admit that sometimes family traditions get old. Maybe it’s because your children are getting older or they start to dread decorating the tree at Christmas time, whatever the reason it’s important to introduce new family traditions to your family to keep the magic alive.

And that new tradition can simply be reading a new bedtime story to your children.

 

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The Surprising History of The Sugar Plum Tree

Screen-shot-2013-11-03-at-4.35.30-PM-236x300We are not the original creators of The Sugar Plum Tree, our poem is simply the second version of a 19th century children’s poem written by Eugene Field. Surprising, right?

During the 1870’s, Field was a popular journalist from St. Louis Missouri, who was most know for his humorous articles and gossipy style featured in the St. Joseph Gazette. And he was a selfless man. Every single paycheck he received was sent to his wife and 8 children, claiming he had no head for the money himself.

In 1883 Field’s moved from St. Louis to Chicago to write for the Chicago Daily News. He contributed to a humorous column called Sharps and Flats. The most popular topic he wrote about, or poked fun at, was how Chicago was so much better than Boston.

It wasn’t until 1879 Field’s published his first poem, “Christmas Treasures.” After that, he published a total of 12 poems, one of them being The Sugar Plum Tree.  The two characters in the poem, the chocolate cat and gingerbread dog, is based off of his famous poem “The Duel” (most commonly known as The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat.)

Today, Field is most known for his light-hearted poem for children and we are so thrilled to have been read his poem when we were children. So here’s to you Mr. Eugene Field! Your legacy will live on through the 21st century and beyond, so long as children believe in The Sugar Plum Tree.

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