The Holidays are truly all about spending time with loved ones, family traditions, and making memories.

We would like to share some favorite movies, traditions, and of course our favorite cookies because who doesn’t love dessert or chocolate, from our Rockton team

Let’s start off with our all-time favorite movies for the holiday season. We have a mixture of old and new, new renditions of some classics, and family favorites.

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Home Alone and Home Alone 2
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • The Santa Clause (Tim Allen)
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Family Stone
  • Love the Coopers
  • Four Christmases
  • The Grinch and How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • A Christmas Carol (2009 with Jim Carey)
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas Vacation is definitely an all-time classic and favorite. In fact, last year we created a Winter Staycation parody.

With every holiday season there are always cookies to bring to a gathering, to make as a family, a cookie swap, or just have them on a daily basis because that’s what you do this time of year.

What are some of the classic cookies we have each year?

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Pfeffernusse Cookies
  • Canadian No Bake
  • Frosted Sugar Cookies
  • Peanut Butter Kiss
  • Snowball cookies
  • Ginger Snaps

A few different twists on the traditional frosted sugar cookie come from Mark and Sheila.  Mark, despite not being a fan of lemon, recalls as a kid his mom would swap lemon extract for the traditional vanilla, and Sheila uses almond instead of vanilla.  This sounds like an opportunity for a cookie taste test.

Family traditions are such a great way to not only bring the family together but to keep the spirit alive of loved ones who may not be with us. One thing is certain we all love spending time with family.

Alicia

My parents have a century-old 8-acre farmstead outside of rural Comstock, Minnesota – a small town of roughly 150 people.

There is a large wooden barn on the farm, and it has played host to our local, small-town church’s live nativity service every Christmas Eve for more than 20+ years.

Our family always supplied the live animal Nativity scene and special guests have included, a herd of goats, a miniature donkey, my horse, some wayward chickens, countless barn cats, 3 dogs and the occasional mouse that crashed the party.

The service would start just after dark, and that is when all the antique oil lanterns are lit. Guests would enter through the ancient dusty milk room and be met with twinkle lights, kettles of steaming hot apple cider, and more cookies than a Norwegian grandma can shake a stick at. It was always me and my brother’s job to see that every guest was served a treat when they arrived. Once they got into the main part of the barn everyone took their “seats” on their quilt-covered haybale.

I loved surveying the scene after everyone was in place waiting for the actors to come into the room – seeing all the quilts and blankets spread across the laps of entire families, the steam rising out of the cups of cider, and how cozy it was when you put 100+ people dressed in full Minnesota winter gear into a barn on a -15-degree night.

The muffled mitten claps as classic Christmas carols were sung between the various Nativity character appearances was my favorite sound, besides the occasional goat bahhhing from the stable scene.

After the service, you could watch taillights for miles driving off in various directions down the long gravel roads as people dispersed to their homes for their own family events.

Anyone without family or festivities was always invited into my parent’s home following the service to enjoy a meal with us and we always made sure there were a few extra gifts under the tree so everyone, including our new guests, could open a present after family carols.

The yearly event drew people from all over the states, even hearing of over the road truckers that made it a point to be passing through Moorhead, MN on Christmas Eve night so they could enjoy the cider and cookies and some holiday tradition with us.

The barn service tradition came to its close in 2018 when the aging barn could no longer hold up to the harsh MN elements, but we still hear from past attendees how that service became part of their own family tradition as well and how much it is missed.

Mark

A new tradition we started with my family is the annual gingerbread house. We save up the tons of candy the kids collect at Halloween.  We scratch-bake the best gingerbread ever, bake the sides and roof, and then ice it together.  The kids go crazy eating all the Halloween candy we denied them over the past month, and only about 10% of it ends up on the actual gingerbread house.  On New Year’s Eve, the kids get to eat the house.  One year, the kids got pretty clever.  Because the gingerbread and candy gets stale, they hid a ton of wrapped candy INSIDE the gingerbread house so that on New Year’s Eve, when they ate the house they broke into the middle and got another ton of non-stale candy.  Clever kids.

Michelle

Cooking together as a family; Working on a Christmas puzzle (someone always steals the last piece to put it in at the end and claim VICTORY over the puzzle completion …. eyes rolling; giving the beautiful gift of “time” to family & friends.

Sheila

When I was younger and in Colorado, I would make a ton of stuff during Christmas.  Turtles, Buckeyes, Chocolate Peanut Clusters, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Cookies.  Tons of things and we would make plates and deliver to family and friends.  We also like to go drive around and look at lights on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day we typically go to the theatres for a good movie!

Ginger

loves starting off the holidays with an Advent Calendar and 12 days of Xmas presents for her hubby and son.

Mike

Likes going up and spending time with family, and especially nice when it snows.  Oh, and hiking into the woods and cutting down our Christmas tree.

Other Holiday Traditions:

  • Pass the parcel
  • Drinking Egg nog
  • Collecting ornaments from past travels
  • Sushi night on Christmas Eve

Whatever your traditions are big or small we hope you keep them alive and growing, and still enjoy everything about the holiday season before us. It is time to focus on gratitude, peace, love, joy, and family.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Festivus!

from the Rockton Team!

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