Rayna 101: Holiday Traditions, Spice Cookies and Date Bars

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I just want to spend my Sundays baking and listening to 90’s country. The time of year where I want nothing more than the house to smell like holiday spices and to feel the warmth in the air from the oven being on all day.

This is a holiday tradition for me.

I remember sitting in our kitchen when I was a kid, watching mom dance around, singing at the top of her lungs.  My brothers and I use to hover near by at all times to get first dibs on any misfit cookies. At the time, she probably had no idea that this would be the memory I would treasure most around the holidays, but is it. And even though I don’t have any kids of my own to share it with, the act of doing it, even by myself, instantly puts me into the holiday spirit.

So, this past weekend I set aside an entire day to bake spice cookies and date bars. Spice cookies are one of the cookies my mom use to bake when I was little. She’d make tons of them and then hide them in the freezer. They never lasted though. I use to eat them one by one, straight out of the freezer.  I’d curl up on top of our heater vent with a small cup of milk and enjoy each bite as it thawed out. Still my favorite cookie! The date bars are something I started making after falling in love with the Date bars they sell at Rico’s/Poor Richards in Colorado Springs. They’re not a family tradition yet, but trust me, they will be.

As luck would have it, on Sunday, I woke up with the worst migraine I’d had in over a decade, But not even that could stop me. I threw on my favorite North Face fleece pants, a tank top and put on my Mary Chapin Carpenter Pandora station. I danced around the kitchen, just like mom use to do, and I sang with Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks and a few others, when Christian wasn’t in the room of course (we’ve been together for seven years and I still don’t think he’s ever heard me sing). I even shared a glass of eggnog with my Katie cat. It’s his favorite.

In the end, I ended up with 8 dozen spice cookies and 16 date bars, some of which actually made it to the freezer to be eaten through out the holidays. Even with the migraine, I felt totally rejuvenated come Sunday night.

It’s hard being half way across the country from my family, even more so during the holidays.  But it’s things like this that get me through. Only 28 more days until we go back to Pittsburgh!

spice cookies and date bars, holiday traditions

What are your favorite holiday traditions? What gets you in the mood for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Leave a comment below and let me know!