Life can be hectic, stressful, and fast moving.
Year by year, we string the Christmas lights, pull out cherished decorations, and hang our tinsel - all the while shaking our heads in bewilderment that another year has passed.
"Where does the time go?" we wonder as we look across the table at adult children who were squealing with delight at the sight of Santa Claus just yesterday.
As our hair grows more gray and our joints a little creaky, we marvel in gratitude that the eyes of the person we vowed to cherish forever are still as blue, and that the love we felt for that little girl or boy sitting so proudly on Santa's knee has not diminished but has instead grown stronger with time.
When Christmas comes, we are overjoyed to be in the company of friends and family we may have taken for granted once upon a yesterday when we were young and thought we had all the time in the world.
Such are the nuts and bolts of life.
And why I have become such a believer in tradition as a way of thickening up the richness of life's moments.
Familiar ornaments, decorations, smells, and flavours that remind us, "This is where I belong."
"These are my people."
"This is Christmas in our house."
With that being said, I thought I would share some of my favourite traditions with you. Those things that say welcome home to friends and family coming together at this time of year.
And what better to start with than a tradition that many of you probably share:
Nuts and Bolts.
As far back as I can remember, my mom would make trays of this wonderful little snack every year around mid December.
She would set it out in bowls on the coffee table throughout the holidays to snack on and package it up to give as gifts.
A tradition I have long since adopted.
This is a simple recipe - and while I know there are probably many variations out there for Nuts and Bolts, this is the one I grew up with.
Crunchy little morsels of shreddies cereal, cheerios, pretzel sticks, and peanuts enjoyed while I watched Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus or It's a Wonderful life.
If you've never made nuts and Bolts,it might be a tradition you'd like to start.
Especially if you have little ones.
My son always "made" the nuts and bolts when he was little and many brightly decorated containers went to his teachers and coaches over the years.
Lou Lou Who: "I'm glad he took our presents. You can't hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, because it isn't about the... the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights. That's what Cindy's been trying to tell everyone... and me. I don't need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family."
Nuts and Bolts
- 8 cups Cheerios cereal
- 5 cups Shreddies cereal
- 2 1/2 cups unroasted
- unsalted peanuts
- 4 cups pretzel sticks
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 2 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Melt butter and Worcestershire sauce in a large roasting pan.
- Stir in spices.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until well coated.
- Bake at 200 degrees for two hours, stirring well every twenty minutes.
- Store in an airtight container.