Families maintain holiday traditions – The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News: holidays, special people,

According to singer Andy Williams, Christmas is the mostwonderful time of the year. many would agree. Whether spending theholiday at home or loading up the car and traveling to greetgrandma, we all have our favorite memories and our most treasuredtraditions.

Something magical happens when a person speaks of their familytraditions. their eyes light up and an instant smile appears. It’snot about the presents, or at least not all about the presents.It’s about that feeling you get knowing grandma’s cookies – stacksand stacks of cookies – are within reach. It’s also that feelingyou get on Christmas Eve at the midnight church service when onlycandles are lighting the way to the cross.

Denise Horton, from Prairietown, and her family have settled into anew tradition.

Watching her two teenage sons, Matt and Mike, along with their dad,Bob, bake cookies with a family they have “adopted” for theholidays has proven priceless.

To fulfill the wishes of the adopted family, the boys gathered someof their old video games and game systems and replaced them withnew toys for the younger children. “This family is very near anddear to our hearts and we are making big time memories, “ saidDenise.

Santa is busy on Christmas Eve and the Gusewelles of Stauntonbelieve they are one of his first stops.

“We usually go for a car ride to look at the neighborhood lightsand when we get back home, Santa has been to our house,” said SusanGusewelle, mom to Dylan, Owen, Cameron and Emma. Susan’s parents,Dick and Sandy Haase, have been watching children and grandchildrenopen their presents for over 50 years.

“There has always been someone young enough in our family forSanta,” Gusewelle said.

Ginger Diamond of Alton started making monkey bread every Christmasmorning for her family. Even though Diamond’s four children are allgrown and raising families of their own, the tradition continues.something as simple as cinnamon, sugar and biscuit dough baking inthe oven easily makes a mom feel appreciated.

It didn’t take long for Tim Disher of East Alton to recall how hespends every Christmas holiday. Disher knows he’s only days awayfrom grandma’s pineapple ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweetpotatoes, corn, sherbet punch and cookies – lots of cookies – andmaybe a present or two. Then it’s coffee and more cookies in themorning.

Michelle Foiles from East Alton and her 3-year-old daughter Ellaenjoy making and sharing their homemade cookies. They includeSanta’s reindeer this year and created a special oats and glitterrecipe for the lawn, designed specifically so Rudolph could findtheir house.

This year will be a sentimental one as Tammy Salter of Edwardsvilleprepares her traditional reindeer suckers for her son’s classmatesfor the last time. Tammy has been making these special treats eversince Collin started grade school. Collin will be moving on tomiddle school next year, which means no more school Christmasparties.

“Since we are Christians, we really try to focus on Christ’scoming,” said Shannon McWhorter of Edwardsville. “We set aside timeeach evening during Advent to sing, read the Bible and tell Biblestories. we also include the Jesse Tree idea into our Christmastraditions. we hang an ornament on our staircase, representing adifferent story from the Bible. as Christmas draws near, our foyeris full of ornaments representing every major biblical story. “ Nomatter their age, McWhorter’s children insist on wearing theirpajamas to grandma and grandpa’s Christmas morning. her childrencrowd into their grandparents living room with 16  other familymembers and open presents. McWhorter ’s mom, Patsy McClintock,prepares her traditional biscuit doughnuts for the hungrygroup.

Just like these families, Christmas traditions come in all shapesand sizes. Finding time for baking and cooking isn’t always easy.Busy schedules get in the way. It’s comforting to know manyfamilies continue to put tradition on the top of their to-dolist.

© 2011 the Edwardsville Intelligencer . all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Families maintain holiday traditions – The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News: holidays, special people,

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