The wonderful and slightly romantic thing about being newly married is that your life experiences are intermingled in such a way that each new memory you create is a shared one. Each person in a marriage grew up with some sort of family tradition (albeit good or bad) that they have somehow kept alive over the years and now as an “adult” (we use that term pretty loosely around here) they continue to light that torch of family tradition into their marriage. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of being propped up on a kitchen chair to help my mother with her holiday baking. I remember feeling so grown up, though I could hardly see over the counter, as I carefully mixed the pecan halves into the pecan pie filling and pouring it into the pie crust. Pecan pie, is and always will be a Thanksgiving tradition for me. When Sam &I first started dating, (just before Christmas of 2008) the Linvilles invited me over for dinner and I brought them my mother’s famous pecan pie…and the rest as they say is history! I have been baking it for them ever since. And who can forget Christmas cookies. I’ll never forget the way my mother patiently instructed me to roll peanut butter cookie dough, and then dust the cookie balls in sugar, and finally smash the formed dough crosswise with the tines of a fork (as an artistic kid I loved that part). So last year in all my newlywed zeal, I set out to experiment with several different kinds of holiday cookies and lined the kitchen counter tops with dozens and dozens of cookies. The hubs, of course, loved this as he got to be the executive taste tester (who wouldn’t love that job?!). And this year I hopelessly continued the tradition, adding new and different recipes to the arsenal. They were the perfect holiday party tray and worked very well in gift baskets (don’t worry the hubs still got first tasting privileges). I love the thought of combining each of our favorite holiday traditions and also adding some new ones of our own. This Christmas I was able to visit my husband’s home town in Oklahoma, and see the famous Chickasha Festival of Lights, one of his families annual traditions. It was really beautiful. We also got our first Christmas tree this year, a beautiful Douglas Fir (which I am sad to say will meet his untimely fate with the wood chipper very soon) and have started a new tradition of buying Christmas ornaments each year to decorate the tree with little by little. So despite the holiday rush, it really has been a wonderful Holiday season. I can only smile at the year to come and hold the ones that I love close to me as time pulls us forward.