Traditions and Chocolate Covered Cherries

I love traditions.  I grew up with quite a few family ones – particularly  Christmas traditions.  However, as I’ve gotten older (I didn’t say ‘old’) I’ve realized that changing those traditions or adding to them can be ‘traditional’ in and of itself.  Does that make sense?  I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve realized it’s OK to do some things differently.  Things evolve.  And living in Niger, I’ve had to do that.  Allow traditions to evolve.

When I was a kid, we always used to go and pick out our fresh Christmas tree and cut it down.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t do much of the cutting but it sure seemed like I did.  We’d get the tree home and Dad would set it up and get the lights put on it. But we were never allowed to turn the lights on until the whole tree was decorated.  Plugging in the lights was the final event to the decorating day.  We would all put the ornaments on together – while remembering the previous decorating year.  Then we had the countdown.  All 6 dogs would be included – everyone sitting together around the tree.  We’d count backwards from 10 and then Dad would plug in the lights.  Ahhhhhh.  Ooooohhh.  It really was spectacular.

One tradition I loved took place with my Grandma.  Every year she would give me a box of chocolate covered cherries and at some point, I started giving her a box as well.  Wrapped.  Under the tree.  She also got me a Guideposts subscription which I loved.  But I loved those cherries.  Too much.  Wonder why I didn’t get sick on them like I did the Butterfingers.  (That’s another story but I’ll just say that after we shared of 6-pack of giant sized Butterfingers during a night of Bingo I cannot eat them til today.)

The cherries come out in the stores at Christmastime.  But I live in Niger.  I can assure you that store bought CCC will not be found here.  One summer while I was in the US I was browsing through a Minnesota Cookbook.  You’ll not believe the recipe that caught my eye.  Yep – CCC.  I of course bought the book.  Back in Niger, the next challenge was going to be to get the maraschino cherries.  Not to worry.  We have visitors that come throughout the year, and if I can be organized enough I can ask them to bring me cherries.  I am happy to say that for at least the past 10 years I have had maraschino cherries straight from the US.  Making the cherries is pretty simple once you get the ‘feel’ for it.  The filling is simply powdered sugar, butter and cream or milk.  I add some cherry juice for some of the milk, as well as some almond extract if I have it.

This is something the kids have always helped me with.  This year I only had one kid to help.  But I have to say that he did amazingly well.  Hung with it to the end.  Here he is now.  Mixing the filling and enjoying it!


Next come the cherries.  This takes concentration.

One must watch Tobi very closely….

 Or the cherry could be missing.

But sometimes a little motivation is required.

Next comes the chocolate.  I know.  But someone’s gotta do it.


The finished product.

I believe I’ll go have one right now (yep, we still have a few left!)

 How’s that for a tradition?  Thanks Grama!!

8 thoughts on “Traditions and Chocolate Covered Cherries

  1. laura

    ok, so my tradition for the last 2 years has been buying some of the jars of cherries and praying that they arrive without spilling all over the suit cases. 😉

  2. Yvonne Goodmanson

    To our precious daughter Danette,
    Your dad and I loved reading your post and seeing the pictures.It brought back so many memories of our Christmases together.Thought about all of the baking we use to do and the fun we had doing it.I always loved to share baked goods with all the neighbors but when it came time to deliver them we would all get in the car and you girls would say,” lets have Brian (your little brother) do that”.Kind of like lets get Micky, and he would deliver them to the door because his sisters asked him to. Another memory is for many years most of the gifts were home made and always so special to us.Today our kids and grandkids still make things for us that we treasure deeply.This year Tanika was with all of us and it was so much fun making eggnog with her.She said, mom said you made this every year and would have it after you decorated the tree, & I said yes we did.She wanted to know how to do it so we made it together. (Fun) Her gift to us was also a home made plaque that is now sitting above our fireplace.(Thank you Tanika,)
    Danette, you passed another tradition on this year,You recieved Guideposts in the past and now have given daily devotionals to many of us for Christmas,( Thank you, I love mine.)
    Family Traditions will always be special to us and we thank you for passing them on,and may we never forget that the Greatest Tradition that we could ever pass down to our children and grandchildren to every generation is that The “Greatest Gift of all is Jesus.” Each year I miss those times of baking together & making things together but feel so blessed watching all of our kids and grandkids grow in their walks with Jesus & building new traditions and passing on old Traditions that will last forever.
    (I’m sure grama is smiling down on you seeing Tobi and you making cherries.)
    We are so proud of you and love you so much.
    mom & dad

  3. Hey Mom and Dad! I remember and love all those things too! I’m all about memories and am thankful that I have so many good ones! And truly, Jesus is the reason not only for the season – but for our lives! I love you guys!!

  4. Brenda Gay

    Looks like fun and I love family traditions. I too like Laura have the tradition of packing them and praying they get there.

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