By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau
Who says Santa has a lock on the Christmas Spirit? I’m thinking Mrs. Claus really rouses the spirits of everyone around the North Pole. With her cookies and other baking how could it not!? And, of note, love Jolly ole’ Saint Nick but his tubby tummy is not poor food choices, it’s just good home cooking in mass quantities (I know, he told me so; I told him it’s all about portions).
Mrs. Claus’ Christmas joy has to be extending all over the world because I’m getting so many stories about the women gathering together to bake or cook for Christmas. Here’s two.
Sandy Silvas of Silvas Farms has a big family gathering to bake. “Our tradition involves all the ladies and grandkids gathering at Grandma’s house to make cookies and fudge to give out as gifts to people in our lives,” she explains. “We, of course, have the men around to be taste testers and the kids also help. It is an all-day event and everyone enjoys the time together.”
Silvas Farms is a small u-pick farm south of Yuma that provides Tangaloes, blackberries and peaches.
So that was Mrs. Claus’ strategy with the baking: Get the family to gather around. Good cooking always does.
And, here in the southwest, we have a twist to that. We make tamales. I love tamales!
Rhonda Crow of Crow’s Dairy does the all-day tamale making over the holidays. “All of the ladies in our family get together every year on the first Saturday of December and make tamales,” she says. “This year we made 60 dozen!”
The Stechnij,’s owners of Superstition Farms makes tamales too. Here’s how Glenda tells the story:
“We make Christmas tamales the weeks before the holiday. For many years the family has gotten together with an assembly line to make them. One person is in charge of cleaning husks, one spreads the masa (that is my job!), another adds the meat; usually a younger member is in charge of hiding the olive and then someone rolls and wraps. The tamales are rushed to the freezer to keep from spoiling.
Many years ago my mother-in-law set the rules that the tamales not be eaten until Christmas morning because she said that it was bad luck. Later I realized that she had to say that because with a family of 7 kids, she had to set those rules to assure there were still some for December 25th!!
The entire family and friends would always meet for breakfast Christmas morning for the fresh tamales. Hector, my husband, teasingly would say, “If it wasn’t for the tamales, I would have anything to unwrap Christmas morning!”
Crow’s Dairy makes Arizona Farmstead goat cheese.
Ronda and Sandy, and Glenda, I’m coming over!
To find Silvas Farms, Crows Dairy and Superstition Farms go to Fill Your Plate. You can read their profile in the searchable database section called “Find a Farm Product.” Their profile will list their products.
Editor’s note: Tell me your stories of Christmas Traditions on the Farm or Ranch! Just respond to the blog post where you can post messages. I want to hear your stories too!!!!