Christmastime is here again and we are busy making plans, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, putting up the tree and finishing with the Christmas decorations.

It is always interesting when we get the ornaments out and think about where we got them and the story about each one. Some are from various vacations and some are from when our children were in school. We also have all the wooden ornaments that Charles has made each year for our family and friends. They all have a special meaning.

We really need to think and pray about the true meaning of Christmas and think about the people who will not be able to celebrate with their families because of recent storms and other events.

Our family will again have our Christmas get-together on Christmas Eve after going to church and then we can enjoy our homemade pizza and all the extras that go with it. The great-grandchildren enjoy opening their presents and, of course, we all do. We also need to remember those who are less fortunate and maybe give any extra gift or donation to a local charity.

Most of us put up a Christmas wreath of some kind. The symbol of the wreath has decorated many doors and is often made of evergreens such as holly, pine, fir, and mistletoe. These are plants that stay green and bear fruit in the winter. They signify God’s immortality and everlasting life. The circular shape also reminds us of the circles of life and family love.

Here are a few last minute recipes you may want to try.

Fruit and Nut Cheese Log

8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened

1 T apple jelly

1/4 c. dried apricots, chopped

1/4 c. dried cherries, chopped

1/4 c. walnuts, chopped

Wheat crackers or fresh fruit

Place cream cheese on a sheet of plastic wrap; top with second sheet of wrap. Use a rolling pin and roll cheese to 1/2 inch thick, about a 8 by 6 inch rectangle. Remove top sheet of plastic. Spread jelly over cheese; sprinkle with dried fruits. Gently roll into a log. Roll in chopped walnuts and wrap in plastic; refrigerate until ready to use.

Festive Cranberry-Pineapple Salad

1 (20) oz. can of crushed pineapple

6 oz. pkg. of raspberry jello

1 (16 oz.) can of whole berry sauce

1 med. apple, chopped

2/3. c. chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple, reserve liquid and enough water to make 3 cups. Bring to a boil, remove from heat. Add gelatin, stir until dissolved. Add cranberry sauce. Refrigerate until thick. Add apples and nuts. Stir gently. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Caramel Pecan Pretzel Candies

1 pkg. mini pretzels

1 pkg. pecan halves

1 13 oz. pkg Rolo candy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place pretzels on foil. Place an unwrapped Rolo on each pretzel. Bake for 4 minutes until candy is melted. Remove from oven and place a pecan half on each. Press down lightly and cool for 20 minutes.

Cheese Spread Dip

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese

1 16 oz. carton of sour cream

1 8 oz. pkg. shredded cheese

1 pkg. of ranch dip mix.

Soften cream cheese in microwave. Add sour cream, cheese and ranch dip mix. Chill and serve with vegetables and crackers.

Eileen Fisse may be contacted at

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