You can picture the typical TV representation of Christmas morning. There’s a fire crackling in the fireplace. The tree is beautifully decorated, something even Martha Stewart would approve of. Every gift is meticulously wrapped and marked and bedecked with bows and ribbon. And the family members gathered around enjoying these sights and sounds are dressed in coordinated pajamas, opening presents one person at a time.
Here at Leland’s Cabins, we’re a little less TV ideal and a lot more eclectic in our holiday traditions.
Old Texas Christmas Traditions
Texas is a state with a long and varied history. Its population started with Native Americans who saw many different nations stake a claim to the land. From 1519 to 1848, Texas was claimed by France, Spain, and Mexico, before it declared its independence and then joined the United States of America as a state.
Settlers from all over the world—Spain, Mexico, the United States, Germany, and more—homesteaded Texas, bringing their traditions with them. While settlers didn’t have access to foods and ingredients as we do today, they still made the most out of holidays with what was available to them.
For a taste of old traditions, try this recipe for traditional German Christmas cookies, lebkuchen. These gingerbread-like cookies have a delicious glaze that will have you reaching for more. This cookie includes a bit of brandy, which in the days of settlers was more than a spirit for indulging. Brandy was a remedy used in tonics, a flavoring added to cooking and baking, and a way for settlers to preserve what the land provided.
Not quite what you think of when you think of Christmas in Texas? Perhaps you’re looking for a little more kick.
Spice up Your Holiday
Tex-Mex style Christmas fare is where it’s at for the heat-loving palate. From chile con queso to jalapeno jelly and beyond, light up your taste buds with your favorite pepper. Rice and red bean salad, for example, utilizes chili powder, cumin, hot pepper sauce, sweet red peppers, and jalapenos. You can substitute poblano peppers for the jalapenos to bring the heat down a notch or two.
And if you didn’t already know this, the best way to choke down a brussel sprout is to do so after it’s been tossed in olive oil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and then cooked over a grill with smoking mesquite.
Now, you love the spice, but Uncle Bud has ulcers and Aunt Mary has breathing problems and half the other people who will be at your Christmas celebration don’t especially enjoy spicy. You can keep the heat to a minimum while still trying out something Texas-inspired. Think about adding sweet potato and black bean enchiladas to the menu. Or if you want to combine an old tradition with something new, try guacamole granada (granada is the Spanish word for pomegranate).
Another safe bet is a salad. A favorite around here is 24-hour Tex-Mex salad. It’s a favorite because you can prepare it ahead of time with little effort, and it’s a tasty and colorful addition to any table. You can check out the recipe here. And if they don’t like that, then their taste buds are beyond hope anyway. Shoo them away from the great food and toward the drinks.
Don’t Forget the Drinks
It wouldn’t be Christmas in Texas without a little something special to sip. You can create something delicious like this Texas punch (you can leave out the vodka so everyone can enjoy) for all your guests, or you can cater to the adults and keep it traditional with margaritas.
Looking for something that makes you feel like you’re combatting all the large quantities of food you’re consuming for the holidays? Try out an agua fresca.
And of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a warm apple cider punch, now would it? Keep it simple and add all the ingredients to a large crockpot. Then let it simmer away all day long.
Christmas in Your Cabin
Do you know what the most important ingredient to your Christmas celebration is? You and those you care most about, of course. We at Leland’s Cabins wish you a blessed holiday season.
If you’re one of our customers, we would love to see how you celebrate Christmas in your cabin. Take a photo and share it with us on Facebook. We love seeing our hard work bring enjoyment to our customers.