I just sampled Cinnamon M&Ms. I didn't even know they existed, but I found them because I was looking for Mint M&Ms, which usually only come out of hiding around Christmas. Apparently, Mint M&Ms were not enough, and they decided to add another variety to the list of holiday flavors. But Cinnamon M&Ms are brown and red, not Christmasy colored, so that makes me a little sad. Also, they taste like plain M&Ms (I refuse to call them "Milk Chocolate M&Ms) that might have once brushed up against something that was mildly cinnamonish. They're redeemable, though, because they're made out of chocolate.
I also have in my fridge Pumpkin Pie Spice and White Chocolate Raspberry flavored coffee creamers in colorful holiday themed bottles. I'm not sure if they'll complement the Mocha-Mint coffee my roommate purchased, but it's worth a shot.
Food companies are smart. They know how to market different flavors of their usual products around the holidays. And I'm a sucker for them. That's largely because I'm a huge sucker for Christmas...and Christmas food.
Candy canes. Gingerbread. White Chocolate Covered Pretzels. These foods don't just taste good; they actually make me feel more Christmasy. I'm not sure why that is, because a candy cane in the middle of summer doesn't remind me of Christmas. A candy cane in June is just like eating a breath mint in a weird shape--especially since that candy cane has been sitting around since the past December. But if December passes and I haven't had a candy cane, I feel as though I've missed something. December candy canes have a minty simplicity that remind me of opening my stocking as a child on Christmas morning.
I also love hot chocolate and holiday teas. Celestial Seasonings makes a couple of Christmas teas that are amazing. Their Candy Cane Lane decaf green tea isn't just a basic peppermint tea. It has this subtle hint of vanilla that brings out the mint flavor even more. And their Sugar Plum Spice herbal tea tastes like magic. Seriously. If you want to taste magic, go drink that tea.
I don't just like eating Christmas food. I love making it. I love making biscotti and Christmas-shaped sugar cookies. I like making gigantic cookie cakes in the shape of a Christmas tree. I love covering my entire kitchen counter with trays and trays of chocolate covered pretzels. I just don't know if Christmas would be the same without making ridiculous amounts of fattening food to give away to all my friends and family (and personally sample a little bit here and there, of course).
When I was a kid, I remember going to my grandmother's house every Christmas afternoon/evening. The parents would talk. The kids would play. We'd open presents. And we'd eat. We'd eat Christmas turkey and ham, marshmallow fruit salad, the best green beans in the world, and peanut brittle. I'm pretty sure grandma got the peanut brittle for me, because I loved it, and she was allergic to peanuts. My grandma loved Christmas, and she loved her family, and she loved making food for her family. And she was very, very good at making that food.
My cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, but I still enjoy making a few small goodies for the people I care about. I love smelling the Christmas smells and tasting the Christmas tastes. These simple things make the most wonderful time of the year even more wonderful.
What are your favorite things to eat and/or make at Christmas time?