Home For Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas sentiments is, “All hearts come home for Christmas!” And, of course, all their hungry tummies accompany them! My family, as well as many, enjoy the Christmas morning breakfast as a tradition, after the packages are opened, stockings are emptied, and “The Christmas Story” shared. There is always someone stirring in the kitchen!

As I was growing up, Christmas morning was a complete buffet of homemade cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, breakfast casserole (because here in the South, family gatherings mean casseroles), homemade biscuits, and chocolate gravy. Oh, the chocolate gravy! I wish I had a nickel for every time I burned my tongue testing it!

The aromas from the kitchen got everyone stirring long before the anticipation of Santa’s visit. We gathered around the island in our matching PJs and brand-new slippers and taste-tested—with and without permission—from the queens in the kitchen.

Little has changed of the wonderment and glory of Christmas morning. With the recent trends and art of charcuterie, we can throw away our “disposable tin pans,” use the Tupperware only for leftovers, and make a spread that your loved ones will not only enjoy, but be dying to take photos of before digging in. 

Presentation is everything, right? Fruits for color and beautiful, festive boards for interest accompanied by all your family favorites can elevate your Christmas morning traditions. Whether allowing everyone to help build their own, or even contributing to a grand table board, you will all be together, creating those holiday memories—much like the chocolate gravy. 

But alas, man cannot live on chocolate gravy alone. Charcuterie lets all the kiddos (and kiddos at heart) choose their favorites, be they mini-cinis, powdered donuts, yummy fruit salad, fruit loops over-the-top breakfast quiche, or rich buttermilk waffles. From ages 3 to 83, it presents a fun tradition to start and continue around the Christmas morning table. 

From the planning, to the shopping list, to a trip to the local bakery (if your favorite isn’t also your specialty), to the actual Christmas morning prep…the important thing is the laughter and fun of Christmas togetherness. And hey, you can even please “the picky eater.” We all know there is always one. 

May I suggest a contest? Vote for the most creative, the tastiest, and even the “prettiest.” You can write your own family traditions. Think of fun prizes or even take it to social media for the judging! Who knows? You just might go viral!

From hot chocolate boards to cereal boards, to breakfast sweets, the possibilities are endless. Whether you are a truly talented and gifted host, or a total “door dasher,” there are no “rules” to charcuterie fun. The most important meals involve not what is on the table, but those seated around it.

Once breakfast is over, you can enjoy the quiet stillness of this “matching PJ wearing, Hallmark movie watching, soft blanket cuddling” holiday. It’s a time to enjoy full hearts (AND full tummies!) Remember, friends, that together is always a favorite place to be.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

In the Oven:

Arrange crackers on baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan. Tightly wrap each cracker with bacon and place seam-side down, then top with more Parmesan.

Bake until bacon is cooked through and bites are crispy, 45 to 48 minutes.

Season with pepper and serve with ranch for dipping.

In the Air-Fryer:

Sprinkle crackers with Parmesan. Tightly wrap each cracker with bacon and place seam-side down on a baking sheet, top with more Parmesan.

Arrange crackers in basket of air fryer, working in single layer batches of 5 or 6 spaced at least ¼-inch apart, as necessary to not overcrowd the basket. Cook at 350° until bacon is cooked through and bites are crispy, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Sprinkle with ranch seasoning if desired. Great pick-up-and-go snack!