Dianne Hartsock's Christmas Traditions

Next on my list is Dianne Hartsock. I fell in love with her when I received a copy of Alex to review.  I fell in love with it. It’s very dark and angsty and I hear a sequel is coming soon. I can’t wait. Now I think I own everything she has out, and can’t wait for more. not everything is dark like Alex. She also writes mystery, and plain old good loving contemporary, paranormal, and even Zombies. Here is how she plans to spend the holidays and she also shared a recipe with us. ~ Cat~

Dianne Hartsock Christmas Traditions

Diannes tree 

When I was little, it was all about Christmas morning. Hardly able to sleep the night before—too excited!—we’d tumble out of bed as soon as Mom let us, and line up outside the living room doorway. That room had sliding wooden doors to close it off from the rest of the house, which Dad would open with a flourish and we walked into magic.

Things changed a little after I got married. I love it! We open presents to each other on Christmas Eve, something I’d never done before. It’s an amazing evening filled with family and laughter, good food and, of course, presents!

We all traipse over to my mother-in-law’s house, my family who live in the area included. There’s quite a house full! Karen always makes a huge pot of clam chowder, which we eat quickly, ready to get to that tree glittering in the other room, up to its lower branches in brightly wrapped presents.

After dinner, the youngest has the dubious honor of handing out the gifts, one at a time. We oooh and aaah and pretty soon it all falls apart into the great Christmas wrap war. Fun times!

Christmas morning we spend quietly at home, fire on the hearth, Christmas music playing, and wait for our grown kids to wake up and see what Santa brought them.

Christmas is the time for families and laughter and presents and peace on earth. And of course, those candy filled stockings. My favorite candy is the old-fashioned candy cane, which has quite a history of its own.

Birth of the Candy Cane

Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy.


The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.

The clergymen’s custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.

Candy Cane Recipe


Be careful! It will be very hot. Once it is just barely cool enough to handle, the candy must be pulled and turned on itself over and over until it is no longer clear.

Prep Time: 45 minutesDiannes candy canes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


·         2 cups sugar

·         1/2 cup light corn syrup

·         1/2 cup water

·         1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

·         3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

·         Red food coloring


Cook sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar to a very hardball stage (use candy thermometer: 250 to 265 degrees F.). Remove from heat and add peppermint. Divide into two parts, add red food coloring to one part, and mix well.

Pull pieces of each part to form ropes and twist red around the white to make candy canes.

Yield: 1 dozen
Recipe Source: “From my Great-Grandmother Maggie’s cookbook…” —Jonni McCoy

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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