The holidays offer families countless opportunities to bond, share, celebrate and start traditions that make the holidays more meaningful. Traditions represent a vital piece of our past, shape who we are today and will help form the structure and foundation of who we are likely to become. Traditions, especially at holiday time, contribute a sense of comfort and belonging. They bring family and friends together and serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories. Whether it is sharing a pancake breakfast on Christmas morning or fulfilling an annual secret Santa wish for a family in need, no moment is insignificant when building traditions that make the holidays more meaningful. The bottom line is you should make the most of your holidays and have fun!
Sometimes it is easier said than done, so I am going to help by giving you some tips, ideas and activities! (Of course there is always baking or visiting the bakery to pick out all of your holidays goodies…but you knew I would say that!):
First of all don’t waste any of your holidays deciding what you want to do. Plan ahead and decide what you want to get done. Being organized and having a well prepared schedule is a good thing so you don’t end up cramming things in or not getting them accomplished, and then regretting the time you wasted. Second, give yourself variety with planned days of shopping, decorating, baking or visiting friends and days to relax consisting of catching up on emails, giving yourself a manicure or pulling out those holiday classics: Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street and what Christmas would be complete without It’s a Wonderful Life?
Here are some fun things to do with the family while you are counting down to the big day:
Bundle up, grab some hot chocolate and visit a tree farm. Chances are you’ll do more than find a tree. Many tree farms offer sleigh rides and other family-friendly activities. The kids will love it! Make your own personalized ornaments by adding names, dates and photos to them. Then trim the tree together. I can assure you that you and your family smile every time you walk by the Christmas tree trimmed with your favorite memories. A holiday tradition and favorite for us is baking cookies and making a gingerbread house. Give kids a deeper sense of the holiday by having them make gifts. Drive around the neighborhoods to see all the festive house lights. Spice up your typical holiday celebration by introducing traditions from around the world. Learn to say happy holidays and sing carols in various languages, or add foods from other cultures to your holiday menu. Start a Christmas Eve Tradition by taking turns to read your favorite holiday stories. Create a digital holiday scrapbook so you can easily share your holiday memories with friends and family. These are just a handful of suggestions but there are a multitude of ideas to be discovered and shared. No matter how big or small just make them meaningful! Oh and remember, the Holidays are a time to indulge so eat, drink and party and DO NOT feel guilty about it!
Don’t forget to tune into TLC on the new date; Monday, December 30 at 9:00 PM to watch The Bakery Boss featuring Oteri’s Italian Bakery! Follow us on Twitter @ Oteris_Bakery so you can tweet about us during the show.
Wishing you Happy Holidays…
From our Family to Your Family with Love!
For most Americans, the holiday season brings shopping, decoration, and best of all cookie baking. Sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and baking powder or soda by themselves, these humble ingredients are the main parts of infinite recipes, but when combined in a certain way, they compose one of the most traditional, well known and well loved cookies in the whole world; The Sugar Cookie. What’s Christmas without classic Sugar Cookies? Pure and simple the sugar cookie is a favorite (especially at Christmas) but the recipe along with baking rituals, is what you will want to share, hand down and make again and again (See the Best Sugar Cookie Recipe). Innumerable people have spent quality time together mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, and decorating sugar cookies for the holidays. It’s time to drag out a baking sheet, start looking for your favorite shaped cookie cutters, gather your ingredients, round up the kids, family, and friends then get baking! Don’t forget the colored sugar, sprinkles, silver balls and frosting because baking the cookies is fun but decorating is the best part.
One of my most vivid and favorite memories of my childhood revolves around baking with my dad. Every year, at Christmas time, we would go to the bakery and I would help him make the sugar cookies. I can remember the wonderful aroma that filled the air as the cookies were baking. I couldn’t wait until they came out of the oven so I could decorate them. I loved pouring on the colored sugar and sprinkles and made sure each cookie was completely covered with pretty decorations. I continued those Christmas baking traditions with my two boys. From the time they were five years they would come with me to the bakery and we would get busy with those sugar cookies. We would wait to see which cookies didn’t make it off of the sheets whole because of course we got to eat the broken ones! Hot, sweet and delicious! It is memories that like these that we treasure for a life time.
Decorating Sugar Cooklies
Some time in the 1930’s it became traditional for children to leave sugar cookies and milk out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The colorful, sweet cookies made into happy, cheerful Christmassy shapes of bells. Stars, trees, snowmen, holly leaves and reindeer were there for the taking. Those cookies then and today were undoubtedly made with care and a lot of love by excited children who can’t wait to come down on Christmas morning to find the empty plate. These are wonderful Christmas memories and traditions…what are yours?
If you run out of time to bake we will have an abundance of Sugar Cookies in the bakery for you and your family.
From our family to your family with love!
Sugar Cookies Candy Cane
Don’t forget to tune into TLC on Monday, December 16 at 9:00 PM to watch The Bakery Boss featuring Oteri’s Italian Bakery! We got the opportunity to prove to Buddy how talented we are as a bakery. You will learn things about the Oteri Family that you never knew. You can follow us on twitter and tweet about us during the show!
As we head into the holiday season, this may be a good time to ask ourselves, “What is the meaning of giving?” Feeling the excitement and delight of a child unwrapping that long awaited toy, or seeing the happiness on your friend or family member’s face as she opens a gift that you know they wanted are some of the true joys of the season. But the true meaning of giving is not about possessions – true giving is something that will convey a real meaning, something that will make a difference in the lives of others; letting people know we honor and appreciate them, or giving to someone less fortunate. Giving is an expression of our sincere heart and love for people.
Although giving is an important part of the holiday tradition, while it is heightened at this time of the year, giving is not just a short term event because T’is the season. Giving back to the Philadelphia communities where we work and live is a deeply held value at Oteri’s Italian Bakery, and it is not something we do only during the holiday season; Oteri’s gives back all year long. As a successful member of the community due to the generosity of our customers, Oteri’s Italian Bakery feels we have a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate and contribute to the common good. Our stores located throughout the Philadelphia Community, including the Olney section, Northeast Philly, Southwest Philly and at our newest location in Roxborough, are proud to donate to Philadelphia Organizations. It makes us feel good to make a difference in the lives of our employees, customers and people throughout our communities.
Ronald McDonald House Birthday Cake Series
Oteri’s provides baked goods to Philadelphia Churches, Shelters and Schools. Additionally we offer a special program for charitable organizations and fundraising events. We are extremely proud of our long standing relationship with Ronald McDonald House here in Philadelphia where we provide a birthday cake for each child throughout the year and also furnish cakes for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. We serve two Locations in Philadelphia: Chestnut Street House and Front & Erie House.
We at Oteri’s Italian Bakery give back as a matter of choice, not out of obligation and because when it gives you pleasure it warms our heart.
Ronald McDonald House Birthday Cake Series
When you have given all you can or are exhausted from holiday shopping, give yourself a treat. Stop in to Oteri’s for a delicious homemade Dolce or Frutta Gelato or one of our famous old-fashion cream-filled cannoli with a cup of hot coffee. While you are there don’t forget to order your holiday cakes, pastries, pies or cookie trays. Also feel free to order a gift or two – perhaps a box of chocolate covered strawberries, marshmallows, or pretzels, or maybe some personalized chocolates! Our designer shoe cake toppers make great gifts as well. They aren’t just for cakes; they look great on display and are the perfect gift for your favorite shoe lover!
As always, from our family to your family with love – Enjoy the gift of giving.
Oteri’s Italian Bakery will be featured on TLC’s The Bakery Boss on Monday December 16, 2013 at 9:00PM. Watch for the announcement here, on Twitter and Facebook.