• Leigh Gerstenberger

Holiday Traditions and Memories



One of my favorite things about the holidays is the memories and traditions that are brought to mind. Maybe I’m just a sucker for nostalgia as I get older, but I find as I age, I enjoy reminiscing. It’s funny the things that will bring long lost, favorite memories to mind.

I was reminded of this over the weekend when my wife made Chex mix, a long-time holiday tradition in our home. I’m sure you all know the recipe which has many variations that are hardly scientific which is good, so there’s no way to mess this up.


Our version combines rice, wheat and corn Chex cereal in a large baking pan with stick pretzels, peanuts, cashews and a few Fritos for good measure. Drench the dry ingredients with a mixture of butter, Worchestire sauce along with a liberal dose of salt, pepper and Lawry’s Season Salt before baking it in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes while stirring the mixture periodically as it bakes.


Once cooled the mixture goes into cookie tins and large canisters ready to be broken out at a moment’s notice when company stops by and or you just want something to snack on.

I’ve been enjoying Chex mix at Christmas for as long as I can remember. I was initially introduced to it at my grandparent’s home in Roselle, NJ at the age of four or five. At the time I considered it a delicacy. The treat was only available around the holidays. A royal blue Delft humidor that sat on the table next to my grandfather’s favorite chair in the living room of his home was stocked with this mouth-watering mix.


Throughout the holiday season I would frequently “go to the well” of what seemed like a bottomless humidor to sneak a snack, being very careful to replace the fragile porcelain lid after every serving.


Today my grandparents are long gone as are their two children, my father and his brother. While I am grateful for the fond memories and the times we spent together, none are more special than the memories that flood over me at Christmas time when I enjoy Chex mix.

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