One of the best things about celebrating Christmas is spending time with family and friends.  And, of course, one of the added benefits of spending time with family and friends … especially family … is sharing stories, traditions, and yes, recipes! 


Every family has dishes and special treats that only get made during the holiday season that everyone cannot wait to enjoy as they embrace the jolly and make merry at their gatherings. We certainly have several, but one of the most anticipated treats year after year in our family are my mother-in-law Mary’s Fruitcake Cookies.  I grew up enjoying the traditional fruitcake (Claxton is my favorite), but once I married Santa Mom I was introduced to a fabulous take on the Christmas standard. These fruitcake cookies are lighter than a traditional fruitcake slice and are bursting with flavor.  Without a doubt, these bite sized treats are approved and a no-doubter to be included among my favorite Christmas recipes.



  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup margarine (2 sticks)
  • 3 cups flour (plain)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 ts vanilla extract
  • 1 lb candied pineapple
  • 1 lb candied cherries
  • 1 lb dates
  • 3/4 lb seedless raisins
  • 5 cups broken nuts (walnuts or pecans)


  • Hand or Countertop mixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Silicone spatula 
  • Cookie sheet
  • Large mixing bowl


  1. Mix together softened butter and sugar in mixer
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) 
  3. Add eggs, milk, and flour mixture, alternating wet and dry ingredients
  4. Add vanilla extract to mixture
  5. Combine above batter with chopped nuts and fruit in a large container
  6. Drop by spoonful directly on to your cookie sheet
  7. Place in a 275 degree oven for 25 minutes or until slight browning on bottom
  8. Remove from cookie sheet while hot
  9. Recipe makes about 90 crunchy and delicious cookies that will keep in a covered container for several weeks


Boxed and tied up with a string, in gift bags bound up with a bow, and perfect to enjoy over a hot cup of cocoa or your favorite coffee with your family and friends, Mary’s Fruitcake Cookies are a wonderful way for everyone to make merry during your next holiday gathering.


From Bethlehem to wherever you are in this old, wide world and from our home to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Santa Dad!


Christmas has come to bethlehem

I’ve written those words and shared a new version of Christmas in our home each holiday season for the past two decades.  I do that because I love Christmas.  Everything about it.  The traditions.  The history.  The memories.  The way it makes you feel inside.  The smells.  The tastes.  The opportunity to not need a reason to help someone else.  The joy.  The innocence of the season, especially now that I get to see it reflected back at me in the faces of my two young daughters.  The magic.  The fun! 


This Christmas season is different for all of us for so many reasons.  Many things are uncertain as 2020 comes to a close and that can lead to unease, anxiety, and even fear for any of us, but especially our children. Even so, there is still much for us to celebrate and be grateful for this holiday season.


In our home, that has meant that we will continue to do what we’ve done all year and lean into the one thing that 2020 has offered us in spades.  Time.  We’ve fully embraced this opportunity to spend more time together, just ejoying one another’s company, truly seeing and appreciating everyone and everything in our little world with genuinely grateful and open hearts.


And that brings me to why we’re all here.  I created because I love Christmas so much and I see the wonder it brings to our lives every day, I decided to share as much of the experience with you as possible.  It is my goal to give the gift of sharing our Christmas lives with you here, along with lots of other surprises like traditions, recipes, crafting ideas, and much more, even the occasional product review to keep your stockings full all year ’round.  I hope you’ll visit often! 


In keeping with my annual Christmas tradition, I’ll leave you with a look at some of our Christmas decorations this year.  I hope seeing them brings you as much as joy as putting them up brought us.  


From Bethlehem to wherever you are in this old, wide world and from our home to yours, Merry Christmas from the Santa Dad!