Original Zentangle design for 2011 Christmas cards

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ~Bob Hope

One of the things I love about the Christmas season is the continuity of tradition.  We really didn’t have any set traditions while I was growing up, but I have very consciously established a few with my own family.

The oldest of our traditions revolves around the Christmas tree.  I began buying dated Christmas ornaments for my children every year since they were born.  I have carried it on with my grandchildren.  There were a few lean years along the way, evident in the simplicity of the ornaments for those years.  I even have one lone survivor from our first tree after we were married.  A plain glass dime-store ornament that has managed to survive through 35 Christmases and various moves.  Even my grandchildren know to handle that one with care.  Once my girls moved out on their own, I gave them their collection as a start for their trees.  That was when I realized I would be losing a LOT of ornaments and started to collect for myself.  We gather ornaments from various travels, usually buying at least one on each vacation.  I now have a huge 9 ft. tree that is completely covered with unique ornaments.  My new son-in-law was stunned to learn that many of the ornaments my daughter has from her childhood are worth quite a lot of money.   Katrina was outlining the procedure for decorating their first Christmas tree, complete with Christmas music playing the whole time.  I was touched when I realized how thoroughly she embraced our traditions when she gifted me with an ornament purchased on her honeymoon for me.  Or course, I had ornaments to commemorate their first Christmas together from our trip to Branson.

I started two new traditions last year.  Once I began to embrace Zentangle, I decided to design my own Christmas cards.  I especially love this year’s creation – a Christmas tree – done with Sakura pens and Derwent Inktense pencils.  The second has to do with Christmas morning.  I always cook supper and usually have my grandchildren as my daughter works every Christmas Eve and Christmas in the ER.  She comes to our house on her way home from work Christmas morning to open gifts with the kids before getting some rest for her next shift.  I’ve been following the FlyLady for about a year and she included a recipe for cinnamon buns in one of her newsletters last year.  It was so simple and intended to be a no-fuss, no-muss treat served on Christmas morning.  The kids and I assembled them the night before and I popped them in the oven on Christmas morning.  They were a huge hit and I am told they taste like Cinnabon (I have to take their word for it, as I have to avoid gluten, so don’t eat them.)  We’ll be doing these again this year.  In the interest of spreading a little tradition, I am sharing this wonderful recipe with you.  Enjoy and take a moment to think about your own traditions – or start a brand new one and make some memories for the people you love.

Christmas Eve Shortcut Cinnamon Buns

From the Fly Lady

These are made the night before and popped in the oven Christmas morning when the kids are attacking their presents.


20 unbaked frozen dinner rolls (Bridgeport works well)

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup instant vanilla pudding mix (this is NOT the whole box)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted


Lightly grease a 10 inch Bundt cake pan.  Place frozen rolls into the pan.

Combine the brown sugar, pudding mix and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the frozen rolls.  Pour melted butter over the top.

  • If you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can use a muffin tin, but they turn out better in the Bundt pan.

Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight at room temperature to rise.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls for 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Turn rolls onto serving plate and dig in!

Makes 20 buns