Growing up in my parents' home, December was always a special time of year. It seemed there were so many things to look forward to! Mama had hand-painted a nativity, as well as the carolers shown here, and it was fun to unwrap them and set them up in their special places. There were cookies to bake and decorate -- especially Mama's special buttermilk cookies. And the parties! I think we usually spent Christmas Eve with friends at the Machen's, and there were always tamales. New Year's Day was an unbridled feast of food, football, and rummy tiles at the McClard's. But somewhere before Christmas, Mama always threw a party, too.
She would bake pies, the famous buttermilk cookies, fried cheese balls (how I wish I had that recipe) and her hot punch -- which was not only warm and delicious, but just made the whole house smell like Christmas. She served it in a glass and sterling carafe which seemed to exist only for this purpose!
When we have holiday get-togethers, my daughter always requests Mam-ma's hot punch (served in that same carafe). And she always hopes there is some left over for her to enjoy as she does schoolwork on cold winter mornings. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine has!
(Recipe from Anna Wheelis)
1 gallon apple cider
1 quart ginger ale
Small package red hots
1 stick cinnamon
Pour all into stock pot and simmer 20-25 minutes.