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Marlo Thomas


Christmas Round-Up: What's Your Favorite Christmas Tradition?

Posted: 12/23/2011 8:55 am

Last week, I got into the holiday spirit and posted some of my favorite Christmas memories, as well as a shot of Phil and me on my Facebook page, decorating this year's tree. I guess it's true that Christmas brings out the best in all of us, because your responses have been so wonderful.

They've also been funny! "Wow! My tree is looking pretty sad right now," wrote Floridian Dee Cameron DeRoman on Facebook. "Can you come help me decorate it?" (P.S. I'd love to, Dee, but I've still got tons of tinsel to hang!)

It all got me to wondering what some of my pals remember best about their Yules past, so I zapped off an email to them -- as well as my Facebook friends -- asking, "Do you have a favorite childhood memory or Christmas anecdote? I'd love to hear it!" I also mentioned that I'm especially curious to hear about everyone's traditional Christmas feasts. When I was a little girl, my mother went all out with her holiday cooking -- but because she was Italian, there was always a bowl of pasta next to the stuffing. I guess she thought Santa was Sicilian.

Here's what my merry Christmas contingent had to say about their favorite memories. Enjoy!

Arianna Huffington
1  of  15
"Growing up in Athens, I looked forward each year to the holidays, when my mother would bake melomakarona, the traditional Greek Christmas cookies. Five years ago, when I had the chance to confront my fear of cooking -- on national TV, and, even more terrifying, in front of Martha Stewart -- I made a batch, and the smell of clover, honey, cinnamon, orange, and brandy brought back all the memories of my Mom in the kitchen and all my childhood Christmases. We all survived and Martha said she loved them. I almost believe her."

- Arianna Huffington

Here's the recipe:


2 cups of olive oil
1 cup of brandy
1 cup of orange juice
225 gr of sugar
grated rind of 1 orange
1 kg of soft flour or 750 g of soft flour and 250 g of semolina
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 cup of crushed walnuts
2 cups of honey
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
cinnamon sticks

Combine the olive oil, brandy, orange juice, sugar and grated orange rind, and beat well. Add the baking powder and soda to the flour. Transfer the oil mixture to a large bowl and add gradually add the flour. Knead and then form the melomakarona into small rounds or oval shapes. Once this has been done, gently press each melomakarono against the surface of a grater in order to leave a decorative pattern on each one. Put the melomakarona in a baking pan and cook in a pre-heated oven for half an hour, at 160 C. Allow to cool in the pan.

In a saucepan, add the honey, the sugar and 2 cups of water. Boil the syrup for about 5 minutes. Skim the foam off the top, add the cinnamon sticks and then pour the hot syrup over the cold melomakarona. Sprinkle with the crushed walnut and a little cinnamon.

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