Happy Holidays From

Chicago Toy & Game Group!

ChiTAG Team Holiday Favorite Traditions

Mary Couzin

One our holiday traditions is to share a meal with neighbors - they are the people closest to you! Every year I host a Neighborhood Nosh and invite the surrounding eight blocks of families to our home. We catch up, toast triumphs and ease sadness. Some say it is their favorite party of the year. It is simple - just ask everyone to bring a dish to share. The year round benefits for everyone will far outweigh your efforts to make it happen! Good for the community soul! 

My gift for the shared table is a roasted turkey and fresh homemade bread, which I've been making since I was 10 years of age. This is my eggbread/challah recipe: Bring 2 cups milk, 6 tbsp butter, 1/3 cup sugar just to a boil in a saucepan. Pour it into a ceramic bowl and let cool until lukewarm (approx 110 degrees). Add 2 packages of dry yeast and let sit for 10 mins. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Add 3 beaten eggs, a tsp of salt, a tsp of nutmeg. Stir in 3 cups of flour. Then sprinkle in flour and mix until it is kneadable. Take it out of the bowl and knead, adding a bit of flour as needed, until smooth and elastic. Clean the bowl and rub 2 tbsp of butter around the inside of bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it a bit to coat it in butter. Cover with a damp cloth. let it rise for 1.5 hours, then split the dough into 2 and each piece into 3. Roll the 3 pieces into a long strand about 16" and then braid. Put both braids onto a cookie sheet, cover to rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until golden brown on top and brush with butter after out of oven. 

For more holiday ideas, visit my Holiday Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/marycouzin/holiday-ideas

I'm from the South, where we live and die by tradition! On Christmas Eve, we serve Seafood Gumbo. Our recipe is:

Alison Ray

My sister-in-law and I put together a Holiday Gift Cheer Guide of our favorite things and I'de love to share it with you! https://issuu.com/nicoleregan8/docs/hoilday_cheer_gift_guide_vol._1_-_i_2d751ea8f46003

Nicole Regan

As a Jewish American Puppy, my dog Mini, of course, is skeptical of Santa Claus (see image) - even the "real" one! My traditions during the holidays are not always traditional. When I am not traveling to see family in different states, I love to stay close to home and spend time with other family members and dear friends. I often escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy visiting with my sister in the far north suburbs (aka "the country") for a few days. Around Christmas, we look forward to ordering Chinese food (the restaurants are always open) and watching movies! The sights and sounds of the holidays in the city are spectacular, too (like the tree in Millennium Park). A visit to see the Macy's windows on State Street, the Walnut Room, and outdoor skating are some of my favorite activities that put me in a holiday mood.

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