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Winter Holiday Fireside Moments Interview with Nancy J. Cohen

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It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows.  When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love.  When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear.  When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart.  When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.

I’d like to welcome Nancy J. Cohen to share the beauty of the season with us.

Favorite Holiday tradition?

Since we celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas, as a child I enjoyed getting eight presents over the eight days of the holiday.

Favorite childhood toy?

I’ve always liked dolls. Still do!

Favorite childhood game?

On Hanukkah, we played the Dreidel game. We spun a top and it landed on one of four symbols. We may have played with nuts or pennies.

Snow ball fight or making snow families?

Making a snowman where I grew up in NJ.

Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?

Ice skating on a frozen lake in the local park and going for hot chocolate in the boat house afterward which smelled like sawdust.

Favorite holiday movie?

I like the sentimental Hallmark romances at this time of year on TV.

Favorite holiday story to read?

The story of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. The tale describes how the Maccabees fought for freedom from tyranny in days of old. After driving the enemy forces from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Maccabees discovered that most of the ritual oil had been profaned. There was only enough left to light the candelabrum in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, it burned for eight days and nights. Hence the holiday to celebrate this miracle and the concept of freedom. We light candles in the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum, to commemorate the event.

Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?

Now that I live in Florida, temperatures in the mild seventies are just fine for me!

Most memorable holiday memory?

Dipping my hand into a sack of wrapped gifts to choose one each night. The only present I remember as a child is a multi-strand necklace. The good part of celebrating Hanukkah as a kid: you get at least eight gifts!

Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?

Nope. Bad for the teeth.

Real tree or artificial? Green or white?

No tree. I put blue tinsel around and a Hanukkah tablecloth in the dining room, plus we light the candles in our menorah each night for the eight nights.

What do you do holiday eve?

On Christmas eve, we are invited to a friend’s house who celebrates that holiday.

What are your holiday plans this year?

We’ll be celebrating Hanukkah with our children. Usually we adapt the cocktail table in our living room by covering it with a festive cloth and laying out all the gifts. When our kids were little, they got to open one or two each night. Now we do it all at once. 

What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?

Latkes,or potato pancakes. Frying them in oil symbolizes the oil lamp burning for eight nights. I buy a premade mix, add the required ingredients, and fry them using my Presto electric skillet.

Please share a Holiday recipe.

CHOCOLATE RUM BALLS

1 cup crushed vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup powdered sugar

2 cups chopped walnuts

3 Tbsp cocoa

3 Tbsp corn syrup

1/4 cup rum

Candied cherries

Mix together crushed vanilla wafer crumbs, powdered sugar, and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Add corn syrup and rum and mix well. Scoop mixture into 1 inch balls.Roll each ball in remaining chopped walnuts. Press one half of a candied cherry on top. Refrigerate or freeze until served. 

Holiday party tip?

Organize your work ahead of time. Being well organized will help you avoid last-minute panic.

Favorite holiday decoration?

I like to admire other people’s decorations and am glad I don’t have to do all that work.

Favorite holiday song:

The Dreidel song. It’s a catchy tune. See link above.

Please share some magical holiday memories?

Hanukkah was never a big deal when I grew up. The holiday really became more significant in response to Christmas. I’ve enjoyed seeing our children grow, but no matter how old they are, they still like getting presents. It’s always a magical time of year and one to celebrate being with family. That’s what counts the most. It’s also the time to show others your appreciation for their services.

Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?

Some things I’ll wrap, others I’ll stick in a gift bag.

Gifts or gift cards?

 I like buying gifts for people. Sometimes we’ll give our adult kids a gift card to Publix (supermarket) as one of their gifts. I’ll put it in a box and wrap it so they can’t guess what it is. I’m tricky that way.

Do you eat fruitcake?

No, thanks.

Do you head to the movies on the 25th?  

Yes, if something good is playing. What else is there to do?

What’s in your stocking? *wink*

Probably the books that are on my wish list.

What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka wink*

I could use an iPhone!

Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?

Oh, yes. I’m usually at the stores for the bargains!

Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays from my house to yours!

Visit Nancy’s website and Nancy’s notes.

 

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About Diane Morasco