Good Tidings & All That Jazz

Even on the coldest, darkest of days here in northeast Indiana, we're warmed and cheered by the shimmering lights, familiar sounds of a favorite holiday tune and the profusion of sweets that mark the days of this season. There's an abundance of charm in our treasured festivities and traditions, both big and small. From our time-honored rituals to our favorite treats, we're sharing what makes the holidays so bright for us this, and every, year.

ali frebel


My favorite tradition is waking up on Christmas morning and drinking coffee with my family. The fireplace is lit, I’m cuddling with my pooch and ‘A Christmas Story’ plays in the background. After we exchange gifts and clean up, we switch to mimosas, or my mother’s almost famous pomegranate martini, and decorate sugar cookies. And, ’A Christmas Story’ will still be on repeat...
For the new year, my goals are career-based and personal. I will strive to mature my small business (Frebella) both in my own skills as a creator and to increase my marketing efforts. On a personal level, it’s a constant attempt to better my eating habits, which will be no different for the upcoming new year!

Soula's Pomegranate Martini

1 pomegranate, seeded

1 cup cold vodka (to taste, depending on how strong you like it)

2 fresh grapefruits squeezed

2 fresh oranges squeezed 

1/4 cup of pomegranate syrup

Combine in a pitcher. Stir. Pour. Top with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy! Makes about 6 martinis. 

leah badiac


2017 was a big year! I became engaged to the love of my life and we purchased our first home together. My goal for 2018 is to enjoy the wedding planning process and to get our home organized.
My favorite holiday tradition is listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree and baking holiday goodies. Nothing gets me into the spirit of the season like Stevie Wonder’s What Christmas Means to Me.

Leah's Creamy Caramels Recipe

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 cup butter or margarine

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and butter the foil; set aside. Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil slowly for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until candy thermometer reads 238° (soft-ball stage), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool. Remove from pan and cut into 1-in. squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends. Makes about 64 pieces.



My favorite Christmas morning tradition is flipping through old photo albums with my family. We’re all in our pj’s, laughing at funny memories (or fashion mistakes), eating cinnamon rolls and sipping our Irish coffees. It’s the perfect way to kick off the day!
My goal for 2018 is to organize my thousands of photos from spread across my various devices, many of them just of my pup Stanley! I want to get them all printed into books, and get a new one printed at the end of each year going forward. Then, I’ll be able to continue my family’s Christmas morning tradition with my own little family, when that day comes.

Sienna's Snickerdoodle Recipe

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for rolling


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing in between additions. Mix in the vanilla and ground cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add mixture to the mixing bowl with butter and sugar. Mix until dough forms (it may be crumbly at first, but be patient, the dough will form!). Scoop out two tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Place dough on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet.

Tweet us @thefindfw to share your favorite holiday traditions, recipes and wishes for the new year!