Have you ever been spending time with your family over the holiday season, and someone brings out the old family photos? At our house, while looking at pictures of Great Grandpa, inevitably a reference will be made to the “good old days.” You know, back when beloved relatives who have passed were still with us and life seemed simpler?

This Christmas, when we're gathered around enjoying some old family recipe we've made for years, it's quite likely we will chat about the “good old days” yet again. We will miss Dad, who passed seven years ago--as well as grandparents and other loved ones who are no longer with us. Stories of eccentric uncles and old family jokes will be shared. It's a warm, happy time—the reminiscing.

Dad with his baby brother and sister, 1957

The other day, I had a bit of an epiphany. Someday, we and/or other family members and friends, will remember this holiday season as “the good old days.“ Time will pass and perspectives will shift. What we now experience as the regular ol' present will fade into a golden memory to which we hearken back.

This holiday season, as we reminisce, why don't we focus on being here now, too? When we spend time preparing recipes from our family kitchens from years ago, I hope we remember that these, too, are the “good old days.” Or they will be.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry holiday season. Speaking of old recipes, let me share one of ours with you. These are delicious and taste very much like something you would've eaten in, ya know, the “good old days.”

Chewy Noels (Makes 24 bars)

2 tsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 cup brown sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup chopped nuts

2 eggs, beaten

Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling on top

In a 9 x 9 x 2” pan, melt the butter. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and nuts. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Carefully pour batter over butter in pan. Do not stir. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle the confectioners' sugar on top. Place wax paper under a wire rack. Immediately invert pan on rack. Let cool. Sift a bit more confectioners sugar again. Cut into 24 bars. Enjoy.