Food Life

Christmas Traditions + Recipes

December 26, 2016
Oreo cookie balls recipe food blogger love you more too

Instead of posting our Christmas traditions before Christmas this year, I wanted to share with you photos, stories, and recipes from all of our Christmas celebrations the last few weeks.  Colton and I are blessed that our immediate families both live nearby, so we can celebrate with both of them every year.  We also have several close friends that we have traditions with leading up to Christmas.

Pre- Christmas traditions

We have started several pre-Christmas traditions to get us in the spirit before Christmas Eve rolls around.

One is our Bradshavis Christmas with one of our best friends, Allison.  For the last few years, we have gone to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants, enjoyed great food, and laughed our butts off.  Each year, we explore a new restaurant in search of Dallas’ best steak.  This year, we ate at Nick and Sam’s and it was incredible.  If you ever find yourself there, grab the chocolate cake for dessert.

A new tradition we started last year is looking at Christmas lights with Brandon and Ashley.  This year, we set the bed in Maeve (our 1978 Westfalia, or the “Westy”) up, opened up the back door, and drove around Deerfield.

Our longest standing pre-Christmas tradition is Christmas with Matt and Hannah.  For the last 5 years, we have gotten together to eat Marie Calendar’s dutch apple pie and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  We realized this year that we have never had our traditional Christmas in the same place, between a couple of moves and one year we celebrated in the hospital when Hannah was on bed rest before delivering the twins.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was always a bigger deal in my family than Christmas day as I was growing up.  We get together with the whole family, eat a ton of food, read the Christmas story and open gifts.  This year, we fit 14 adults and 2 kids in my mom’s house for dinner and fellowship.

No joke, this beautiful woman will be 90 on Wednesday. I have amazing genes.

Since my beautiful grandmother turns 90 on Wednesday, we surprised her with a cake.  Then, my cousin read the Christmas story and it was time for gifts.  It’s funny how the older you get, the more excited about watching everyone open up the presents you bought them makes you happier than your own presents.

For dinner this year, I made beef taco rings and Oreo cookie balls.  Here is the recipe I used for these addicting, melt in your mouth treats.

Oreo cookie balls recipe

Adapted from Kraft Recipes


1 package of Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
24 oz. almond bark baking bar (milk chocolate)


1. Finely crush 36 Oreos in a food processor.  2. Mix crushed Oreos and cream cheese until well combined.  3. Roll into 1 in. balls and freeze on cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  4. Melt almond bark on the stovetop or in the microwave, and use a toothpick to roll the cookie ball in the chocolate.  5. Crush 5-10 more oreos and sprinkle on top of chocolate covered cookie ball.  6. Drizzle all balls with remaining chocolate and refrigerate until hardened (about an hour)

After dinner, we drove the 5 minutes to my in-law’s house, so we could camp out in the Westy.  We set her up and got the pups tucked in to bed long enough to realize camping in the city is no fun.  Unfortunately, there was too much noise (and it was way too hot in Dallas this weekend), so we slept inside for the rest of the night.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning, we woke up for the traditional Bradshaw Christmas breakfast and waited for the other “kids” to arrive.  We opened gifts, played games, snapped photos, and played with the puppies all day.

Christmas, for us, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, by being grateful for friends and family.  We are encouraged by these beautiful people we get to do life with all year, and Christmas is our time to show them how much they mean to us.  Gifts are fun, but the gift of time and energy is more precious.

How did you celebrate Christmas this weekend? What are some of your favorite traditions? Leave me a comment below!

  • candy December 26, 2016 at 7:20 am

    We love making these and we have family arrive after christmas we will continue to celebrate. I have a package of oreo cookies waiting for all of us to gather in the kitchen and help make them.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More December 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Those cookie balls look delicious! I always love hearing how everyone’s Christmas / Eve traditions vary!

  • Divya @ Eat Teach Blog December 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Christmas/NY traditions with my fam are what makes this time of year so fun! I love hearing how other people celebrate the holidays 🙂

  • Madison Weaver December 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Sounds like you have some fun traditions! And those cookie balls look amazing! I am so going to make these! 🙂

  • Neely Moldovan December 26, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I raelly need to make those. My husband loves oreos. Love hearing about your traditions.

  • Krysten December 26, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Your pre-Christmas traditions sound amazing. I would love to go look at Christmas lights. They are few and far to come by here in San Francisco.
    Happy birthday to you grandma!
    And I can’t wait to make those cookie balls! Yum!

  • Justine Y @ Little Dove December 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    First of all, I those Oreo cookie balls look delicious. Also, I love that you have so many fun traditions that you do during the holidays that friends and family are a part of! That is so great! I’m hosting a Christmas link up on my blog this week and I’d love for you to share with us over there!

  • Alexandra Mucenieks December 27, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Lovely post, the oreo balls looks super yummy, will have to add the to the long list of other blogger recipes that I’m hoping to try out one day

  • Kathy Brown December 27, 2016 at 5:08 am

    Funny how in my family too Christmas Eve is bigger than Christmas Day…The entire family gets together for a big meal. Followed by the family exchanging presents. The evening end with midnight mass.

  • Melissa December 27, 2016 at 5:15 am

    I always love hearing about other people’s Christmas traditions. Those Oreo cookie balls look AMAZINGly good. 🙂

  • Chelsea December 27, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Hi Jessica! Oreo cookie balls sound amazing!!! Christmas Eve was always huge in my family as well growing up. No matter what age I am, I will always love Christmas time!! XO

  • Lee Anne December 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Love this! I just love hearing other people’s traditions, and yours came with photos too… a sort of recap 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Lee Anne

  • Jolina December 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

    These are fun traditions. I mean, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! 🙂 I’d love to make a batch of those Oreo balls. Looks like something I’d snack on all year. And a happy birthday to your lovely grandma!

  • Rebecca Hicks December 27, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I love reading about others’ traditions, and it looks like you had a great Christmas this year! Oh and girl, your grandma looks INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t believe she’s going to be 90 when I saw the picture on Instagram!

  • Rachel December 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Love this! Christmas traditions are the best!

  • Tiffany Bacon December 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Your Christmas traditions look wonderful. The Oreo Cookie Balls look tasty too but I don’t think I could handle the sugar. The photos are great! I like hearing about other people’s traditions. This gives me a few ideas for next year. Thanks so much!

  • Charlotte December 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Woah!! Your grandma is 90?! No way! Talk about great genes, that’s incredible! Aww sounds like you had a beautiful holiday 🙂 and I’m the same–love gifting and seeing reactions from friends/family <3

  • Lindsey M December 27, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Those cookie balls are making my mouth water!! OMG. I’m so glad y’all had a wonderful Christmas with your family. There is no better feeling, in my book! Merry Christmas darling!

  • Gennifer Rose December 28, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I love your camper! I’ve always wanted to stay in an old school VW van and travel around, so fun!

    xo Gennifer

  • Mai Lyn Ngo December 28, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Love these traditions. Always nice to have a little something. And those oreo cookies look amazing!

  • Kari January 1, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Those oreo cookie balls look amazing! I love oreos and I love how cute peanut butter balls look. I don’t really like peanut butter though. These are perfect!