Halloween has come and gone. Black Friday shopping craze has gone. Christmas music is starting to play on the radio. While these signs all scream "holiday season," for me, nothing rings in the holidays like family traditions.

Whether recently created or passed on for generations, traditions play a major role in bringing families closer together under the pretense of celebration. As a result, traditions are widespread throughout cultures, whether it is the decorating of Christmas cookies, having family dinner, or lighting a menorah.

Just like other families, my family has holiday traditions of our own, with our most prominent one being fudge making and distribution. At my house, the holiday season is marked by trays and trays of delicious fudge cooling on the dining table. For me, it doesn’t feel like the year is coming to an end without the mouthwatering sight and smell of fudge.

History Behind the Tradition

Photo by MSPhotographic

This tradition began with my father over 20 years ago. Like myself, my father is quite the foodie and loves to experiment with new foods. He especially does so with desserts since my grandparents are vegetarian; it is hard to find tasty desserts which do not contain eggs. As a result, my father tried out many recipes, such as one for cheesecake.

When my father first came across the fudge recipe, he made a sample for my grandparents and they instantly fell in love. He shared it with some friends and was overjoyed when they loved it. After that, my father gave fudge out at an engagement party during the 1995 holiday season. Since then, the recipe has been tweaked to perfection, and giving fudge to friends and family has become a holiday tradition.

Ghost of Fudge Past

As each year goes by, our fudge giving tradition expands to include our current teachers, past teachers, and friends. While we tend to stick to walnut, rocky road, and marshmallow varieties, we do take requests. Doing so allows us to experiment with different flavors and expanding our fudge making abilities to include flavors such as coffee or mint.

As a little girl, I was eager to help in any way I could, whether it was helping stir in the nuts or being the unofficial official taster. Since the process requires continuous and vigorous stirring of the pot, I was not allowed to help out when I was younger.

Now, I am able to help throughout the fudge making process—from the preparation to the stirring to the cutting and packaging. For myself and my family, the joy experienced by those who eat it is well worth the arm workout and the trays of temptations cooling on the table.

With more and more individuals to gift the fudge to, the amount of fudge we make only increases as each year passes. Last year was the first year we decided to weigh each tray to figure out how much we actually made. To our surprise, we made over 25 pounds or 11.3 kilograms!

One of the most memorable reactions to receiving fudge was from one of my old swimming instructors. A few years ago, we dropped off a large box to a couple of my instructors only to find out that one instructor had finished over half of the box himself. Last year, learning from that previous experience, we brought two boxes—one especially for him and the other for the rest of the swim school. Even still, he finished the entire box of nearly one pound in under 30 minutes!

Ghost of Fudge Present

Fudge brings joy to everyone it is delivered to and the bonding time spent while making it. This is why fudge making has become a family holiday tradition that I look forward to each year. I have even extended that tradition to the UC Berkeley campus. One of the organizations I am a part of on campus sold fudge as a Thanksgiving gram fundraiser, with proceeds going to charity.

Fudge making has been an extremely positive and satisfying experience where I am able to help bring a little bit of joy into the receiver's life. While I am not at liberty to share the recipe my family uses, here are some amazing recipes from other Spoon users: a healthy version of chocolate fudgegingerbread fudge, salted pretzel Nutella fudge, and mint cookies n' cream fudge

Ghost of Fudge Future

This year, the amount of fudge we will end up making is still uncertain—we may end up making 25 pounds again or maybe 30. 

I do not see an end to this holiday tradition as I will likely continue to make fudge with my children one day. Who knows, by then, with three generations, my family might end up making 100 pounds and have a list a mile long with people we want to gift the fudge to. 

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.