Cinnamon Rolls and Christmas Morning

HOLY COW!  IT'S DECEMBER!  Can I now start celebrating Christmas without having to hide the fact that my nativity scenes and trees have been up for a couple of weeks?  Yup, I'm one of THOSE people.  I'm writing this post as part of the Inspired Holiday Traditions series on Inspired Bloggers Network.  And I have my own little Christmas tradition that I'd like to share with you.

Christmas 2010

What does Christmas morning mean to you?  For some it means excitement all night long and not sleeping much.  For others it means dreading the sound little feet running to your room as your children are SCREAMING at the top of their lungs for you to get out of bed because, um, duh, "SANTA CAME!"  I know of some parents who even wrap their children's doors so that they can't come out in the morning until said parents let them (brilliant, just brilliant!).

For me, Christmas morning is excitement at seeing my girls' faces at realizing that the morning they've literally waited all year for is finally here.  The go downstairs to see what Santa has brought them, then they come get us.  Which is hilarious.  It's always done very stealthy.  Tip toe into my room and get within an inch of my face, tap me three times on my shoulder..."Um, Mom.  Mom, I just wanted to tell you that it's Christmas and Santa came.  Are you getting up?  Can we have breakfast?"

Breakfast, is that even something people still do on Christmas?  We do.  It's been a tradition in my family since I can remember.  And it's always the same thing served - Cinnamon Rolls and oranges. The oranges have adapted into clementines (Cuties), but the Cinnamon Rolls have remained the same.  I remember my mom making the rolls on Christmas Eve, placing them in the fridge before that final rise.  Then when we got up, she'd take them out to let them rise while we opened our stockings.

Me, Christmas morning 1991 in Biloxi, Mississippi

In the midst of the chaos, we would take a break and go into the kitchen for a family breakfast.  We'd sit down and enjoy the warm, fluffy cinnamon rolls and tart oranges that came in our stockings (a tradition we still carry on) and talk about the beautiful snow outside.  Or was it scarfing it down as fast as we could to get to the presents that remained unopened?  The idealist in me pushes for the lovely family breakfast where everyone sat around and smiled and waited patiently for the others to finish.  (I have 5 younger sisters, patience is a word that was rarely understood in our home)

Our Family, Christmas Eve 2010

Now, with our girls being younger and not understanding the concept of sleeping in, it's a mad dash to the presents with wrapping paper flying everywhere.  But when it's all done, we still take some time to sit down together as a family, turn on a Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas CD, and enjoy our Christmas Morning Breakfast together.

Cinnamon Rolls


2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs. milk


1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, 2 tsp. sugar, and warm water. Set aside to allow the yeast to activate. In a separate bowl, mix the salt, oil, and 1/3 cup sugar. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add the eggs and warm milk. Slowly stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is firm enough to form a ball (should not be sticky).

2. Cover the dough and allow to rise until double in size (about 2 hours).

3. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface into a rectangle, until 1/4 inch thick. Pour melted butter over surface and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up dough, jellyroll style. Using plain dental floss to cut (slide floss underneath dough and wrap around to cut off pieces), cut rolls approximately 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches thick.

4. Place on lightly greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

5. While rolls are baking, make frosting.  Cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.  Add 1 cup powdered sugar and salt.  Beat until combined.  Add 1 Tbs. of milk and beat again.  Repeat process until all powdered sugar and milk are used.  When the rolls are done, spread icing on while warm.

Makes 1 dozen rolls, Serves 12