This last weekend, we drove around the many tree farms in the surrounding area checking prices. We pulled into a little farm that boasted $10 trees. That was in our budget. While we danced around in the very cold, crisp air, we glanced at the straggly trees with misgivings. But thankfully we found a gigantic 8-foot beauty. After my husband gingerly laid in the mud sawing it down, we tied it to our car and, listening to Bing Crosby sing Christmas carols, we headed home for a family Christmas tree trimming party with hot cocoa.

Drinking hot cocoa while trimming the tree is our family tradition. I think one of the beautiful things about food is how it can create such warm and lovely memories, especially when it's engrained into a tradition. My husband grew up with gingerbread and candy cane cookies on their tree trimming day. It's just one more thing to make the Christmas season a special one. 

 

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to list some different tree trimming party treats that are naturally sweetened. Why not make your traditions a little more healthy, too?

 

1. Classic Hot Cocoa: This list certainly wouldn't be complete without sharing my recipe for hot cocoa. I especially love using grade B maple syrup to sweeten it. 

 

2. Chai Hot Cocoa: For a fun flare, you can mix things up a bit by using the spices of chai to liven up your cup of cocoa. 

 

3. Peppermint Hot Cocoa: Using the same idea as the chai, you can also make your cocoa peppermint. 

 

4. Caramel Popcorn: This delicious popcorn recipe is based off my mother-in-law's recipe, but I used all natural, unrefined sweeteners in it. It's a favorite with both family and guests. 

 

5. Gingerbread Men: Nothing says Christmas better than gingerbread men. I love making these with my 5-year-old. They are made with natural sweeteners and sprouted whole wheat flour. 

 

6. Gingerbread Spice Cake (with butternut squash puree): Since I don't have my mother-in-laws recipe, I thought I'd share this interesting, healthier version. Sounds delicious! 

 

7. Fudge: This recipe is one of the most well-received fudges ever, and it's so simple to make. 

 

8. Christmas Chocolate Bark: Elena shares a super easy dark chocolate Christmas bark. 

 

9. Caramel Apples: Using only a couple of ingredients (honey and cream), you can make a delicious and luscious caramel to cover apples with. 

 

10. Maple Kettle Corn: With pure maple syrup, you can create a wonderful kettle corn. I just recommend that you use a more traditional fat, like coconut oil, in this recipe. 

 

Do you have any favorite tree trimming traditions? 

 

Follow me on facebook and twitter. 

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.