Many families have special traditions for the holiday season that are continuously celebrated each year. Molly Walter ‘20 and her family celebrate Christmas with an intense competition that is like no other.
The competition all started in 2000. Phil Walter recalls he was visiting his mom’s house when his fiancé mentioned that she never tasted fruitcake in her life. His brothers and sisters overheard this and came up with the idea that the family should have a fruitcake-making contest for Christmas.
“It was fun watching Phil make the fruitcake because I’ve never seen it been done before,” said Lori Walter.
As for the winner, Phil explained that “non-contestants are usually judges.”
For the first year, Jim Ellsworth, a family friend, judged as he was the only one who liked fruitcake. His niece Emily, who was the youngest member of the family at the time, also had an opinion, but she hated it all.
Though she didn’t win, Lori explains that they “all got a placement.”
The winner usually receives cash.
Dishes from the different holidays theme. (St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Day).
After the first competition, the tradition took off. Robin Prettyman loves it and helps in developing the theme and who must make what based on it.
“My favorite part is choosing what we’re going to do,” said Prettyman.
She explains that the family decides on the guidelines every Thanksgiving, and all participants get assigned an “element of the theme and a dish type.”
The custom never gets boring as the theme is different every year. Examples of past ones include Christmas songs, other holidays and ugly sweaters. There is always an element of fun.
Beer bottles decorated for the theme, “Santa’s reindeer.”
Molly Walter explains that the “competition can get very intense” and that “there is at least one person who tries to persuade [her] to vote for them every year.” A couple competitions back, she slightly bent the rules and bought her dish instead of making it from scratch, but she didn’t get away with it.
“My aunt called me out. I had to make a Rudolph cake as the theme was Santa’s reindeers. I got it from Publix, and she noticed that the cake was way too fancy for my baking abilities. I was unofficially disqualified,” said Molly.
The Walter family continues to celebrate the holiday season with this tradition every year. The theme for this year is set to be various tastes of Christmas with all participants being assigned a specific Christmas flavor to incorporate into their dish.