It all started in the early '70s when Hickory Farms was one of the original stores in the old downtown Yakima Mall. Now,  it's a must have at my house for Christmas. You know those food catalogues that used to show up in your mail every November? Figi's, The Swiss Colony, Harry and David's?  Nuts, sweet treats, cheeses and sausages? As a kid, I would look  over the gift packs  and salivate, but couldn't figure out why it was so expensive. My parents wouldn't buy it, but once in a while, we would get one as a gift. Then in 1971, the Yakima Mall opened, and Hickory Farms was one of the original stores. That is where I had my first sample of their Beef Stick summer sausage. My life changed! My  brothers and me loved it! My Dad liked it, so he would buy it once in a while, but always for the holidays. I don't remember what it cost back then, but it was a LOT more expensive than baloney!

The tradition continues today. My family has to have it at Christmas time with some good Tillamook cheese and honey mustard, and maybe a nice DeShutes winter ale for me.  Some years, it's not Hickory Farms, but it is a long beef summer sausage!

It still doesn't last long with my four kids, but that's OK. It's a Teegarden Christmas tradition.

What are the must have treats your family  has to have at Christmastime?