Some traditions begin organically.
After a few years, you suddenly realize, "Hey, we've been doing this thing every year just like this; this thing is a tradition!"
Others, well, they have to be made.
That's how it is with the donuts.
I am making donuts our family tradition. I am forcing them into tradition-ness.
I just really like the idea of it: We don't eat donuts the rest of the year, but on the morning that we get up early and go out into the wild and find ourselves a wild Christmas tree, we eat donuts. (Ok, it is, like, 11:30a. It isn't really the Wild. And the trees are pretty domesticated. But you know what I mean: We use our bare hands to saw down a tree; we wear boots. It's very Into the Wild minus the bears.)
But seriously, I like the idea of making a special day that much more fun and special by adding a totally out of the ordinary food, like donuts. So, last night I was on Yelp and researched the best donut place in the area (Donut Station in Capitola, it turns out) and then I was out the door at 6:30a into the 40-degree morning on my Donut Quest.
I don't know how to choose donuts. Maybe this is something that will develop as the tradition matures. But I know Joe likes cruelers and I know I like old-fashioneds, so I bought every single crueler they had, plus half a dozen assorted old-fasioneds, plus some donut holes for the kids.
And they were good. Really, really good.
More important than the sugar food, though, was sharing the whole afternoon with friends in this awesome place where I grew up. That's the stuff that really makes a tradition worth perpetuating.
(GHJ Tree Farm, Skyline Blvd, Los Gatos, CA)