A Christmas Tradition: Nanny’s Date Nut Bars and a Holiday Light Tour

IMG_6093 (2)I baked some cinnamon shortbread and my grandmother Nanny’s date nut bars last night. Lots to do before Christmas, but I had to have some baked goods on hand for entertaining!

IMG_6115Nanny’s Date Nut Bars

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dates, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange rind, fresh, minced (Use less if you prefer a less intense orange flavor.)
  • ½ cups pecans, coarsely, chopped
  1. Cut together first five ingredients to make crust. Press half of crust in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Reserve the rest of the crust mixture to use as a top crumble crust.
  2. Combine the rest of ingredients except nuts in a medium-size sauce pan and cook on the stove until the  mixture thickens. Add nuts to thickened mixture.
  3. Spread hot date mixture evenly on bottom crust and top with the remaining half of the crust mixture and pat down.
  4. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut while still slightly warm.

My grandmother used walnuts in these bars, but my husband is a big bawling baby and only likes pecans, so that is how I make them now. You might want to try making a batch with each and see what you like best.


This is a tree that we don’t put up every year. It is all figural German glass that I’ve picked up over the years at 75 and 80 percent off after-Christmas sales and garage sales. Always something to look forward to, right?

Tonight after the sun goes down we will go on our holiday light tour around town. We do this every year. We stop and pick up a shake (or smoothie!) and then drive slowly all around town viewing everyone’s outdoor Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. Most people at this time of year leave their living or dining room drapes open so that people passing on the street can admire their Christmas trees.

IMG_6116 (2)

This is my Shiny Brite/ WWII tree. These were always my favorite type of ornament when I was growing up. We always loaded up our trees with decorations. There were nine of us decorating the tree and there needed to be a lot of ornaments to satisfy so many hands. We also decorated and hanged dozens of cut out cookies, so that each child could cut a cookie off the tree each day until Christmas. The tree, needless to say, was densely populated with Christmas cheer!

There was a time in the late 1800s on the East Coast when people would actually let anyone who wished come into the house and view their Christmas tree up close! That doesn’t happen today unless you are participating in a holiday house tour. (I enjoy those types of holiday tours–my favorite was a tour of churches decorated for Christmas that the area historical society organized a few years ago.)

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and are blessed with good times, family, friends, and neighbors. BegoniaIMG_6120

This entry was posted in Cooking and Food Preservation, Frugal Family Activities and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Christmas Tradition: Nanny’s Date Nut Bars and a Holiday Light Tour

  1. Sanderella's Crochet says:

    Oh, this recipe is fabulous!! Thank you for sharing. What a lovely Christmas tree and I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas! Sandy

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