Letter from the Editor: Rock stars, Santa Claus and Christmas Crack(le) | December 2011

Nothing will make you feel like a rock star more than coming home from work to tell the kids you had an interview and photo shoot that day with Santa Claus.

Nothing will make you feel like a rock star more than coming home from work to tell the kids you had an interview and photo shoot that day with Santa Claus.

This was the exact scene in my house recently while putting together this issue. Mind you, it was mid-October and their thoughts were still squarely focused on collecting the most Halloween candy. So this made Christmas feel a whole lot closer. And with three young believers in my house, the excitement level soared pretty high over this whole Santa deal.

Still, they had questions: Was he the real Santa or a helper? Why did he come to see me — had Santa heard about them already? Why was I bothering him for the magazine, shouldn’t he be getting ready for Christmas? He’s got our lists, right?

Then I pulled out the big guns. A personally autographed 8×10 from Santa. If there’s ever a year for good behavior, it’s this one. Mom’s rubbing elbows with the big guy himself!

Told you I was a rock star. You’ll find our interview with Larry Durian, er, Santa. Santa Larry’s story is fascinating, and I found him to be as sincere and good-hearted as you’d imagine the real deal to be.

The best part about Santa Larry? His day job has him working with at-risk youth and their families as an administrative supervisor in the Stark County Family Court. He said portraying Santa allows him to find the good in children of all ages.

And if that doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, let’s add some holiday recipes to the mix. We asked readers to submit their favorite recipes this issue.

I can’t resist adding one of my favorites as well. It’s soda cracker candy that couldn’t be easier to make — or more addicting to eat. I’ve always called it Christmas Crack, but had to alter the name to Crackle once my children were old enough to say it, for fear they would go to school to tell their teacher and classmates that their mom made another batch of Crack.


1 package soda crackers (10 ounce)
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 package semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounce)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place crackers in a singe layer over prepared cookie sheet. Use more or fewer crackers as needed to cover the entire bottom of your foiled pan (important!). In a small saucepan over low heat combine butter and brown sugar; bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes; pour over crackers. Bake in preheated oven for 5-8 minutes (will be bubbly). Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top, put back in oven for just a minute to soften the chocolate. Spread chocolate and top with whatever desired or leave plain (some of our favorites to sprinkle on are crushed pecans or crushed peppermints.) Chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or until set. Break into pieces and store sealed. Variation: Use mint-flavored chocolate chips!

Blessings to you this holiday season!
Darla A. Brown

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass