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Holiday Traditions

with KCFM's Cover Family, The Martins

During this festive season, you can find KCFM’s December cover family, the Martins, celebrating the holidays with fun traditions that involve their entire family.  Whether they are hiding a pickle in their Christmas tree, visiting the HolidayLights at CALM, or baking mini-cheesecakes, they are creating magical memories together and making the season wonderful.  Santiago (“Chago”) and Kristie Martin have three children, Nathan, four years, Alivia (“Ali”), three years, and Emilee, 11 months.

“I think the purpose of traditions is to strengthen the bond between family members and bring families together,” says Kristie.  “Holiday traditions heighten children’s anticipation for the holidays.  I believe this anticipation is the ‘magic’ of Christmas.  I want my children to associate the holidays with family and fun.”

One of their favorite traditions, baking mini-cheesecakes, originated from Kristie’s grandmother, who would bake a cherry cheesecake pie every holiday season.  To help stave off cherry-stained messes, Kristie’s mother tweaked this pie recipe; and the tradition evolved into a self-contained cheesecake cupcake.  This family-friendly recipe allows everyone to be involved in the baking process.

“I remember putting the vanilla wafers in the cupcake tins and scooping the cherries on top of the cheesecakes after my mother had finished baking them,” Kristie says.  “I hope my children anxiously look forward to visiting Nana to help her bake these delicious desserts as much as I did when I was young.”

Along with baking, the Martin children can’t wait to see their neighbors’ seasonal lights and yard decorations, read holiday books, watch “Home Alone,” and sing their favorite carols, “Frosty the Snowman” and “Santa Clause is Coming to Town.”

The children have been anticipating a visit from Santa all year.  In fact, this summer when Ali was having a tantrum, her older brother Nathan said, “You better stop!  Santa Claus is watching you.”  Having been good all year and keeping their names off the naughty list, Nathan hopes Santa leaves him a remote-controlled car, and Ali wants a mermaid.  Because their baby sister Emilee can’t talk yet, they’re not sure what she wants Santa to bring her, but whatever she receives, she’s sure to love it.

High school sweethearts Chago and Kristie have been married for seven years.  Chago is a member of Bakersfield North Rotary.  In 2007, Chago’s family became the owners of Vejars Mexican Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge in Tulare, a local favorite that serves authentic Mexican food.  For more information on the Martin’s restaurant, please visit 

Kristie Martin’s Mini-Cheesecake Recipe

(makes a dozen)

12 vanilla wafers

2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs


Line muffin tin with foil liners.

Place one vanilla wafer in each liner.

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until well blended.

Add eggs and mix well.

Pour over wafers, filling 3/4 full.

Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Allow to cool, then chill.

Top with fruit, nuts, chocolate, or topping of your choosing and enjoy!

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Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home

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