Holiday Traditions 2012

Posted Dec 21 2012, 7:30 am in , , ,

I grew up in a family with very few traditions. Christmas was the one time of year that we had things we could count on. Christmas Eve dinner was a meatless affair at my mom’s mom’s house (good Catholics didn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve). We would each get to open one present at Grandma’s house that night and we would share Polish Oplatki (that was my last favorite tradition).

Christmas morning, we’d wake up early and get to rip into all of our presents at home while listening to Johnny Mathis sing Christmas music. My mom cooked a huge breakfast. Family filled our house — both sets of grandparents, aunts, cousins–just for breakfast. Then we’d lounge around most of the day before going to my dad’s mom’s house for Christmas dinner. 

As an adult, it’s been hard to choose what traditions I want to carry on with my kids. Some grew out of their interests. For instance, we go see a version of The Nutcracker every year. Last year, it was Nutcracker on horseback. This year, we saw a more traditional ballet. My girls like the ballet because they sell ornaments before the show. This year, we found a Drosselmeyer. He’s one we didn’t have on our tree yet. That tradition was born from my kids’ love of The Nutcracker. We have probably 8 different versions of the book in our house. Every year, I buy a new Nutcracker statue or music box to add to our collection. I think it’s my kids’ favorite part of decorating for the holidays.

This year's cookies

This year’s cookies

I’ve talked a lot about my love for baking cookies. Baking Christmas cookies is the longest standing tradition I have. My best friend and I baked cookies for our 25th year this past weekend. Every year, through high school, college, marriage, pregnancy, divorce, illness … we always met to bake cookies for Christmas. this year we made 21 different kinds. That’s about our norm. One year, we set a record with over 30 (I have no idea what we were smoking that year — must’ve been before we had kids). Although it’s my tradition with my best friend, my kids are involved. They help roll dough and unwrap Hershey’s kisses.

This weekend, we’ll do some more baking — just their favorites — because we gave away most of what we baked last weekend. It’s messy and loud and I love every minute of it.

After what happened in Connecticut last week, I feel blessed for every moment I have with my kids, traditions or not.  I sincerely hope that you enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate.

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