Monday, December 20, 2010


I know every family has their own way of doing the holidays. I figure many of you have families, like mine, where tradition is very important. Then there are other families that change things up, year after year.

My mom's side of the family is master of traditions. And our traditions revolve around one thing: FOOD. And not just for holidays! My siblings and I always laugh as we make the trek up to Maryland for visits with my grandparents about how the exact same types of sodas and beers will be stocked in the fridge. And how when we walk in around lunchtime, my grandma's crystal tray will be out filled with sliced deli turkey and ham, several types of cheese, two types of bread (a roll and a sliced), little crystal bowls of mayo and mustard, and a plate of pickles.

Or how whenever we go shopping with my grandparents, at some point they will want to stop at Starbucks... and will order everyone a coffee frappacino (whether you want one or not.) At first Chad thought this was hilarious - the black coffee drinker that he is. But even now, sometimes when we talk about my grandparents Chad will say he's suddenly gotten a craving for a frapp. ;)

And holidays are certainly no exception. Christmas day at my grandparent's house also followed script. Around lunchtime my grandma would put out shrimp cocktail, a tray filled with artichokes in olive oil, roasted red peppers, green and black olives, and sweet pickles.

Sometime midday my grandpa assembles the egg nog... which my grandma and mom will taste and say it needs more booze.

Then dinner.... ohhhhhhhhhh dinner...

See, for Thanksgiving, most families eat the same things - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, etc. But for Christmas, I feel like there is such variation.

For my Italian family, there is only one acceptable Christmas dinner: homemade cheese ravioli, our family sauce that has been passed down through the generations, bracoile, my great-grandpa's famous roasted chicken, a big fresh salad and fresh bread. I have such wonderful memories of my late great-grandfather in the kitchen running the show.

It is a time consuming meal to make (and usually is started on Christmas Eve), but it is something we look forward to every year. As we've gotten older, it's too hard to bring the whole family (especially now that 3 of the 5 siblings are married) - for space constraints, and for the in-law families we have to see as well. So over the past few years, we've had Christmas at my parents, and my mom has carried on the tradition (with the assistance of us "kids.")

I think in the beginning, Chad didn't really "get" the whole having to eat the same foods, at the same times, every single holiday. But now that he's a good few years into the family, I think he digs it. Or, if nothing else, he understands how important it is to me.

So what are your holiday traditions? I'd love to hear 'em!

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