So yes, it’s officially December and we are in full swing of the Holiday season, with Thanksgiving just behind us, and Christmas, Hanukkah, and many other cultural celebrations nearing. Now that I am a mother myself and my family has changed over the years, there is one thing that I started thinking about. Holiday traditions: what are they and where have they gone?
To understand what my holiday traditions are, I guess I need to rewind a bit back to my own childhood.
The first memory of a Thanksgiving tradition starts with my father’s mother, my grandmother Joyce. Every year a day or two before Thanksgiving, my cousins and I would help her make pies. Now when I say pies, I mean, lots and lots of pies.
Pumpkin pies, apple pies, lemon meringue pies and even sometimes orange meringue pies.
Now grandma did it big with the pies. Over a course of a day or two she probably made 1-2 dozen pies. As a kid I remember wearing an apron and mixing ingredients, kneading dough for her homemade crusts. When all the pies were done there would be pies all over the kitchen table, the stove top, and even on top of the washing machine, which happened to be in the kitchen area.
Why did she make so many pies? Because at Grandma Joyce’s house we celebrated Thanksgiving at lunch time. This was so that all her children (and there were five of them) could then have time to go celebrate Thanksgiving with their spouse’s family for diner. Oh yeah and all those pies were for her children – my dad, aunts, and uncles to take home with them. Grandma also made mini pies for us grandkids.
It was somewhere around my second or third year of being married that I tried to keep that Thanksgiving pie-making tradition.
So I made two apples pies for Thanksgiving. Pie-making is a lot of work. I am not sure how my grandmother managed. We no longer have Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family now that grandma and two of my uncles have passed on, so I haven’t made a pie in a very long time.
It’s sad to say that some holiday traditions will fade as time goes on. Maybe when my children are older, I will invite my grandkids to come over and make tons and tons of pies like my grandmother once did.
There are many holiday traditions around, many of which involve food and eating and gathering with friends and family. As families grow and change, some traditions will die especially if there is no one that wants to help keep them alive.
There is one tradition that my family has had that goes many years back to when my mom’s mom (my grandmother Theresa) would make cookies and fudge. When I was younger, my grandmother Theresa would invite us to all get together a few days or weeks before Christmas and we would bake cookies, fudge, and peanut brittle.
I think my grandmother may have made dozens and dozens of sweet treats to wrap up and give away as Christmas gifts. So it became a tradition of getting the family grandkids together to make some cookies.
A few years ago, it came to my attention that I had my own children and I wanted to keep this treat making tradition alive. So I spoke with one of my cousins and we arranged a date and time and gathered our children and our grandmother and made it happen.
Now this cookie-making tradition hasn’t quite been the same as the years have gone on, but with the help of my own mother Roseann, brothers, sisters, niece, and nephews, we can continue this tradition for ourselves and our kids.
So back to the question, how do you keep a holiday tradition alive?
You put in the effort. It starts with you and anyone else that feels the same way that you do. So, to keep my family’s cookie-baking, treat-making tradition alive, I will open my home to my brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, and anyone else that would like to join in.
Because I want to keep this tradition alive, for myself and my kids and the ones that will come after me.
Holiday traditions mean coming together with the ones that we love, even when we can’t be together on the actual holiday, creating memories and enjoying laughter and some fresh made cookies. Yum….
If you want it you just do it. Even if that means that it’s just you and your kids, you keep the tradition alive by talking about it and creating it again and again.
What are your family’s holiday traditions? Please share in the comments below!