|As the holidays approach like a train moving full speed ahead, I find myself looking this special time for me a little differently. It will be the first time I will be so far from family for the holidays. For me the holidays have been all about family. I find I am homesick for all of it, including the events and games that usually make me roll my eyes.
My traditional Christmas starts with Christmas Eve. I think Christmas Eve is steeped with more stories and tradition than Christmas Day! As a kid I remember the last minute scramble for Christmas Day; baking pies, setting meat to brine, scrubbing the floor until it sparkled as bright as the tree and wrapping presents in colorful paper.
The day before Christmas always meant a lot of work. The kind that feels like it takes a months worth of elbow grease. But no matter how riled tempers got or how many things went wrong, things were always soothed as soon as one passed the kitchen. My mother often had fresh oranges, homemade apple juice and cheese on the counter. One could stand there, briefly rest, and smell as the odor of Christmas formed.
I think the best thing about the kitchen though was the pot on the stove. A family tradition that started with my Great-Grandmother was to eat spaghetti on Christmas Eve. Not a quick canned style, but the kind that simmers on the stove all day long. The kind where the most important ingredient is love. The love it takes to keep one eye on a single pot in the midst of absolute chaos. I will miss that.
Christmas Day often means visiting my grandparents for breakfast and then a package-passing, paper-slashing frenzy on the floor of their living room. It is a sight when every square inch is littered with shredded paper. It conjures up the image of several kittens shredding every scrap of paper in a paper mill. I know I will miss all of my family and my holiday traditions.
When life changes and old traditions are no longer possible, what new ones will/did you create? I won’t be able to bake pie, or fresh rolls, but I will be eating sweet potatoes with cinnamon for my Christmas. I don’t think I will even eat spaghetti on Christmas Eve nor have a Christmas tree but I am sure my place can expect to be cleaned, dusted, buffed and polished within an inch on its life! I guess some traditions, much like habits, die hard.
I wish everyone the best of holidays and take care! Rest well and be assured we will be back in the New Year rested and ready to rock and roll! Happy Holidays!