This is a scheduled post since myself and my family are enjoying a week down in Disney World…..please note, I do have someone staying at my house with the dog while I’m away, so don’t bother looking for my address to burglarize me while I am away. Plus, my next door neighbor is armed with a shotgun and has instructions to shoot on site if he sees anyone near my house. Yes, seriously.
Please welcome today’s guest poster: The lovely Carrie from Carrie’s Rambles. She is pure awesomness. Enough said.
Holiday Memories & Traditions
Hey Everyone, it’s Carrie from Carrie’s Rambles guest posting today! When Robin asked me if I wanted to guest post I was thrilled and immediately said hell ya! I should really learn to think things through first, because then I had to think up a topic for a post and do her proud AND make good on my promise to not procrastinate til the last minute! Since Thanksgiving has come and gone and to me that is the official start of the holiday season, I thought talking about some holiday traditions BESIDES shopping, spending too much money and who got what new gadget would be nice.
In most areas of my life I am real big on flying by the seat of my pants. I’ll happily pick up and do whatever, whenever but the holidays are all about tradition for me.
My grandparents are first generation Italian (on my mom’s side, my dad’s were never really a part of my life) and big on family. My Grandma cooked for every holiday, getting up at the crack of dawn to get started because Grandpa liked to have the dinner by noon. There was never a question of what we were doing or where we were going for the Thanksgiving or Christmas. We went to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Period. Usually my mom’s two brothers would show up at some point with their wives and kids, but my mom as the only daughter and a late surprise baby was very close with her parents and so were we.
Christmas Eve we would head to their house about 3:30 and Grandma and mom would be cooking the fish…..that would be my least favorite memory. The stench of frying smelts and Bacala. I can still smell it. Of course grandma was good to us and would pull some of the buttered pasta out before she added the fish and my sister and I would eat that (mostly because I am deathly allergic to fish) Then I’d help them clean up and off to church for 6 O’clock mass we’d go, reeking like an Arthur Treachers cook. On the was back to our house Dad would drive the long way and we’d get to look at all the Christmas lights. Us kids would each get to open one gift from our stockings–after some incessant begging– then it was off to bed. Christmas morning we’d be up and open our presents early then taking a toy each, we’d be back at Grandma’s. Dinner was always the same, a HUGE pot of homemade Wedding Soup, Lasagna (or stuffed shells depending), meatballs, bracciole, ham, salad and bread. Naturally everything was made from scratch, including the sauce and there were dozens of homemade cookies for dessert. We spent the day with family and enjoyed it without the benefit of computers or video games and those are some of the best memories of my life. Grandma cooked like this for every holiday no matter how she felt, not because she had too, my mom would have gladly done it but because she wanted to. The last time she cooked Christmas was a month before my 16th birthday….she died 7 months later from cancer.
My mom has kept most of those traditions, except for the last couple of years. Her health hasn’t let her and last year I almost lost her too. Now I do the work. Making the soup, the sauce, the bracciole, using alot of the same pots and pans my Grandmother and Mother used. Now we are eating in Grandma’s kitchen again, since I live in her house. It’s small, it’s stuffed to the gills, and counter space is non existant, I am freaking exhausted afterwards but I love it and I love the feeling of doing the same thing my great grandmother did, then my grandma, then my mother. I’m only sad that I don’t have anyone to pass those traditions onto.