The older I get, the more I realize how traditional I am. That became quite apparent to me this year as I hosted my first Thanksgiving in a few years. I long for the days where cooking began at 7AM with seeing my Grandmother and Aunt Kelly putting their magic on the dinner with homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed cauliflower (my favorite), yams and several other sides. We would all say a traditional Norwegian Prayer (I can say it, but I have no idea the translation). Thanksgiving wasn’t complete until Jennifer and I fought over the wishbone, and everyone was under someone’s feet, tripping over each other in the kitchen. We also used to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon, on TBS, every Thanksgiving night)
After 1996, Thanksgiving quickly became one of those holidays I detested – that was the first time I felt that the family was drifting apart. Jennifer had married, Kelly was dating, Bernie was doing whatever Bernie did. It seemed easier for us to drift rather than be together. I have since accepted its fate, as I usually went out to dinner with Eddie and my Grandfather (he passed in 2007), so I have started to recreate my own Thanksgiving this year and celebrated with my in-laws and my sister Jennifer. I hope to one day incorporate the rest of the family, but I think we are all kind of set in our ways.
Christmas is another story. Here are some of my traditions:
** Cleaning/decorating the house on Black Friday (including the Christmas Tree)
** Going to Wheaton Village for new ornaments (the handcrafted glass ornaments remind me of my Grandmother’s ornaments from overseas)
** Hosting a Christmas party for our friends
** Spending a day in NYC
** Wrapping gifts by the fireplace with a glass of wine and singing Christmas music
** Food shopping on Christmas Eve @ 5:30 AM (yes, I’m that crazy, but I’m not dealing with crowds)
** Having a quiet dinner out with Eddie on Christmas Eve
** Hosting our families on Christmas Day
Clearly the last one is my favorite. I have come to realize that after my Grandmother passed in 1996, she really was the glue that held us all together. I’ve always felt some sort of need to hold on to the old days, so each year we all get together and celebrate in my home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Jennifer comes with her children, Dana and Riley, Kelly and her husband Paul come with Makenzie and Colton (every other year), Bernie and his fiancé Linda join in (sometimes her twin sons Justin and Matt too), Eddie’s parents, and of course Ed’s sister Paula. Nothing makes me happier than everyone gathering in the kitchen, helping me put the finishing touches on dinner, sharing stories and making fun of each other, seeing the joy in the kid’s faces when they open their gifts, Ed’s face when the Lakers win (lets beat Miami this year). Even the dogs get decked out in their own Christmas gear and have their own stockings too.
So I’m a bit on the sentimental side, but there’s something about the holidays that bring that ‘soft’ side out of me. Share your traditions, who knows, you could inspire me to do something new (and I can hear Eddie giving me a ‘Yo Shan’ at that comment – as sentimental as I get around the holidays, I make him equally as crazy – love you babes!!)