And just like that, it’s almost Christmas! Can you believe it?
Christmas was always an outrageously fun holiday for me, and one that centered deeply on family. Growing up, we lived on the same property as my aunt and uncle. Everyone was very close, as it was a pair of brothers married to a pair of sisters, and each family had five children. It was quite a crowd!
Dinner was more of a celebratory feast, with over twenty people in attendance including our two families and grandparents, as well as neighbors and friends who didn’t have families of their own to go home to during the holidays.
Being of Ukrainian descent, there was always a mixture of delicious Ukrainian and Western dishes served, and my mother had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to cook our twenty-five-pound turkey!
It was hectic, but brilliantly joyous, to celebrate two cultural traditions and two holidays at once in a house warmed by love, laughter, and family. Even now, the memory brings a smile to my face and a glow to my heart.
Years later, when I spent Christmas with my in-laws for the first time, I couldn’t believe how restrained it was – there were only four of us around the dinner table! A far cry from the seasonal community of my youth, but lovely and intimate just the same.
That is, after all, the point of the season: whatever form it takes, this is a time for family, for reflecting on how much we all have to be deeply thankful for in our lives, and extending warmth and kindness to one another. It is the stuff memories are made of, and that which bonds us together throughout the years.
What Christmas traditions do you most remember from your childhood, and which do you carry on with your family today?
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy holiday season,