Many of us have wonderful holiday traditions and memories. It is never too late to create or even change them. Today, I want to share some of my favorite holiday traditions and memories with you.
Let’s start with Thanksgiving, which is right around the corner. My parents, brothers and I have been going to Kennebunkport, Maine for 40 years. We celebrate with my Mom’s brothers and their families. There are lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. We are loud, we laugh and we feast. We greet each other with a “Happy Turkey Day” or “Gobble Gobble.” The table is always decorated beautifully. The food is abundant and delicious. Two turkeys are cooked so that we have meat for sandwiches on Friday.
Friday has become a ritual, too. We call it "cousins day”. We plan an event and have done everything from going to the movies, renting an indoor sports field to play soccer, playing charades and pictionary, going bowling and more. We bring a meal to share and create more memories. Oh, and there are lots of laughs!
Mom and I have started a new tradition when we head south to go home on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We stop at our favorite stores and outlets to purchase Christmas gifts. By the time we get to RI, all of my Mom’s gifts have been bought (with my input) and many of my gifts as well.
Thanksgiving just would not be the same without a weekend in Maine.
The week after Thanksgiving, I go to Clinton, CT to choose and chop down my own Christmas tree at Schrempps Christmas Tree Farm. I have been doing this for almost 20 years. The family sees me and they say, “Hey the girl from Rhode Island is here.” I buy a Concolor Fir tree, which does not drop any needles. This is great because I leave my tree up until mid January or later. I love the warmth and beauty it brings to my home, especially after the Holidays and when it is so cold and dreary outside.
Christmas Eve is always the Italian feast of the 7 fishes; a meal that includes 7 different types of seafood. We have shrimp cocktail, fish cakes, crab, anchovies, calamari, fish salad with squid, shrimp and scallops and spaghetti with lobster sauce. The location and guests have changed over the years, but the meal remains the same. We attend Mass. That has changed from midnight Mass to going before dinner now. When we were young we were always allowed to open one present before we went to bed. It was always a new pair of pajamas. I have continued the tradition with my niece and nephew. Christmas day starts with exchanging gifts and a breakfast that we eat throughout the morning, buffet style. In the afternoon a lovely meal is shared with family.
Photos L to R: My hand chopped tree, pajamas for my niece, and some battered and fried artichoke and cauliflower (a traditional Christmas Eve recipe passed down from my Grandma Molly).
All the preparations for these traditions are worth it. The holidays are celebrated with family, great food, thoughtfulness and a lot of love! Memories to always cherish.
I would love to hear about your holiday traditions and memories. Please share in the comments below!