Kim made some great points in her last post on making family traditions. Sometimes, traditions only last for a season or two and that is fine. If you live in Michigan, you might be going out sledding on New Year’s Day. If you live in Florida, you might be headed to the beach instead. You just have to be flexible!
As I was thinking through this post, I started thinking about some of our family traditions and realized I may need to offer an apology to my husband. Looking back, I was rather inflexible on the traditions front at the beginning of our marriage and when our kids were first born. We discussed how we wanted to do certain things based on what we did as kids, and I’m fairly certain that we adopted everything I wanted from my childhood. You know, the earth shattering decisions like….Santa/No Santa, wrapped/unwrapped presents under the tree, and opening stockings before or after other gifts. Some things I bulldozed my way through and others just worked out. For example, growing up, Steve and his brothers were allowed to open their stocking first thing even before their parents were up on Christmas Morning. However, I always opened my stocking up last. For some reason, this was really important for me to keep the same.
One thing that we did agree on was that we didn’t want to travel on Christmas Day. We definitely wanted our kids to wake up in their own beds and spend Christmas at home. We even make everyone wear pjs all day long on Christmas since we don’t plan to leave the house. My parents divorced when I was a young kid, and I hated being shuttled around on all the holidays. We would open gifts, have a bit to eat then head off to another place for another gift session and meal. I appreciate how sensitive Steve was to this area of my life and how he helped me set a new standard for our family. So as new parents, we told all the grandparents that they were welcome to come to us, but we were not traveling. I’ll be honest though, we have relented and traveled twice on Christmas day for vacations. But we did it as a family.
Another tradition that I was inflexible on was what we served for Christmas breakfast. My mom always made (still does actually) absolutely best scrambled cheesy eggs. But as our family became a blended family and grew with spouses and nieces and nephews, she had to switch to a baked egg dish so she could prepare it ahead to feed such a large crowd. I couldn’t wait to make this same egg dish for Steve when we were married. And so I did make it….year after year. Finally after being married for at least 12 years, I noticed that Steve didn’t really eat much of it. So I asked him about it and he admitted that he didn’t like it and never did! Guess what? My kids didn’t like it either! Here I was getting up early to prepare this silly baked egg dish that no one even liked. We now eat biscuits and sausage gravy every Christmas morning. My oldest daughter loves biscuits and gravy and requested it once and I’ve been making it every Christmas since. And if you asked her, she would probably say that its a tradition. She doesn’t remember the baked egg dish and that’s fine with me. I learned that its ok to let some traditions go when they don’t work for your family.
You know one thing I love about moving? Being introduced to new foods that are either regional, or just favorites of new friends. Each place we have lived, we have had a least one neighbor bring us a traditional yummy treat each Christmas. In Louisville, our neighbors made the most delicious pound cake and would deliver it the week before Christmas with their daughters. In Fort Wayne, my friend Tracey brought us a tin of spiced pecans. Here in Texas, my friend Stacee brings us homemade snack mix. Guess what I do? I now buy Texas grown pecans from the local 4H club and I make Tracey’s spiced pecans to give out. (crazy side story…Tracey and I became close friends when she moved to Fort Wayne and her childhood friend Jane introduced us. Kim and I knew Jane from Louisville and consider her one of our dearest friends even though we haven’t lived in the same place for 7 years. Tracey has since moved to Kanas City and Jane has moved back to Ohio.)
So maybe now is a good time to evaluate your traditions. Are you and your family enjoying your traditions? Or are you holding on to traditions for the wrong reasons?
Here is the recipe for Tracey’s spiced nuts…Enjoy!
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp. water
- 2-3 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cloves (I use allspice instead)
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Beat egg white until frothy. Add the water and pecans. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves & nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to egg white & pecans. Stir to coat well. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 1.5 hours. Stir 3 times while baking.
I usually triple recipe