I love traditions. When I think back to my childhood, it is the traditions that I remember. Some traditions are intentional and some are accidental. Either way, traditions are something that ties our ancestors to us and to the future.
My mother was born in Germany and came over here as a young child. My grandparents kept a lot of their traditional German traditions alive when I was a child. Now that both of my grandparents have passed away, it is more difficult to keep many of those traditions going.
There is one tradition that I insist we keep going. It's our Christmas meal tradition. We used to have our traditional German meal on Christmas Eve. As a child, Santa would come while my sisters and I napped in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. When we woke up, we dressed in our holiday dress and my grandparents would arrive shortly after.
Traditional German Christmas Meal
We would all sit down to dinner (how did they keep us focused on food with all those presents in the next room???) The dinner consisted of German cold cuts, wieners, rolls, potato salad and bread. I loved that meal.Every time I think about it, it reminds me of my grandparents and brings back lots of memories.
We have modified the tradition a bit. My husband and I purchase all the traditional German foods at a local German butcher in the DC area. When I walk in, I can smell my grandma's house. She cooked all the traditional German foods throughout the year so that was what her house smelled like. We bring all the food down to my parents house after Christmas and enjoy a traditional German Christmas meal.
My kids do not quite understand the tradition, but they do know that every year we have hot dogs and sandwiches for dinner (that is their description of the tradition). I am not sure if the tradition will continue in the future or how my children will modify it to fit their needs. I do hope that when they sit down to their hot dog and sandwich Christmas meal, they will also think of all the great memories we made as a family.
What traditions does your family celebrate? Were they the same as you celebrated as a child? Do you have new traditions for your children?