Sunday, July 25, 2010


My friend Rosie did a traditions post, so I thought I would follow suit. Now that I am older and my son is grown, we don't do some of the things that we did when he was little. When (if) I have grandchildren, I am sure that will change!

We have always been a close family. My Dad was in the military, got out when I was about 5, so we moved a lot. I was born in Germany and, until I was 5, we never lived close to any of my grandparents. In fact, I did not meet any of them until I was 3. Living away from extended family, we kind of started our own family traditions to celebrate holidays. From age 5 to 11, we lived near my Dad's parents, so we celebrated holidays with them. From 11 on, we lived near my Mom's parents. Now, my mom was 1 of 14 children, so holidays at their house was usually out, especially in the winter, too many people to fit in the house. We settled for a family reunion once a year. So, back to holidays with just our family. We usually ended up having some friends around as well. Then when I got married and was out on my own, I started some traditions of my own.

Holidays at our house has always meant fun, laughter and lots and lots of great food. My mom is a great cook and cooking is my passion. There are still some things that she makes that are just better tho! Nowadays, with my brothers married and have families/children/grandchildren of their own, about the only holiday that we ALL get together for is Thanksgiving. My mom likes to do it at her house. We still get together for other holidays, just not all of us.

New Years Eve/New Year's Day
New Year's Eve, we have a smorgasbord. Usually all kinds of snacks: fresh veggie tray, chips and dip, maybe pizza, cold boiled shrimp, bbq meatballs, sandwiches, cookies, fudge. I like to stay up to see the New Year in, but my parents don't like to drive that late. We play games - scattergories, catch phrase, taboo, etc. Sometimes we will watch a movie, Dad likes documentaries. On New Year's day, some of us will get together and have a meal. It is traditional to have some kind of greens (cooked with onion and bacon, served with a bit of vinegar) and black-eyed peas. We usually have cornbread, fried potatoes and maybe pork roast with this as well. Sometimes on New Year's Eve, our church will have a watch night service and we take snacks, play games, etc. Some times we have a foot washing as well.

For Valentines, my Honey usually gets me the most beautiful card and roses. Sometimes I cook a special dinner, maybe ribeye steak and sometimes we go out - usually for steak. I usually make cupcakes to take to work. When my son was little, I would make a heart-shaped homemade pizza and we always had special valentine candy and cupcakes for him to take to school.

St. Patrick's Day
Being Irish on my Dad's side, we have a lot of fun with St. Paddy's. We all wear green - you will get pinched around our house if you don't. As for dinner, either traditional Corned Beef or sometimes Reubens. Colcannon is a must, as is Irish Soda bread. I adore Celtic music, so we have plenty to choose from.

For Easter, we used to have egg hunts when my son was little. I don't color eggs any more now. We do, however, have a big ham dinner. We get our ham from Burger's Smokehouse in California, about 100 miles from here. Wowsa, it is good. AuGratin potatoes - which my son thought were old rotten potatoes when he was little. Homemade rolls and butter, usually asparagus and a good salad. Then for dessert, either cheesecake or carrot cake. When I was little, Mom would make a Rabbit cake. We of course go to church.

Independence Day
We usually have a big BBQ with friends and family. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, cold sweet tea and watermelon for dessert. One of my niece's birthday is the 4th, so if she is around, we celebrate that as well! Sometimes it can really be hot here in Missouri at this time of year, so a lot depends on the weather. We have Olde Glory Days uptown on the square. It is kind of like a fair - rides for the kiddies, food booths, crafts, etc. The museum gives free tours, they have an art show, a quilt show, singing, etc. On Saturday they have a parade. I like to go up and get a funnel cake and maybe a fresh limeade. When my son was little, I would buy some firecrackers. Now that he is grown, we just watch the big ones that the City does.

This is our big family get-together. Usually everyone is there. We eat at Mom's house. Honey and I usually go over early to help Mom and get the tables set up. Mom and I share the food prep, so I will make my things the day before usually and just bring them and heat them up if need be. We usually take family pictures at Thanksgiving. A tradition for me and my son was to go home and read in the afternoon, eat a turkey sandwich and pumpkin pie for dessert. Our menu usually consists of: Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls with butter, green beans, corn, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, pecan pie. We usually throw in a few extras that vary from year to year. My oldest niece makes some sort of fruit salad. My SIL Jill makes deviled eggs. Last year I made escalloped onions - yummie! Mom sometimes makes creamed corn and oysters, which I think is just gross. My Dad likes it. We have homemade pickles and cranberry sauce as well.

Christmas is where the traditions got a little varied. On Christmas eve, I would let my son open one gift. Then on Christmas morning, we have a big breakfast, usually omelets and cinnamon rolls with juice, after opening the rest of the presents. We still have a big breakfast, Mom usually brings the cinnamon rolls - hers taste much better, I think! When I was growing up, Mom was allergic to real trees, so we always had artificial. We have just a small one and I decorate with ornaments I have kept for years. I would like to have a little fresh greenery, but I am afraid the kittie would not leave it alone. We like to do homemade gifts, Mom makes a fabulous chocolate chip cookie mix. Last year I did the pickles I posted about. We have a traditional dinner, usually roast beef with all the trimmings. When my son was little, I would buy up snack foods - pizza, chips, etc. that we liked and, instead of a big family get together, he and I would have breakfast, open presents and then just snack for the rest of the day. We would stay in our pajamas, maybe watch a movie or listen to a book on tape, read or whatever. I have always enjoyed making cookie and candy trays to send to his teachers and to give to all of our friends and family.

I am the only daughter, so I do Mother's Day and Father's Day and I do birthdays for my Honey, my son and Mom and Dad. I usually ask the person we are celebrating for what they would like and then fix it. Mom likes sub sandwiches or maybe pizza. Dad likes roast beef or meatloaf. Honey likes chicken fried steak. My son likes pizza, but this year he requested Cherry-Glazed Ham.

For Memorial Day and Labor day, we usually just barbecue. The last weekend in September, weather permitting, we have a family reunion on Mom's side. There are a lot of us - well over 100. We either bring pot luck or have a weenie roast. I like to make a big crockpot of nacho dip, that goes over well with the kids.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our traditions. I would love to hear about some of yours. I promise I will be getting some pictures up soon, I just now got the camera back!


Odie Langley said...

Hi Raquel, I really enjoyed reading about your traditions and seems you have a very special closeness in your family. Keep it going girl. My 3 girls are grown now and I have 3 grandchildren. They do not live close so we only get together for mainly my birthday, father's day and Christmas. Since they have to travel hours we usually only eat a meal together and enjoy each other as long as we can. My wife and I use holidays like memorial day to get away from the grind and have some peace and quiet. Have a great rest of the weekend and stop by my blog and see our "baby".

Simply Heart And Home said...


Your traditions are simply delicious! I am so hungry after reading about all your lovely meals! I am looking forward to seeing pictures! :)


mya said...

Traditions are a way of knitting the family memories together. It is wonderful that you have written them down - and I hope you have a copy of this post. Your son will appreciate it later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the ideas! YOu are the go-to gal! :)

Proudmama said...

I am so enjoying your blog. I always look forward to your posts. Thank you for giving us a little peak into your life. You surely are a virtuous woman.

Anonymous said...

I see you found Jewel's post! I did a happy my heart! :)

StephanieTJLee said...

Whoa all these fantastic traditions! You have such great ideas. I hope I can do some family/friends gatherings soon like you do!