I’ve been thinking about traditions lately and can’t help but, think about ones that my family had during the holidays when I was a child. I was raised by my parents until I was a pre-teen and then my maternal grandparents raised me until I was a young adult. The holidays use to be one of my favorite times of year and then I lost both my grandparents to cancer within a two year period of each other right before the holidays. Sometimes I get depressed during the holidays because I miss them so much and never really imagined spending the holidays without them. My grandmother would bring everyone together around the holidays and I really love and enjoy my family. Sadly things haven’t been the same since the death of my grandmother. I remember my grandparents hosting Thanksgiving & Christmas Dinner or us traveling to our relatives homes in Brooklyn or Long Island, NY to enjoy dinner during the holidays. We always would have a Caribbean-American Fusion Holiday menu. My family is Jamaican so we did the traditional Turkey and Ham but, would also have Curried goat, Oxtails, Jerk Chicken and Rice & Peas.
Over the years I have managed to keep a similar tradition during the holidays with my immediate family. I’ll roast a Turkey and cook homemade baked macaroni & cheese, collard greens, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and bake sweet potato pies! In addition to that my sister will prepare Rice & Peas and I’ll make brown stew chicken to add some Caribbean flavor. We usually prepare a Jamaican Breakfast during the holidays too which may consist of Callaloo, Salt Fish, Festival and Plantains. I would always help my grandmother in the kitchen and even helped my future Mother-In-Law before I married my husband when she was preparing holiday meals. My children now help me in the kitchen and I love it. My oldest daughter made her first sweet potato pie recently and all I did was watch and give minimum direction. It came out great, it’s my Mother-In-Laws recipe. One thing that I cherish is my family and there’s nothing like being around your loved ones for the holidays! I want to host future Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities at my home when my children have grown up and left the nest. I look forward to these special occasions.
I’m sure as time passes I’ll incorporate new traditions and retire some old but, I look forward to spending the holidays with my loved ones. I think back and cherish the memories I was able to have with my grandparents and look forward to creating more memories with my husband, children, extended family and friends. My daughter graduates in June and I am already planning her birthday – graduation party! I also celebrate my wedding anniversary in June and it’s shaping to be a very festive month. This will be another big occasion that brings our family together outside of Thanksgiving & Christmas. It’s my dream to enlist some help from a few of my relatives and coordinate a family reunion. It would be nice to see my cousins, aunts and uncles outside of weddings and funerals. Those two events seem to always bring families together. Who is that matriarch of your family? Are there any childhood family traditions that you’ve held on to or have you created your own holiday traditions? I look forward to the holidays to spend quality time with my family, cook delicious food and be thankful for everything I have. Quote I Love: ” Our Family A circle of strength, founded on faith… Joined in love… Kept by God.”