November 12, 2017

The Importance of Family Traditions

My sister's boyfriend jokes that everything in our family is considered a tradition. We sure do 
love our traditions! We have been enjoying certain traditions for many, many years. Especially surrounding most holidays, we have lots of traditions that are very important to us. From a young age, my parents taught my siblings and I the importance of traditions and now, as adults, these traditions are extremely important to us and we love them.

Today, I want to specifically talk about our Christmas Eve traditions. These traditions have been in place as long as I can remember and we rarely stray from them. We just love everything about them so much! In fact, thinking about them gets me super excited for the holidays. We always celebrate Christmas Eve at my Busia's (grandma in Polish) house, but last November, she passed away. 

Busia and her best friend Adalyn
I wasn't sure how these traditions would continue at the time, but they continued in a beautiful way. My sister bought Busia's house and we continued to have Christmas Eve there. It was definitely bittersweet being in the same house, using her Christmas china, sitting in the same room to open presents and going to her church without her, but it's how it has to be to be able to continue family traditions that are so important to us.

These are some of our Christmas Eve traditions that are so special to my family:

-We gather around noon at Busia's house. Around 1 PM, we have a big Polish meal: kielbasa, kapusta (sauerkraut), pierogi, cooked dried fruit that we call compote, ham and more. We keep this meal pretty much the same every year but have added in a salad or veggies for a little something lighter. My mom is 100% Polish and my siblings and I are 50% Polish so it is important to us to celebrate our heritage by making Polish food.

Adalyn's first Christmas Eve!
-We do not open a lot of presents on Christmas Eve but it is a tradition for my Dad to buy us all pajamas which we open after lunch and put on right after church. It takes about 2 seconds to throw off our fancy church clothes and put on our new cozy pajamas. My Dad enjoys choosing pajamas for each member of the family.

Rest in peace Edmond and Busia- we will continue on these traditions and think of you each and every time we do them!
-Right before we eat our meal, we break oplatek (a wafer-bread) and wish each other well wishes for the upcoming year such as health, happiness, good luck at a new job, school, etc.

-Mid-afternoon, there is always some kind of dessert and coffee time. The dessert is one of the only variables in our Christmas Eve plans, we switch it up every year. For some reason, we are not completely set on our dessert. Sometimes we have a pie or sometimes Polish angel wings. We love Folgers® Classic Roast Coffee and it is the perfect complement to our dessert.

My grandparents always kept their house WELL stocked with coffee. When the big containers went on sale, they would stock up on 13 huge canisters to have on hand! They sure loved their coffee.

Coffee is what brings people together. I remember when I started dating Troy that he wasn't the biggest fan of coffee. My mom had offered him a cup and he said, "No, thank you." I told him that it wasn't just about wanting a cup of coffee, it is about being social and doing something together.

Having coffee with family is about talking, spending time together, laughing together and making memories and traditions.

I picked up this giant container of Folgers Classic Roast Coffee at Walmart, and it is perfect to ensure that you do not run out of coffee at a big family gathering. I know that anytime we almost run out of coffee, it is a bit of a panic and we go pick some up right away!

-Around 5 PM, we go to church for a Christmas Eve Mass. This Mass is nice because it is special for kids and there is singing and happiness as everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus. 

-After church, as I said, we change into our pajamas. Then, we pull out all of the leftovers from our huge lunch and make ham sandwiches and heat up the rest of the food. 

-After dinner, it is usually time to get the kids in bed so we head home in preparation for a big morning the next day (Christmas Day!). 

These traditions mean the world to my family. I wouldn't be who I am without them. It is so fun looking forward to traditions. As my kids grow older, I want to start new traditions with them as well as continue our current traditions. Introducing my kids to our traditions is one of my favorite parts of being a parent and it will be interesting and exciting to see what traditions they enjoy and remember throughout their lives.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

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