Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ingredients For A Christmas Tradition

     Growing up in a half Italian household created its own unique traditions.  Since my mother was Italian we always spent Christmas Eve at her mother's house, my grandmother.  She did the traditional Italian Christmas feast.  This included: shrimp, smelts, baccala, calamari, anchovies, crab, and of course a bunch of pasta. For most of us some of the seafood was not that appetizing.  There were times the calamari was swimming in marinara and the sight of the tentacles dangling out was frightening.  The fried smelts and anchovies created their own smell and unique feeling of having them on the table.  After she moved in with us when I was in school those Eve meals stopped but we tried to continue some of that tradition with a smaller meal.  To this day we try to do pasta and at least one seafood item.  This year we swapped the Eve meal for the one on Christmas Day.  We kept it simple with a homemade pasta, a single seafood dish, and a favorite casserole of everyone.

     Besides the tradition with a meal we also have other traditions that I am proud to say we continue. As a Catholic, Midnight Mass was something you always did.  Even as kids we attempted to stay up late not to spy on Santa but to go to mass with our family.  To this day I always make it a point to attend this sacred evening at church.  Following mass it was always something to go home sit and relax with a glass of eggnog until your eyes began to sag and it was definitely time to call it a night.
     When the morning arrives we always get up at a decent hour to begin our day of Christmas festivities. We start out by fixing breakfast and sitting around the kitchen table with our meal and coffees.  Upon finishing our wonderful breakfast we all head into the living room to open our gifts.  As any typical family we all sit around on the floor or furniture and open our gifts. As the exchanging of presents comes to an end we typically continue to all lie around, watch movies, or play board games until the big meal. 

     As mentioned we do the typical Italian feast of fresh pasta and a fish/seafood item.  This year we opted for fresh fettuccine and shrimp scampi.  I was tasked to do the pasta and my brother the shrimp, however due to a sudden cold I ended up doing both.  The meal was fantastic.  The fresh pasta and the marinara sauce were as expected to be.  The shrimp in it's buttery, garlicky sauce was delectable.  And don't forget the family favorite broccoli casserole with its cheesiness. 

     After everything is said and done the day comes to an end, everyone is exhausted, full, and content with all the festivities that occurred.  Traditions linger on within the family.  Without them it just doesn't feel like that same old holiday you once had growing up.  Some new traditions have come about but adding them to the old feels like adding a new blanket of warmth.  Traditions are made to allow you to hold onto memories.  Special memories that can only mean one thing; family.  My traditions hold a special place in my heart and I hope yours do too.  Merry Christmas everyone!
nothing beats a glass of eggnog on Christmas Eve
A traditional Italian Christmas treat!

Pasta and Seven Fishes, (minus six)


I am worn out and exhausted.


  1. Special traditions with family, that's what it's all about! No matter what the menu! And the eggnog, yes!

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