Growing up we always spent Christmas Eve at my dad’s parents’ house. Dressed in our Sunday best, we all looked forward to the memories to be made in my Nana’s kitchen. Her working tediously to prepare our Christmas meal will forever be etched in my mind. We always started with oyster stew which is a standard Southern tradition. The meal always included beef, fried shrimp (which almost caused us to burn down the kitchen one year, so don’t put grease-soaked paper towels in a hot oven) and was rounded out with her famous biscuits. So many special memories flooded my mind in that kitchen!
Over the years, our table grew and grew. Whether it was my self-proclaimed Aunt and her family from Charleston or local family friends, it was always a blessing to be around the dinner table on Christmas Eve on South Hammock Road. Honestly, it isn’t the presents I remember at all. I probably couldn’t recall even a handful of the gifts I received, but I can tell you a thousand memories made in that kitchen and in that home with family.
On Christmas morning we went to my mom’s parents’ house, bright and early and usually dressed in our pajamas. We have since adapted our tradition into Christmas lunch. My mom is one of eight kids, so everyone brings a covered dish and fills their plate so full a show dog couldn’t jump over it! But one thing hasn’t changed—we always use Grandma’s china (not always willingly because, let’s be honest, our family gathering consists of an average of 35 people every year and Grandma’s china is not dishwasher-safe). But she loves it, and we love to see her joy. We also love to banter about who gets to hand wash dishes every year. It wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without it. (Have I mentioned we like tradition?)
No matter what traditions you have or how you choose to spend your time, make sure it brings you good tidings of great joy. It’s never too late to make new traditions or resurrect old ones. But most importantly we must always remember— Jesus is the reason for the season!
Traditions are important as they keep us connected to our roots and those who are no longer with us. They keep special memories alive and passed down for generations.