“Everything changes, but the one thing that doesn’t change is the sage bread,” mused my best friend referring to her grandmother’s recipe. After the kids left for college and downsizing to a new apartment that favorite and familiar sage bread provided some good old fashioned comfort. Sweet memories wrapped up in the tantalizing aroma of bread in the oven can evoke the reassuring connection to old friends and family, tried and true.
While ultimately Christ is the rock that protects us through the storms of life, sometimes the simplest family traditions can help us stay grounded through the hardest changes that life can bring. Whether it’s Grandma’s pecan rolls or your aunt’s potato pancakes, irresistible sensory treats and all around good fun in the kitchen create blessed times for families. And when the much in demand family favorites are passed down from generation to generation, food traditions take root and help us remember where we came from.
“Even if children are unaware of it at the time, those family celebrations seep into their inner spirit and leave an indelible impression on their memories. In later life, these holiday traditions will be the “touchstones” by which they remember their childhood,” reports J. Kevin Nugent, PHD, Founder and Director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
The simple ritual of cooking and eating together gives us a sense of belonging. The warmth of the family dinner table can provide a relaxed setting for sharing what’s on our minds and in our hearts. In many instances, it is the very place for family prayer time, where life slows down and we can focus on the Lord’s activity. Whatever your traditions might be, whether passed down from generation to generation, or new ones with your own special style, your children will be blessed, and so will you, by strengthening the bonds that knit our hearts together. If by chance you don’t have any food traditions, or if you’re just in the mood to start a one this year, we hope you’ll enjoy the following list of popular Christmas ideas.
1. Celebrate the joyful mood of Christmas with cookies that are as fun to make as they are beautiful to look at. Teach your children how to make snow white angels, gingerbread men, or sugar cookies with brightly colored sprinkles like ornaments.
2. Spread Jesus’ love by baking at least three pies and presenting them to three of your neighbors with hand written notes about Jesus.
3. Build a “prefab” gingerbread house with the whole family and proudly display it all season long.
4. Take the kids to look at Christmas lights and afterward go out for ice cream. Splurge on ten scoops of any and every flavor they want! Get lots of spoons and share.
5. Adopt the Italian tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve. Derived from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence on Fridays and holy days, the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is made up entirely of fish and seafood served in seven small courses.
6. Splurge on tickets to go see a local production of beloved family classic, The Nutcracker Suite. Your family will never get tired of the dazzling ballet and the wonderful classical music that seems to always sing “Christmas!”
7. Make Christmas dinner extra special by using all your best china. Use all your favorite heirloom bric-a-brac and remember the those who blessed you with with a toast.
8. Bake homemade bread for your Christmas dinner, try golden crescents, pecan rolls or aromatic sage bread.
9. Get creative with the easy to make at home, traditional French dessert, Buche de Noel, also known as the Yule Log. Originally created in the late 19th century by Parisian chefs who were inspired by the real logs that burned on hearths throughout the night on Christmas Eve.
But no matter what your Christmas traditions, help keep your family’s eyes on Jesus! From our Christian Home to yours~ wishing you a spirit filled season of peace, joy and love.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.