Keeping Traditions Alive


A woman decorating a Christmas tree. This is a very personal post, so please bear with me.

After losing my mother this year, each holiday celebration has been somewhat difficult (to say the least). But although I’m grieving her absence, I’m glad to have all of her traditions to help comfort my family and make celebrating the holidays extra special. 

My mother was an amazing cook and always made enough food to feed three times the number of people she was cooking for (typical Italian mom!) The desserts alone could feed an army. But to my mom, preparing food was the way to show love to her family and loved ones. You would never leave hungry, but you would go home with your own personal tray of baked ziti, half a cake, a tin of cookies, and so much more. Each holiday had a special dish to look forward to – a ham at Easter, sausage stuffing at Thanksgiving, and baked ziti with meatballs for Christmas.

We hosted our first Thanksgiving (for 30 people!) this year, and the sausage stuffing was a big hit. Telling people it was my mom’s recipe gave me a bit of comfort, knowing she was there with us as we served her special dish alongside the turkey served on her heirloom turkey platter passed on from her aunt. 

I know Christmas will be the most difficult holiday for me. We spent every single Christmas with my parents. My mom was known for her butter cookies that she made using an old-fashioned cookie press – the green and red dough pressed into shapes such as trees, hearts, stars, and more. This year, I bought my own cookie press and look forward to making those same cookies with my kids as “Gigi” watches over us and hopefully approves. She only used traditional Christmas colors, but I think she’d be ok with us branching out into blue, yellow, and purple this year. 

Keeping those special traditions alive and making new ones helps honor our loved ones that are no longer here physically with us. They live on through our actions and how we show love to one another. I wish everyone a blessed and peaceful holiday season.