A family tradition

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On Sunday afternoon, two days before Christmas, two daughters, one granddaughter, and I got together to bake Christmas cookies, a family tradition that for me goes w-a-a-a-y back to when I was a child. Many years ago (mid-20th century), Christmas cards, cookies, caroling for neighbors, and a candlelight worship service on Christmas Eve were traditional holiday events for our family.  Special cookies…huge tins filled with them, provided enough sweet treats for all to enjoy over the holiday visit. My sisters and I, along with our families, would drive back to our parents’ home in southeastern Pennsylvania. There we celebrated Christmas together, singing, worshiping, baking, sharing stories, and more. We were very blessed, and we knew it. It was part of the glue that held our family together, despite the many miles that separated us.

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My childhood home

If that sounds like I’m getting old, I’ll claim the years, and, along with the years, I’ll claim the many warm and wonderful memories…and give thanks for them. Bob and I still exchange holiday cards, attend candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and last week I joined members and friends of our church choir as we went caroling for guests at local nursing homes, giving each guest a teddy bear as evidence of the love we want them to feel.

 

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Choir & friends
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Cathy’s mom with her teddy bears

However, cookie tins filled with special cookies, most of them baked only at Christmas time, was our mother’s tradition, a tradition we had dropped from our busy schedules when our parents passed on, and the family home was sold. Now my sisters are gone and none of our  children live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I am left with the precious memories of those Christmas trips to southeastern Pennsylvania and a few niggling questions:

Why did we ever stop our Christmas baking? Overly diet conscious? Busy lives? Too much shopping and wrapping? Mixed up priorities?  Whatever were we thinking? A revival of the tins-full-of-cookies-tradition was long overdue! Two years ago, Becky and Alison decided to revive it, and this week we all had a wonderful time during our second annual cookie baking session, and, as a bonus, we each went home with a tin of cookies! Granddaughter Emmy was the force behind this year’s baking session, and her Aunt Becky provided the kitchen, as well as the two dogs who kept their eyes (and noses) on the proceedings. I had a great time taking photos. Take a look!

Do you have a special holiday-time tradition? One that is the glue that holds you and your family and friends together? If you do, please tell us about it in the comments, but if your special tradition needs a revival, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~Trail Walker

12 thoughts on “A family tradition

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  1. What a wonderful tradition to bring back! Long may it continue! Also, such a lovely house. I do a fair amount of Christmas baking for family and friends, but I do it on my own. Still enjoyable, but I am sure it is much more fun to bake as a team.

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    1. The Christmas baking you do on your own is a wonderful gift to your family and friends. I can imagine you in your cozy kitchen in Maine, snow falling outside the windows, baking for hours on end. Definitely a wonderful gift to others!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks like so much fun Carolyn – all those cookies and the decorating and how nice you revived this tradition once again. I come from a small family and we never had any traditions as it was just my parents and me. But my mom did back a slew of cookies every Christmas, and those little bite-sized tarts as well. When I was young I took accordian lessons for three years. When we moved here to the States (from Canada) we could find no music teacher to continue the lessons unfortunately, but one thing our accordian teacher did was sign our class up for recitals at various nursing homes in our area. We would go in, all dressed alike, and with a Christmas ornament pinned to our clothes and we would give a recital. The residents loved it, even if we made a few mistakes in our performance. It was a very gratifying experience so I know how you felt.

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    1. That’s a wonderful story about visiting the nursing home with your accordion group. Such a shame you couldn’t continue the lessons, although it may not be too late. My older sister took piano lessons when she was an adult working in Philadelphia, and my daughter Becky is currently taking piano lessons.

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      1. It was so nice Carolyn and I have some pictures that my parents took. We had rehearsed during our class time and did a whole repertoire of Christmas music – the residents loved it. I don’t know why they never had accordian lessons over here, probably not a popular enough instrument. They have a store here that sells pianos and they advertise for seniors to take classes in how to play the piano. There are a series of lessons and it’s not that expensive to do it. My friend enjoys volunteering at a nursing home – she has no medical background, she just reads or visits with the residents, especially the ones who have no family members.

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      2. A agree with you Carolyn. We will all grow old someday. My friend who volunteers at the nursing home really enjoys interacting with those folks as much as they enjoy her being there.

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