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Holiday traditions. Having customs from the past to appreciate life’s continuity, adding spice with spontaneous humor that only families can dish out—because they know each other so well. 😉
This was my first Christmas as an almost-single-woman. The traditions made it comfortable, lively and oh-so-hysterical. I’m the eldest of six siblings, all of whom live in the Denver area, and most amazingly, we REALLY enjoy spending time together!
Christmas day was filled with food, wine and gifts as we celebrated with six of our seven nephews from ages 11 to 21. The eldest Skyped in from Afghanistan where he is serving in the military.
The next week most of the family spent New Year’s Eve together at Grandma’s in Redstone, one of Colorado’s most picturesque mountain villages. (This is a photo from her living room.) Now ‘Grandma’ is actually our sister-in-law’s mother, but because our own parents are deceased, the entire clan has adopted Grandma as the family matriarch. She is 90 years old and is one of the sweetest, most loving elders you’ve ever met.
In the summer all the hummingbirds in the region flock to Grandma’s many hummingbird feeders. A bear has also developed a fondness for the sweet syrup. In the winter the birds are well-supplied with seeds. Please don’t tell the neighbors, but Grandma secretly lowers food in a bucket from the balcony to feed the neighborhood foxes.
Our New Year’s tradition is that my brother John makes some sort of special soup for dinner. This year was cioppino — fish, mussels, shrimp and scallops… all mixed up with tomato sauce and fresh parsley. But where was the special flat-leaf Italian parsley John brought? Grandma and I searched her refrigerator. No bunches of parsley hiding there. With a shy smile she whispers to me, “I think I fed John’s parsley to the deer.”
Once she finally admitted it to John, he remarked that he had seen a sprig of parsley in the snow and wondered how in the world it got there.
So for me, 2014 started with family, the beautiful Colorado Rockies, cioppino sans parsley, and some very happy deer.