Christmas dinner

How Many Turkey Dinners?

As I plan for Christmas this year, I take into consideration the journey of my Christmas’s past.

We are hosting “Christmas at Grandma’s” this year – turkey and all the trimmings. I haven’t been able to do this for many years, but I love that I can now pull out some familiar traditions to celebrate with the next generation. Memories of old will come alive again in our home with children as young as two making a mess, eating too much candy, swimming in a sea of wrapping paper on the living room floor. It is mayhem that I can’t wait to see.

We haven’t always been able to do this. For many years the reminder of memories past would be a bit salty and somber to reflect upon. I’ve come a long way from earlier Christmas’s that you can read about here.

Some years my children would be with the ex-spouse and I would be home on my own. Many years prior I recall only seeing my niece occasionally because she would be at her father’s house for the holidays. It’s just the reality of reforming families.

While making all these awesome plans, I think about my children who are now adults raising their own. There are numerous turkey dinners to attend!  Mine, their father’s, and their stepmother’s side. Then there are the in-laws and all their traditions. Those in-laws may also be remarried so there is hers, his and perhaps even an extended aunt! Perhaps a turkey dinner for the company Christmas party, and do they dare consider hosting their own small intimate family soiree?

That’s a lot of turkey, a lot of gifts, a lot of driving, a huge commitment.

As I brush the dust off some old traditions, I recall some of the new ones that I had adopted to make Christmas more personal to me and to make new memories special. You don’t have to create the holidays exactly as they were to be memorable.

Here are a few suggestions:

Remember the good set of Christmas dishes that get used once a year? Ditch them. Use your everyday dishes and jazz them up with new placemats and different centrepieces. If your family likes gravy like mine does, then serve it out of a water jug instead of a gravy boat!  Nothing like a fresh look to make new traditions.

Pyjama Day has a whole new meaning if you get everyone the exact same pair of pyjamas, or even an ugly Christmas sweater to wear on Christmas Day for those infamous family photos! Even the dog should get new threads!

Get new ornaments for the tree. I took every single ornament from my past life and gave them to my children to either keep or toss. You know the ones – the family Christmas tree covered in macaroni art and paper angels with the glitter worn off! I have asked my children every Christmas since then to buy me a new ornament from my favourite décor store. Now my tree is sparkly and special, covered in new decorations given to me by my children.

Invite someone new! My children are used to their mother inviting a friend or two to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. No one should be alone, and there are plenty of people going through their “first holiday of firsts” that need a friendly, welcoming distraction.

Try making something from your heritage and incorporate it into the holiday meal. Aye Lass, there’s nothing like a hearty Haggis staring at you at the Christmas feast!

When my children were growing up, I always made the most incredible sweet sticky buns for Christmas morning. They would be coming out of the oven just as the children would wander into the kitchen rubbing their sleepy eyes, gazing in wonder at the many presents under the tree. We stopped that tradition for a number of years, but they have now asked for it so that their children – my grandchildren –  can have the same pleasant memories of “Christmas at Grandma’s” when they grow up. It hugs my heart.

Time together matters so much more than what is under the tree or on the table. Take lots of pictures, play an old album of Christmas music in the background, toboggan down a hill, watch Christmas through the eyes of children. It’s magical!

My gift to you this Christmas is this Sticky Bun recipe that I’ve been making for years. ENJOY!!

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